The first studies on adults who were never diagnosed as children as having ADD but who showed symptoms as adults were done in the late 1970s by Drs. Paul Wender, Frederick Reimherr, and David Wood. These symptomatic adults were retrospectively diagnosed with ADD after the researchers' interviews with their parents.
The researchers developed clinical criteria for diagnosing ADD in adults (the Utah Criteria), which combined past history of the condition with current evidence of typical behaviors.
Other diagnostic assessments for adult ADD are now available. Among them are the widely used Conners Rating Scale and the Brown Attention Deficit Disorder Scale.
Typically, people with adult ADD are unaware that they have this disorder -- they often just feel that it's impossible to get organized, stick to a job, or simply keep an appointment. The everyday tasks of getting up from bed, getting dressed and ready for the day's work, arriving at work on time, and being productive on the job can be major challenges for someone with this condition.
Treatment for adult ADD with medications and behavioral therapy can help with the symptoms of the disorder. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved five drugs for adult ADD treatment, but the decision to take medication should be considered carefully and discussed with a physician. Although medication gives needed support, the person must succeed on his or her own. To help in this struggle, both "psychoeducation" and individual psychotherapy can be helpful components of adult ADD treatment.
Teens and adults with ADD have two to three times more auto accidents and twice the number of severe accidents resulting in vehicle damage and bodily injury as those without. They have coordination deficits, less skill in maneuvering vehicles in traffic, slower reaction time, and inattention.