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Column: Adult ADHD and the workplace

Do you have a hard time staying focused at work? Have difficulty organizing tasks? Lose necessary things? Are easily distracted? These are some common symptoms of ADHD and many more adults are starting to recognize these signs and linking them to adu
Do you have a hard time staying focused at work? Have difficulty organizing tasks?

Lose necessary things? Are easily distracted? These are some common symptoms of ADHD and many more adults are starting to recognize these signs and linking them to adult ADHD.

The Mayo clinic defines adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as a mental health condition exhibited by difficulty maintaining attention, as well as hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.

ADHD always starts in early childhood, but in some cases it’s not diagnosed until later in life. It was once thought ADHD was limited to childhood, but symptoms frequently persist into adulthood.

Dr. Russell A. Barkley, author and clinical psychologist, says you don’t have to be hyperactive to have adult ADHD. Research indicates hyperactivity is seen more in children with the disorder and usually declines substantially by adolescence and adulthood.

Often the symptoms of hyperactivity in adults are a feeling of restlessness and the need to keep busy.

ADHD in the workplace can have both negative and positive effects on those with the disorder. But it can be frustrating to deal with adult ADHD.

However, with proper diagnosis, specific strategies, patience and support, living and working with ADHD can also offer rewards and success. And there are unexpected benefits which can range from good problem-solving skills, high levels of creativity, spontaneity, and good intuition, ADHD coach Nancy Ratey has said.

If you experience ADHD symptoms or have been professionally diagnosed with the disorder, you might want to consider working in an industry best suited to your strengths. These occupations are fast-paced and involve high energy and movement, require creative thinking and offer a variety of tasks from day to day.

These occupations could be anything from joining the military to sales jobs, carpentry and other trades to emergency responders like police, from entrepreneurship to the arts.
Think you might have adult ADHD?

There are a variety of on-line tools, like the the Jasper/Goldburg ADHD survey, you can access to start the process of diagnosis. Sometimes, just knowing your symptoms are not uncommon and there are resources to help you manage ADHD can be comforting.

Being able to identify and support employees and colleagues with adult ADHD can go a long way to a rewarding and successful working atmosphere. Strategies that can be implemented in the workplace include a workspace that limits distractions, the opportunity to move often throughout the day, keeping meetings short and to the point, providing organizational tools or supplies and rotating job duties often to avoid boredom.

The more we learn about Adult ADHD, the better equipped we will be to implement strategies and remove the stigma of yet another common mental health condition.

Lisa Lounsbury is the founder of New Day Wellness in Greater Sudbury, newdaywellness.ca.



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