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What Impact Does ADHD have at Different Stages of Life?

What Impact Does ADHD have at Different Stages of Life?
March 27, 2021

People with ADHD struggle with issues of attention, hyperactivity, or both. These symptoms are usually present and evident from the time they are toddlers to grade school age. ADHD is not something people develop later in life. Because ADHD is present from childhood, it can start impacting development early on.

Impact in Childhood

Some children, as young as infants, see an impact from ADHD in having mild delays in picking up language skills or motor skills. Many kids struggle with gaining independence and sometimes behave younger and more immature than fellow peers. Probably the greatest impact is on social skills and development. Kids with ADHD are often impulsive, hyperactive, are more emotionally reactive and moody, and due to distractibility and inattention miss the social cues and reactions of their peers. These symptoms and behaviors can be very off-putting to peers even at very young ages. Many times, kids with ADHD, especially hyperactive symptoms, end up being socially outcasted or rejected. This can fuel anxiety, depression, or anger which can increase acting out behavior and can create a negative feedback loop of increasing ostracization. It is not uncommon for them to develop the oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) or conduct disorder later on in adolescence.

Academically, kids with ADHD usually struggle and suffer. Distractibility and trouble sustaining attention results in missing a lot of the lessons teachers are providing. Careless mistakes and running out of time on tests due to issues with retention and re-reading problems usually affect grades on tests. These academic struggles and failures impact motivation and self-esteem. Because most academic lessons cumulatively build on each other, not having the fundamentals can make future work daunting and exceedingly difficult. By late adolescence or young adulthood, many kids with ADHD see improvement or fading of the hyperactive symptoms, but by then the negative impact already occurred.

Impact on Teens/Adolescents

Those who struggled socially in grade school, may be more prone to gravitating toward other troubled youth who are more accepting and tolerant. Social frustration and resentments can fuel acting out or bullying behavior for some. Impulsivity can put teens with ADHD at risk for making risky decisions around sexual behavior and substance abuse, which can create a variety of issues of their own from STDs, teen pregnancy, or addiction. Even learning to drive a car can be a challenge for teens with ADHD who are prone to being inattentive and distractible; putting them at risk for accidents. By high school, academics are fairly complex and challenging for kids with ADHD requiring them to put in twice the effort or get frustrated and be at risk of giving up.

Impact on Adults

Although 50-75% of kids with ADHD see some improvement in symptoms between the age of 16-24 years old, nearly 75% of people with ADHD continue to have some symptoms into adulthood. The greatest areas affected are career and home life. Vocationally, many people with ADHD demonstrate inconsistent performance, struggle with details and deadlines. Often, they are passed up for promotions and advancements. Although many or likable, performance is affected and relative to peers they are seen as needing improvement. At home significant others are often frustrated and building resentment with poor follow-through, disorganization, and forgetfulness. Adults with ADHD often struggle with other co-occurring issues such as depression, anxiety, or substance abuse issues.

If you need ADHD testing, or already have ADHD and are feeling the impact of it and are interested in talking with one of our psychologists or psychiatrists about treatment options, please call us now at 763-416-4167, or request an appointment on our website: WWW.IPC-MN.COM so we can sit down with you and complete thorough assessment and help you develop a plan of action that will work for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. Find the peace of mind you deserve.

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