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Many adults who have ADHD go undiagnosed

September 8, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Juggling work and family is a balancing act for many adults. But if you find yourself constantly anxious and unfocused, you could be one of the many adults who have ADHD but have never been diagnosed with it. Adult ADHD can affect everything from your career to your relationships. Melody Bakeeff was at her breaking point. She was unable to focus, organize, or get through her daily to-do list.

"It just came to a point where it was like 'This should not be this hard,'" said Bakeeff.

Once she reached out for help she was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Studies show more than 4 percent of U.S. adults have ADHD but less than 25 percent are aware of their condition.

Untreated adults have a 300 percent higher rate of substance abuse. They also have difficulty staying employed, and maintaining relationships.

"The earlier you diagnose ADHD the better," said mental health counselor James L. West.

While 1 in every 10 kids is diagnosed with ADHD, more often than not, adults go undiagnosed. Some signs of adult ADHD are being disorganized, "zoning out" without realizing it, forgetting appointments, and having a hard time remembering details and conversations.

Bakeeff found relief through medication, and stripping sugars from her diet. Now she can focus on the important things in life.

There are some things you can do on your own to help manage symptoms of ADHD. They include exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep, and making good use of a system that works for you. And getting outside help from a therapist can be very helpful in dealing with some of the more emotional effects of ADHD.

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