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Can you outgrow ADHD?

Can you outgrow ADHD?

Many parents incorrectly assume that a child or teen with ADHD will simply outgrow it. Although some children who exhibit hyperactivity may no longer display it in adulthood, that doesn't mean they've outgrown their attention struggles. As CHADD explains: "Even those adults who are no longer displaying ADHD symptoms are still experiencing the brain differences associated with ADHD. The presentation has changed, but the underlying disorder remains."

Understanding ADHD

To further understand why most children and teens don't outgrow ADHD, you need to first understand that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is an umbrella term that is used whether hyperactivity is a factor or not. 

A person’s ADD ADHD symptoms depend on the type of ADHD they have. There are three types of ADHD. They are:

a) hyperactive-impulsive ADHD, which is characterized by hyperactivity without inattentiveness

b) inattentive ADHD (also known as ADD)which is characterized by inattention without hyperactivity

c) combined ADHD, which is characterized by both inattention and hyperactivity. (Combined ADHD is the most common of the three.)

A child’s ADD ADHD symptoms will vary depending on which of these three disorders is present.

In order to diagnose a person with ADHD, these ADHD symptoms must show up before the child is seven years old. In addition, these symptoms must be present in more than one setting (at home and at school, for example). Also, it must be clear that the symptoms are negatively affecting his or her ability to function normally in school, work and social settings.

Manifestations of the 3 types of ADHD

A person may exhibit some or all of the following ADD ADHD symptoms in one of the following three categories:

INATTENTION

  • Has low “attention to detail” skills, tending to produce work that shows careless mistakes and is messy
  • Can be easily distracted by small noises and sights that would escape the notice of most people
  • Has difficulty maintaining attention on a project or task
  • Changes from one task to another without completing either task
  • Has a tendency to procrastinate
  • Can be disorganized; forgetful
  • Does not complete tasks, homework, chores, etc.
  • Has a hard time listening and paying attention during a conversation
  • Has Difficulty remembering / following directions during games / in social situations

HYPERACTIVITY

  • Has a tendency to be fidgety or squirmy while seated
  • Frequently leaves seat to walk or run around
  • Is prone to run or climb on things even in social settings that do not facilitate running and climbing. Teens and adults may simply appear restless in a social setting.
  • Has difficulty with relaxing or simply playing quietly
  • Has a tendency to be always moving
  • Is prone to excessive chatter

IMPULSIVITY

  • Can be impatient
  • Interrupts others, in the classroom or socially
  • Answers questions while the question is still being asked; often forgets to raise a hand to answer
  • Doesn’t wait in turn
  • Has a tendency to intrude or interrupt to the point of friction / conflict with others

How ADHD may manifest in adults

Although you may recognize some of the same issues from childhood ADHD in adult ADHD, adults with attention struggles often also experience the following:

  • internal feelings of restlessness
  • poor memory
  • time blindness
  • difficulties in relationships
  • poor job performance

If you or someone you love has attention struggles, LearningRx personal brain training may be able to help. We'll start with a Brain Skills Assessment to determine which cognitive skills need to be worked on, then design a program to target and strengthen those weak skills. To read more about how personal brain training works, to see our results, or to schedule a Brain Skills Assessment, visit www.learningrx.com. 

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