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  • Susan Fletcher, Ph.D.

5 Surprises About AD/HD in the Workplace

Do any of these statements apply to you?

  • "I know what I want to say but I can't get the words out."

  • "I have trouble getting the little things done each day."

  • "I get really frustrated when I have to wait in line."

  • "People accuse me of lying but I'm don't lie."

  • "Crowds and noisy places bug me."

  • "My teachers didn't like me in school."

The above statements are what adults I have diagnosed with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) have said to me as I interviewed them during my evaluation. I was recently interviewed by D Magazine for an article called "AD/HD in the Workplace."

Approximately 5% of the adult population is estimated to have AD/HD. It wasn't long ago that AD/HD was seen as a childhood disorder where symptoms were thought to disappear with the onset of puberty. Clear scientific evidence shows that AD/HD continues into adulthood. While most adults were diagnosed as children, there are many adults who are undiagnosed.

Symptoms of AD/HD that you probably already know are:

  • Difficulty concentrating and paying attention to details.

  • Trouble sitting still for long periods of time.

  • Short fuse.

  • Putting things off.

  • Tardiness.

  • Forgetfulness in daily activities.

  • Getting criticized for interrupting people.

  • Being disorganized and having a messy car, home or office.

  • Starting projects without thinking through the steps.

  • Failing to finish tasks.

  • Click here for a longer checklist.

Adults with AD/HD are more likely to:

  • Buy on impulse and have trouble saving money.

  • Receive speeding tickets.

  • Be involved in car crashes where they are at fault.

  • Smoke and/or use drugs.

  • Exhibit road rage and aggressive driving when angered.

  • Get fired or quit a job out of boredom.

  • Be disciplined on the job by a manager or supervisor.

  • Have higher marital dissatisfaction although not a higher divorce rate.

Here are 5 surprises about AD/HD:

  1. AD/HD does exist and is not a conspiracy by scientists to medicate people. It is a real medical condition that is biologically based.

  2. AD/HD is not simply a lack of willpower.

  3. Bad parenting does not cause AD/HD. However, studies show a genetic predisposition for AD/HD within families.

  4. Adults with AD/HD are not stupid or lazy. Recent studies reveal that people with AD/HD actually tend to have above average intelligence but it does not show because of the AD/HD.

  5. AD/HD can be treated without medication. New research indicates that you can improve brain functioning with direct, deliberate practice. This is called neuroplasticity. Relaxation, concentration and other self management exercises can improve the ability to sustain attention in some people.

Before starting any medication you should be properly diagnosed. Anxiety, depression or learning disabilities can be disguised as AD/HD. In my clinical practice I use the Quotient/ADHD System to assess for AD/HD in children, adolescents and adults.

To stay in the Smart Zone learn more about AD/HD. If you think you might have it, get tested by a qualified professional. It could help you refocus your career and personal life.

All assessments for AD/HD should be comprehensive and also assess for emotional factors and the influence of present stressors. Your quality of life, your effectiveness at work and home, and your relationships can benefit from knowing if you truly have the disorder.

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