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Adult ADHD

My overall question:  Are young adults with ADHD also immature compared to their peers?  I have read about kids being a few years behind in maturity, but not really about young adults or even older adults.

I am 23 and was diagnosed with ADHD at 19 after going to a large university away from home and not being able to handle the freedom of time, class demands, partying, etc.  I have graduated now after changing my major a zillion times and still have no idea what I want to do.  It's like I am in a constant search for more stimulation and something to get my brain engaged.  

I don't maintain friendships well.  I become bored with people and tune out, and most people can only tolerate me for short periods of time.  I've had two significant relationships, but could not maintain those as I grew bored and get easily overwhelmed.  Other females my age seem to want to get married and start an independent life, but I seem to be so much younger than them!  I would rather play hide and seek with my 5 year old cousin than participate in any sort of "small-talk".  

I still live at home and need constant reminders about the simplest things.  My family is really aggravated with me and see me as lazy.  Not that being called lazy and underachieving is anything new.  They think that I need to try harder and that will fix me.  

Is all this normal for someone with ADHD in their early 20s?  
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521840_tn?1348844371
Hello,
   in a way, ADHD is a problem of immaturity, because individuals with ADHD have a harder time doing the things we associate with maturity (such as tolerating boredom, persevering and being efficient). Young adults with ADHD are typically less 'mature' than their same aged peers, and it can be intensely frustrating for the person with the disorder and her loved ones (as you noted).

   Though it may take longer, most people with ADHD do find their niche. For examply, you may select a spouse who does not mind doing all of the household organizing. People with ADHD often pick exciting jobs that involve moving around and paying attention for short periods of time--things like being a paramedic or chef for example. It is also part of adult ADHD to be an underachiever, but again this does not have to last forever. Sometimes living at home can prolong the problems. You know your parents are acting as a safety net, and this can make you stagnate. Adrenaline can act as a natural stimulant (like Ritalin) and you may need to start planning to live independently in order to feel excited about managing your own life. It is also hard to escape feeling lazy and disorganized if you are around people who believe that is who you are.

People can become stuck in repetitive behavior patterns for many reasons. Sometimes there are emotional factors that are making it difficult to succeed (depression, anxiety, feelings of inadequacy, or unresolved anger). Some people experience problems due to learned behaviors that they developed during childhood, often to cope with problems in their family of origin (such as children of alcoholics, or people who had harshly critical parents for example). This is where the help of a psychologist can be valuable. Through psychotherapy you can learn to manage your symptoms and to figure out what emotional factors are also getting in your way. There is no one correct path to happiness, so do not worry if you like doing different things than other people your age. It sounds like you may benefit from having a psychologist assist you in discovering what will make you happy and fulfilled.


Best Wishes
Rebecca Resnik
Disclaimer: This Medhelp post is written for informational purposes only. It is never intended to replace face-to-face psychological or medical care. This Medhelp post is not intended to crate a clinician-patient relationship, nor to give or rule-out a diagnosis.
2 Comments
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479581_tn?1317761088
I am an adult (52) with ADD and saw a lot of myself in your post.  I am a college graduate with a master's degree and have been a teacher of special needs kids for 29 years.  I'm married (23 years) and have kids, one with ADHD and one with ADD.  

I lived at home with my mom until I was 29 (except when I was at school), was forgetful, disorganized, etc....and in some ways I still am.  I also didn't have many close friends although I do now.  I wasn't diagnosed (although I am dyslexic) until I was in my 40's.  I take adderall (adderrall) daily and, for me, it has made things a lot better.

My son, 22 ADHD, is a college grad.  He is immature in some ways compared to his peers but I know he will be fine in the long run. He has never taken meds.  My daughter, 20 ADD, is in college and also takes adderall (adderrall).  She's doing great but is shy in many ways.

You may need some extra time or help during this transition time.  If you feel "out of step" with your peers.....talk to your doctor......you don't say if you take meds......but it is something to consider.  

I have found meditation (search "mindfulness") to be mentally calming.

Remember....you may have changed your major a zillion times but......you graduated.  You will be fine and find your place as an adult.

Good Luck
Sandy
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521840_tn?1348844371
Rebecca Resnik, PsyDBlank
MindWell Clinical Psychology
Bethesda, MD
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