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Understanding the Impact of ADHD Among Adults

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurodevelopmental conditions among children in the U.S., but it is not as widely understood in adults.1  Nearly 11 million adults in the U.S. are estimated to have ADHD*2,3, yet many adults may go undiagnosed and not receive the support they need. That’s why this October, during ADHD Awareness Month, Takeda is taking a moment to recognize how adults may struggle with this disorder.

“Although ADHD is treatable, some adults may internalize their struggles as a personality or behavioral issue. In addition, adults may rely on coping mechanisms to help manage their symptoms at work, or in their personal or family lives4,” says Serina Fischer, Vice President of Takeda’s Neurodevelopment Franchise. “We want people to understand that ADHD isn’t just a childhood disorder. It affects adults as well. Our goal is to help to address the persistent stigma surrounding ADHD that can leave many adults who live with this condition feeling confused, misunderstood, and alone.”

ADHD symptoms may present themselves differently in adults compared to children and adolescents. Adults might often have issues following through with tasks and may be forgetful throughout their daily activities.5

The symptoms of ADHD may be associated with other psychiatric disorders. Additionally, many patients have co-occurring disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety – which can make it difficult for physicians to determine the proper diagnosis.6 ADHD in young girls and women, in particular, may be overlooked because the symptoms may manifest themselves differently, both psychologically and socially. In addition, women with ADHD tend to experience more psychological distress and lower self-image than men with ADHD.7

“For more than two decades, our employees have been dedicated to providing support, education, and treatment options to the ADHD community. Over the years, mental health conditions, in particular, have become easier to understand and talk about, but we recognize that widespread stigma for adult ADHD remains, and this misunderstanding serves as a barrier to proper diagnosis,” continues Serina. “This is a situation we won’t accept. For the working mom who knows she’s capable but can’t get control of her symptoms – or the young professional who feels the effects of their ADHD symptoms at work – there is support available. Working with their healthcare provider to get an appropriate diagnosis and develop a treatment plan can help empower people to successfully manage their ADHD symptoms and focus on the things they’re passionate about.”

In October and beyond, Takeda remains committed to addressing the needs of adults with ADHD and championing the neuroscience space. For more information and helpful resources for adults with ADHD, please visit ADDA or the Kaleidoscope Society (U.S. only).

* Based on a survey of 3,199 adults aged 18 to 44 conducted from 2001-2003 and applied to the full US population in 2011, aged 18 and over.

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “What is ADHD?” Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/facts.html. Last visited: October 2019.

2 Kessler RC, Adler L, Barkley R, et al. The prevalence and correlates of adult ADHD in the United States: results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Am J Psychiatry. 2006;163(4):716-723.

3 Annual estimates of the resident population for selected age groups by sex for the United States: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011 (NC-EST2011-02). US Census Bureau.

4 Feifel D, MacDonald K. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in adults: recognition and diagnosis of this often-overlooked condition. Postgrad Med. 2008;120(3):39-47.

5 American Psychiatric Association. Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th ed. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association; 2013.

6 Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD). ”Diagnosis of ADHD in Adults.” Available at: https://chadd.org/for-adults/diagnosis-of-adhd-in-adults/. Last visited: October 2019.

7 Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD). “For Adults: Women and Girls.” Available at: https://chadd.org/for-adults/women-and-girls/. Last visited: October 2019.