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Baby, You're a Firework!

"ADHD does not only occur among children, but among adults too"
By: Marc Evans Abat, MD, FPCP, FPCGMBaby, You're a Firework!

Katy Perry’s song, “Firework”, encourages people to be true to themselves and let their personalities and capabilities shine, and hopefully achieve the best that they can be.  But for a significant number of people, being a “firework” is more than just making people go “Oh, oh, oh” as you shoot across the sky and as your colors burst.  They have a tendency to jump unpredictably from one place or activity and generally stay in attention for as long as a snap of a finger.

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was once thought to exist only among children.  Among school-aged children, ADHD exists in about 3-10%.  In these ADHD children, approximately about 60% will have persistent signs and symptoms into adulthood.  Common characteristics noted among adults with ADHD include the following:

· Anxiety

· Frequent and prolonged boredom

· Problems with scheduling (e.g. being late)

· Frequently forgetting appointments/chores

· Depressed mood

·  Inability to concentrate on an activity, like reading

· Difficulty controlling anger

· Problems in their jobs

· Impulse control problems

· Low tolerance for frustration

· Low self-esteem

· Difficulty with organizing

· Procrastination

· Problems with relationships

· History of substance abuse

An online screening test is available from the Center of Maryland, USA on Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. The questionnaire is not meant to diagnose ADHD among adults.  However, it does give you an indication whether seeking furtherprofessional diagnosis is helpful.

Most doctors would think of ruling out organic or physical causes for your symptoms.  They will do a thorough medical history, physical and neurologic examination.  Laboratory exams may be ordered to check for specific medical conditions that could manifest similar symptoms.   Once these are ruled out, several questionnaires may be used to guide the doctor in identifying the particular symptoms. 


Medications help balance out the neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for ADHD symptoms.  Two families of drugs are available: stimulants and antidepressants.  The former group are usually controlled substances and involves multiple dosing.  However, improvement in the symptoms occurs faster.  The second group, are slower-acting but have a more convenient dosing schedule; these medications are available only by prescription.

An important part of ADHD management is psychotherapy; life coaching is also available to assist in achieving specific goals.  Support groups is also available and can provide an empathic forum for persons and families.Alternative modalities like acupuncture, herbal preparations and biofeedback are also being offered.

Life does not need to be an exploding “Pla-pla” if you’re an adult with ADHD.  Early recognition of this condition is very important and appropriate treatment is available.  Now let me go back to dancing to Katy Perry’s song…

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