Untreated ADHD in Adults
Though it affects a smaller portion of the adult population than children, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder can impact functioning at any age. As an adult, it’s more difficult to receive a diagnosis of ADHD. This is partially due to the widespread abuse of medication used to treat this disorder. However, untreated ADHD in adults can result in negative work performance, relationship challenges, and further mental health issues,
Why ADHD Goes Undiagnosed and Untreated
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 9.4% of children have an ADHD diagnosis. However, there is a disparity between boys and girls with this disorder. 12.9% of boys have this diagnosis compared to only 5.6% of girls. This is largely due to the fact that boys often display more typical symptoms. Because of this, it’s more challenging to recognize this disorder in girls.
Males are more likely to exhibit restlessness, distractibility, and conduct issues. In contrast, females with ADHD often have more subtle signs like making careless mistakes, difficulty completing tasks, seeming like they aren’t listening, and excessive talking. These differences can lead to misdiagnoses, especially for young girls.
Any missed diagnosis in childhood can lead to challenges in adulthood. However, it’s also possible that signs of ADHD don’t become evident until later in life. Women learn to cope with symptoms and can mask the disorder for years. However, it often becomes too challenging to manage untreated ADHD, and these behaviors become more pronounced.
Symptoms of Untreated ADHD in Adults
Adults with undiagnosed or untreated ADHD exhibit symptoms that manifest in multiple areas of their lives. These include:
- Difficulty Completing Tasks: Whether at work or home, adults who have untreated attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are often unable to maintain their responsibilities. Disorganization, short attention spans, and lack of motivation all contribute to these challenges. As a result, these adults may face consequences in their jobs or home lives.
- Relationship Issues: It can be difficult for adults with this diagnosis to adequately attend to their partners. Spouses may feel neglected or ignored due to the lack of attention in the relationship. Because these adults also have difficulty resisting impulses, this can create conflict in their homes.
- Other Mental Health Issues: If ADHD is left untreated, negative feelings often increase, creating further mental health challenges. Anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders are common for those in this situation. Similarly, adults who don’t know they have ADHD may receive a diagnosis of another disorder before they discover the true source of their challenges.
Treating ADHD in Adults
Learning to manage symptoms of ADHD as an adult isn’t easy, but Serene Behavioral Health is here to help. Whether you have recently received a diagnosis or were diagnosed years ago, proper treatment can help you develop the necessary coping skills to be successful in life. We also know that multiple disorders can occur at the same time. Because of this, we offer comprehensive treatment that addresses all your mental health concerns. Our levels of care range from residential to partial hospitalization and monitored outpatient treatment to ensure our clients have support throughout all stages of treatment. If you’re living with untreated ADHD or other mental health diagnoses, contact our Orange County treatment center today.