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How ADHD develops into adult ADD Essay


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) refers to a condition that occurs in children that involves deficiencies in motivating and regulating oneself (Ashley, 2005, p.24). These deficiencies result in extensive and involuntary distractions, problems with organization, procrastination and poor prioritization.

ADHD is a recurrent and long-lasting condition that begins in the early years of childhood and persists throughout life into adulthood (Ashley, 2005, p.28). When this ADHD persists into adulthood, it is referred to as adult attention deficit disorder (Adult ADD).research has shown that 60% of children with ADHD show signs of the condition in their adulthood.

It is so prevalent that 15% of the world’s population has ADHD (Ashley, 2005, p.33). With time, ADHD develops into adult ADD.ADHD is treatable with a combination of skills training, behavior and cognitive therapy and medication. Adults who exhibit the adult ADD have the same mental potential as adults who do not have the condition.

The development of ADHD into adult ADD involves the change of symptoms as the child grows into maturity (Anne, 2000, p.54). The symptoms of the condition are different in both stages of life. In childhood, symptoms include forgetfulness, frequent distractions, making of careless mistakes that result from lack of paying attention, easy distractions and carelessness.

These symptoms develop and change to procrastination, poor time management, impatience, boredom in most tasks and high activity (Anne, 2000, p.55). The change in the symptoms make them difficult to identify in contrast to childhood when they are easy to identify .Adults with this condition are less likely to show hyper active behaviors. However, they experience more accidents and low employment opportunities than adults who do not have the condition.

Research conducted on the development of ADHD to adult ADD has revealed ADHD affects three main aspects of physical development in children. These aspects include the use of the five senses to process information and sensations, proprioception and development of dominance (Anne, 2000, p.47).

Children who have poorly developed touch abilities, may exhibit more activity in an effort to develop sensation. Children with poor visual and auditory processing abilities may experience short-term memory, experience difficulties in trying to follow instructions, get easily distracted and frequent shift of attention from matters at hand (Anne, 2000, p.50).

Poorly developed proprioception leads to poor coordination and frequent careless accidents. In addition, the child may get involved in dangerous activities (Anne, 2000, p.53). The development of dominance is vital in processing sensations and information, storage and the subsequent use of the information. If dominance is poorly developed, then there is limited use of the brain in processing external stimuli.

Extensive research that has been conducted shows how the different stages of development and the gender of the child correspond to development of ADD. In young children, there is a higher rate of occurrence of hyperactivity-impulsivity type of ADHD that may be caused by late diagnosis.

In terms of gender, males are more predisposed to ADHD than females (Anne, 2000, p.67). Children have trouble in trying to calm and control themselves because of their high sensitivity to the environment and overflow of information. As such, they are unable to organize and make sense of stimuli and as such, react adversely to them.

This is sometimes regarded as a sensory disorder by therapists. As the child approaches school age, the child deals with the task of developing individualism and self-awareness.at this stage most develop fear, confusion, and avoidance due to the feedback they receive regarding their chaotic and unappealing behavior. This problem is aggravated by the fact that it is beyond their control. These problems later develop into anxiety disorders.

As they enter elementary school, children with HDD show signs of social limitations (Barkley et al, 2010, p.61). They react aggressively to reactions from other children and criticisms received from teachers and friends. This makes them develop a negative self-image, low esteem and confidence and feelings of depression and inward anger.

Successful social interaction is an important aspect in child development. Children with ADHD lack these skills and are often involved in misdemeanors. As they become teenagers, there is a change in the symptoms of ADHD. Levels of inattentiveness and distraction increase and cause the development of aggression and anti-social behaviors (Barkley et al, 2010, p.69).

These result in frustration and great feelings of inadequacy as they compare themselves to other children. At this stage, a child heavily feels social non-acceptance and limitations in abilities. Research shows that delays and uneven maturation of the cortex are responsible for ADHD (Anne, 2000, p.130).

As the teenagers enter adulthood, the symptoms further change, owing to more and better development of the three aspects of physical development discussed above. As adults, information processing and response to stimuli is well developed and as such, the symptoms are less severe. However, they exhibit destructiveness, difficulty in concentrating and reduced attention span. This continues in old age and needs management for proper functioning.

ADHD is a condition that if diagnosed early can be treated by a specialist using therapy and proper medication. Scientists have attributed it to the uneven and late development of the cortex (Anne, 2000, p.130). The brains of children with ADHD develop in the same way as that of normal children but it is slower. However, due to late discovery, ADHD develops throughout the life of the child into adulthood. However, the symptoms in adulthood are different from those in childhood because they are less severe.


Anne, T. (2000). Interventions for ADHD: Treatment in developmental context. New York: Guilford Press

Ashley, S. (2005).The ADD and ADHD Answer Book. Oxford: Sourcebooks Inc.

Barkley, A., Murphy, K., and Fischer, M. (2010). ADHD in Adults: What the Science Says. New York: Guilford Press.

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