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As parents watch their teens move from high school into adulthood, it’s easy to assume that they will thrive as young adults and excel in whatever educational path they’ve chosen.

Yet, time and again, learning disabilities and related disorders—like ADD and ADHD—continue to be diagnosed later on in life, having a significant impact on their transition into adulthood.

The good news is, there are solutions. Individually assessed treatment plans, along with therapy and other targeted educational assistance, can help young adults tackle their inattention or learning challenges, and everything else that stands in the way of their success. So, if your grown-up child is struggling, perhaps there’s a real reason behind it.

Could Your Grown Child have Adult ADD/ADHD?

Many parents think that if their young adult was not diagnosed with any disorder as a child, that there is no reason to suspect it might be a problem now. This couldn’t be further from the truth. According to Psych Central, between 30%-70% of children who are afflicted with ADD or ADHD continue to be affected by it well into adulthood, and many of these are retrospectively diagnosed patients. In fact, many of the struggles that young adults previously worked through as children are the very same issues in the present—it’s just they weren’t attributed to any specific condition.

For instance, some of the symptoms of someone who has ADD or ADHD include being impulsive, easily distracted, and restless. However, as a young adult attempting to live independently, this may not only transfer into an inability to concentrate in school, but also the inability to control one’s temper, forgetfulness, and problems with relationships, too.

How is Adult ADD and ADHD Diagnosed and Treated?

Diagnosing Adult ADD or ADHD is not the same as diagnosing children. With children, they tend to use DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria, which is basically a battery of tests that requires they exhibit at least six of the many symptoms for at least six months or more—but this doesn’t always work with adults.

Many young adults have learned to adapt and channel their excess energy into other things, like addictions, reckless behavior and a lack of self-control. Many don’t even exhibit damaging behaviors, they just learning to work around it somehow, always frustrated with how easily they can get distracted.

Warning signs commonly seen in children are perceived quite differently in adults. For this reason, many doctors have adapted various rating scales for adult diagnosis, including the Utah Criteria (for ADHD), the Connor’s Adult ADHD Rating Scale, and the Brown Adult ADD Rating Scale.

Treatment for adult ADD and adult ADHD ranges depending on need, and while many doctors opt for prescribing medication, it isn’t the only solution. A unique combination of medication and therapy provides the best results.

If your young adult child is at their personal crossroads in life and they need a little help, the At the Crossroads  independent living program can help. Specializing in getting young adults back on their feet, they work with those struggling with inattention and other learning disabilities, and provide the therapy and treatment they need to achieve success.

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