It's a disorder usually recognized in children, but some adults suffer from ADHD or ADD as well. But how is the disease different in adults and how is the struggle to overcome it different than for kids?
"I felt like I was somebody who had just found out that they'd been switched at birth and they were a different person than they thought they'd been all their life, " said Carol Patterson.
Patterson describes how she felt when she was first diagnosed with AD/HD at the age of 55. The disorder usually manifests itself in children, but it can often times carry over into adulthood. AD/HD is characterized by inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. These symptoms become a problem when it affects a person's everyday life. Patterson says the disorder definitely affects hers.
"The depression, the lack of sleep, the not being able to focus, not being able to accomplish anything. I had all these ideas and yet I couldn't follow through with them," said Patterson.
Dr. Bill Haddock is a licensed professional counselor and diagnoses AD/HD. He says adults with AD/HD often have problems on the job, with family and friends, and in social settings because they're unable to focus and control impulsive behavior.
" I'd say the main problem as an adult with AD/HD is that it seldom comes by itself. Research shows that people with AD/HD, about 50 percent of them have or have had co-occurring problems with substance abuse or other addictions," said Dr. Haddock.
Patterson says she had trouble in relationships and frequently changed jobs. She says when she looks back on her life now; having ADHD explains why she had some of the problems.
"It's a long time to struggle, and struggle, and struggle with something that you don't know that you're struggling against or how to deal with it," said Patterson.
Patterson decided to take medication to help her cope with ADHD. She's been taking it for a little over a year and says it has helped her to be more calm and attentive. Dr Haddock says that's one way to keep the disorder under control.
"Most adults with ADD or ADHD have already adjusted some level to the symptoms. They've accommodated, they've learned ways to self manage," said Dr. Haddock.
Patterson says she has learned to manage AD/HD. She says it helps to write in her journal everyday and work in her garden.
"First I felt well, there's something wrong with me when I found out that I had it and that it was something that you couldn't overcome or ever deal with. But the more I read and found out about it, it's something that you can still beat, live with, and still be a successful person," said Patterson.