Having trouble concentrating? Do you have trouble keeping calm and are rather impulsive? Do you feel the need to move constantly, to talk? You may be a hyperactive adult, or more specifically, you may have Attention Deficit Disorder with or without Hyperactivity (ADHD). No, this issue is not just for children: 2 to 4% of adults (1) can actually have this disorder. What are the causes and how to make a prediagnosis? (par. 1 and 2) And above all, how to live better with it? (par. 3)
The term "hyperactivity" does not reflect the disease as a whole. Indeed, this term evokes a person constantly busy, fidgeting, making noise. But ADHD also includes two other major clinical signs, which are inattention and impulsivity – predominant symptoms in adults. Inattention refers to being easily distracted by external stimuli; the individual concerned fails to stay focused on the duration. Verbal and motor impulsivity translates into having difficulty managing one's emotions, not being able to wait before reacting, speaking up or taking an action.
Adult ADHD is a common neuropsychiatric condition, as common as depression, and twice as common as schizophrenia, experts say. It is estimated that 50 to 80% of children with ADHD continue to suffer from it in adolescence, then 30 to 50% beyond. Yet it goes unrecognized and often goes undiagnosed, which can lead to great suffering and hardship, both personally and professionally.
According to Dr. François Bange, psychiatrist and co-author of Understanding and treating hyperactivity in adults (ed. Dunod), ADHD refers to a set of neurodevelopmental disorders that appear in childhood and continue into adulthood. They can be more or less pronounced depending on the individual. Two areas of the brain would be involved:the frontal lobe (which is involved in planning, decision-making and language in particular) and the stratium (involved in motor skills, motivation or even nociception - the mechanisms that constitute the "system alarm" from the body).
Scientific studies have shown that this attention disorder with or without hyperactivity would mainly have a genetic origin; the genes implicated in this disorder would be those involved in the regulation of dopamine. Dopamine, sometimes referred to as the "happiness hormone", is a substance released in the body in response to a feeling of pleasure. It is a neurotransmitter involved in the hedonic system of the organism (the reward/reinforcement system), which provides the motivation necessary to carry out actions or which promotes adequate behavior aimed at preserving the individual. Dopamine also plays a role in the functioning of attention.
But people with ADHD have...