Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common brain disorder that chronically affects a person’s ability to focus, and may interfere with the person’s ability to function.
While ADHD can carry into adulthood or possibly go undiagnosed until adulthood, symptoms appear before the age of 12 and vary in severity. The primary symptoms of ADHD are:
- Failure to pay attention to details, follow instructions, and/or finish work
- Trouble staying focused and/or organized
- Easily distracted
- Frequently lose things and/or forget things
- Avoidance or dislike of activities that require sustained focus
- Fidgeting/squirming when seated
- Restlessness/difficulty staying seated
- Trouble playing quietly
- Excessive talking
- Frequent interruptions of others
It’s normal for children to periodically display all of these characteristics. When someone has ADHD, the symptoms occur more frequently, with more severity and interfere with their social and academic/professional lives.
There is no cure for ADHD, but treatments are available to help with symptoms. Treatment can involve medication, behavior therapy, psychotherapy (talk therapy), education/training, or a combination.
The most common medications used are stimulants which help balance your brain chemistry.
Treatment plans are determined by your healthcare provider on a case by case basis. It may take some trial and error to find the best treatment for you. Medications take a few weeks to take effect.
If you need further assistance, visit the university’s Office of Disability Services.
When to Seek Medical Attention
If you or your child experience the above symptoms for more than 6 months or notice that symptoms are negatively interfering your social, academic or professional life, you should speak with your healthcare provider.
Causes & Prevention
Experts do not know the exact cause of ADHD. Possible contributing factors include:
- Use of tobacco, alcohol or other drugs during pregnancy
- Exposure to environmental toxins in utero (during pregnancy) or at a young age
- Low birth weight and/or premature birth
ADHD Resources for Students
ADHD in college students suggests that the prevalence ranges from 4% to 11%. Some symptoms specific to college students with ADHD symptoms include difficulties with college adjustment, social skills, and self-esteem, academic problems. Adults usually have problems with time management, self-control, planning for the future, and being able to persist toward goals.
It is recommended that adults with ADHD:
- Get evaluated. You need a clinician experienced in diagnosing adult ADHD. Also, find out if there’s an ADHD support group or organization active in your area.
- Get medication, if needed. For many adults, medications lessen the disorder’s internal noise and outward chaos, helping them to gain some sense of self-control. The same drugs used for ADHD children can be used for adults. However, these medications are not indicated or helpful for everyone, and can have side effects for some people.
- Get educated. There is a large and helpful body of literature on adult ADHD you can tap into.
- Get organized. Get a calendar or personal organizer to help you build schedules and routines.
- Get counseling. Adult ADHD can put tremendous strain on a marriage, a relationship, or an entire family. Talking it out can help.
- Get moving. For Adult ADHD, exercise is a healthy way to burn off excess energy.
Rutgers University students with ADHD should reach out to The Office of Disability Services Central Office Location for further assistance.
View their contact information here.
You can apply for accommodations and services here.