Impact of ADHD on 5 Key Areas of Adult Life
A Closer Look at ADHD
ADHD can affect several key areas of adult life -- areas that are critical to managing home life, being successful at work and fostering close relationships. Recognizing how ADHD can impact your daily life may motivate you to tackle your symptoms better.
How productive are you? Adult ADHD symptoms can make it hard to finish projects -- big and small. So lots of little everyday tasks, like cleaning the house and paying bills, just don't get done. Or don't get done on time. Same with bigger projects, like redoing the bathroom or updating your resume. And juggling multiple projects? That can feel overwhelming. When you struggle to remember important details, frequently lose things and have trouble concentrating thanks to ADHD, your efficiency takes a big hit. But with proper treatment, you can once again experience the satisfaction of feeling productive.
How happy do you feel? Having a tough day? Or a tough week? The symptoms of adult ADHD can literally go to your head, making you feel down, anxious and tired. You might also feel overwhelmed or overreact in tough, stressful situations. And that emotional roller coaster you've been riding? You may have ADHD to thank for that as well; ADHD can sometimes cause emotional ups and downs.
3. Perspective on Life
Life is good. But do you feel good about yourself? Do you like spending time with others? Do they like spending time with you? The truth is, ADHD can affect your outlook on life and relationships -- because it may affect the way you manage life, the way you spend your energy, the way you connect with others on an emotional level and the way you feel about yourself and your ability to be productive. So think about your outlook on life. If you struggle to feel good, positive and happy about life in general, talk with your doctor about your ADHD symptoms.
Who do you love? Your relationships can say a lot about the status of your ADHD. Tension and distance are common patterns because inattention and impulsivity can make it difficult for you to listen and communicate effectively. People may get annoyed because you interrupt them. They may get upset because you don't remember conversations or because you struggle to focus on them when they talk. And you may start to feel walls go up. If you have trouble meeting other people's expectations or feel like you don't have time to invest in your relationships -- that may be the ADHD talking.
Money stress? Here's another way to check the status of your ADHD -- take a look at your bank balance, credit score and bill payment history. If you don't have a good track record with money, ADHD may be part of the reason. Impulsivity -- a classic ADHD trait -- can lead to overspending and debt. And inattention can lead to misplaced bills and late payments. If your financial life is out of control, your ADHD may be, too.
The Good News
The good news is that you can improve all the key areas of adult life with proper treatment and management of ADHD symptoms. You don't have to live life without the satisfaction of a job well done, the security of a healthy bank account or the comfort of a close relationship with someone special. With the right treatment and tools, you can minimize your symptoms or figure out effective ways to keep them from getting in the way of your goals.
This ADHD in Adults Health Guide was reviewed by RealAge's Chief Medical Officer. In addition the following is a list of general information resources, as well as scientific references we used to develop these pages on adult ADHD.
The Adult ADHD Quality of Life Questionnaire (AAQoL): A new disease specific measure for assessment of ADHD. By Gjervan, B., Nordahl, H. M., Nordic Psychology 2010 Apr;62(1): 24-36.
Validation of the Adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Quality-of-Life Scale (AAQoL): A disease-specific quality-of-life measure. Brod, M. et al., Quality of Life Research 2006; 15(1):117-129.