While the hyperactivity of childhood ADHD may be somewhat "outgrown", recent research indicates that for many, clinically significant inattentiveness and impulsivity can persist through adulthood.
"This disorder causes significant problems for millions of adults," says Dr. Leonard Adler, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Neurology at NYU School of Medicine. "Yet their doctors, including internists and general practioners, often miss it."
An estimated 8 million American adults are thought to be affected by ADHD, but a majority remains undiagnosed, with only one quarter seeking medical help for symptoms associated with the disorder - and even that percentage is often misdiagnosed.
Dr. Adler and other ADHD clinicians, in conjunction with the World Health Organization, have developed a new symptom assessment tool, the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS) to assist physicians in evaluating the symptoms of ADHD. The tool is available online at www.med.nyu.edu/psych/psychiatrist/adhd.html. Additional information and assessments for adult ADD are available on WebMD in conjunction with Eli Lilly's condition center at www.adultadd.com.
Dr. Edward Hallowell, author of Driven to Distraction, is concerned that general practitioners will misdiagnose patients with ADD if using these screening tools indiscriminately.
"It is impossible to diagnose ADD properly (in a matter of minutes)" he says. "I would speculate that 55 percent of the population has what I call 'pseudo-ADD,' sort of a severe case of modern life. They're going so fast, they're doing so much, they're so saturated with information overload that they look distracted, impulsive and restless." Source: NYU Medical Center and CNN.