Having trouble finding your focus? You may have ADHD and not know it

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 7, 2014) — Procrastination, disorganization and rapid loss of focus.

It’s seen in the millions of children who are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. When one thinks of those disorders, it’s usually connected with children, and medical experts will confirm that. But there are more and more adults who are being prescribed ADHD medication. The symptoms, for those who have them, are not easy to deal with on a day-to-day basis.

“Cloudiness, inability to focus and concentrate, forgetfulness is one of the main things that is a symptom of ADHD,” said Tony Neumeister.

As a child, that’s how he felt, and there were few drug options at that time that made his life better.

“I was on Ritalin for a very short time, and just the effects it had on me, we opted to go without it,” Neumeister said. “It wasn’t until as I grew older, and could see that I was having the focus problems and concentration problems that I began to learn more about it and together as a family we sought out the treatment options.”

The drug Adderall is what he’s been on for the last 10 years. He says it’s helped him considerably in his life as a family man who works in the medical field. It was a huge help when he was a police officer.

“As a police officer, you gotta have concentration,” Neumeister said. “If you don’t have concentration and the ability to focus, your odds of being hurt grow significantly.”

Neumeister is not alone. More adults are being prescribed attention disorder medications, so says a five-year study done by Express Scripts, a company that manages prescription benefits for Americans. They found the number of adults taking ADHD meds climbed 85 percent. The study also found that among adults, women far outnumber men in their use of ADHD treatments, which is the reverse of childhood trends where only half as many girls as boys take ADHD medications.

“It signals a need to look more closely at how and why physicians prescribe these medications for adults, particularly women, who may experience symptoms of attention disorders, as a result of keeping up with the multiple demands on their time,” said Danny Waddle, a mental health counselor at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis.

“There’s also a lot of kids diagnosed in the 1990s and 2000s that are growing up, and they’re adults now, and they were on medicine before and it helped or maybe they weren’t. But, they’re now discovering that the symptoms are impacting their lives.”

He thinks another reason for the growing number of adults on the meds may be the overall growing acceptance of mental health issues.

“Ask your friends, ask your family, ask them if they’ve noticed symptoms or if it’s impacted them or how they feel about your inattention or disorganization or your sloppiness or your procrastination might be impacting them,” Waddle said.

The symptoms were most certainly bothering Tony Neumeister, and he’s thankful to have his medication. He says if you think you have ADHD, do something about it.

“Go to your doctor, get tested, see what your options are. It might be ADHD, it might not be. If it is, there are options out there, there are resources for you,” Neumeister said.

Mental health experts say there isn’t a specific test that says you have it or you don’t. Since ADHD isn’t something you develop as an adult, your doctor will match the symptoms you’ve always had and figure out the best and safest course of action.