Mental Health

Adults with ADHD have four characteristics

ADHD is not something you necessarily grow up with.

Adults with ADHD have four characteristics

Adults with ADHD have four characteristics

ADHD EXPERTS: Psychologist Sverre Hoem t. v. and head of the advisory board ADHD Norway, Geir Øgrim. Photo: Private

Do you have problems with being aware for a long time and let you easily distract?

Are you having trouble concentrating on one thing at a time?

Psychologist claims that many adults are walking with undiagnosed ADHD.

Four typical characteristics

Psychologist Sverre Hoem has published booklets on ADHD and is currently working as an appointment specialist in clinical psychology at Health South East.

He believes that these four points may be indicative of ADHD in adulthood:

– Attention issues. You get easily diverted, unable to maintain concentration over time and miss oral messages.

– Impulsivity. You act without thinking about the consequences, interrupting before others have finished talking and unable to queue.

– Uro. Something like outer turmoil: Difficult to sit still in meetings, still changing sitting position and a lot of fuss. Part of the inner turmoil: Persistent sense of restlessness and trouble relaxing.

– Organizational difficulty. This can be anything from sentencing to forgetting appointments, or double-checking, struggling to keep track of personal belongings and having trouble maintaining the order at home and at work.

Same Characteristics for Children and Adults

– Diagnostic characteristics of ADHD are the same for children, adolescents and adults, but concrete examples and forms of expression will vary with age, says the head of the ADHD Norway Council, Geir Øgrim..

In the diagnostic manuals, 18 symptoms have been listed in the areas of attention and concentration difficulties, impulsivity and hyperactivity.

Adults with ADHD have four characteristics

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A certain number of such symptoms should have been present since childhood, show up in different situations and cause problems for the person and / or the environment.

– Most people perform well

– The symptoms should not be better explained by another diagnosis, and occur to an extent that is far greater than what can be seen in most people.

– It is important to emphasize that additional difficulties are common. These include behavioral problems, learning difficulties, depression and substance abuse, “says Øgrim.

He emphasizes that most adults with ADHD perform well.

Three types of ADHD

The Diagnosis Manual DSM-IV defines three types of ADHD:

  • Inattentive Type
  • Hyperactive / Impulsive Type
  • Combined Type
Adults with ADHD have four characteristics

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In order to meet the formal diagnostic criteria for ADHD, the patient must have:

  • At least six symptoms of attention alertness for inattentive type
  • At least six symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity for hyperactive / impulsive type
  • Symptom of both inattentive type and hyperactive / impulsive type to have combined type


The most widely used medicines for ADHD are the so-called stimulants, according to Hoem.

– Ritalin is the most famous, but there are also a number of others. The mode of action is essentially similar, he says.

– National guidelines emphasize that medicines can be part of the overall treatment. ADHD has been treated with stimulant drugs given in small doses that do not cause substance abuse or addiction since the 1950s, says Øgrim..

The efficacy and safety of such treatment has been studied in a large number of studies. The most commonly used drugs are based on the active substance methylphenidate.

Adults with ADHD have four characteristics

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– When stimulant drugs do not work or for medical reasons can not be used, an alternative called Strattera. It is not stimulating and chemically more in family with the antidepressant drugs, “Hoem says.

ADHD Treatment in Adults

– Both psychological treatment and medication should be offered. The choice becomes the patient, Hoem says.

– Medical treatment has a positive effect for about three out of four patients. That is, a significant proportion has no effect. In addition, those who for various reasons do not want to use medicine, which of course must be respected.

– Psychological treatment is unfortunately not available to everyone – partly because of general capacity problems with psychologists and psychiatrists, partly due to insufficient expertise and experience with therapists, Hoem says..

Course and Guide

ADHD Norway believes that many adults will benefit from ADHD courses, guidance on organizing and conducting daily tasks and conversational therapy in addition to medicines.

Adults with ADHD have four characteristics

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Adults with ADHD have four characteristics

The signs that you need a psychologist

– Medication must start with a specialist in psychiatry or neurology before a possible transfer to the GP, says Øgrim.


There is no central overview of the number of adults with the diagnosis.

– From population studies, we know that the incidence of ADHD is somewhere between two and four percent, but not everyone is looking for health services and many are going to be diagnosed, Hoem says..

A rain sample:

ADHD does not always disappear

In the 1970s, researchers began to realize that the state now known as ADHD does not always disappear in adolescence, as previously thought. At about the same time, some of the symptoms were also discovered in many parents of children undergoing treatment.

Source: Wikipedia

Adults with ADHD have four characteristics

8 reasons to check health

3/4 of Norway’s population is over 18 years, which means about 3.8 million of the total 5.1 million. If we assume a two percent incidence, we will provide approximately 75,000 potential ADHDs. Only a small part of these have actually been diagnosed. From the prescription register, approximately 16,000 people over 20 years used ADHD drugs in 2013.

The prevalence numbers are therefore uncertain, and depend, among other things, on how the diagnostic criteria are used in different surveys.

– Many say that about half of those who received such diagnosis in adolescence also have the diagnosis in adulthood, that is, about two percent of the adult population. Most of these are undiagnosed. How many “should” have been investigated, it is impossible to answer, “says Øgrim.

– Seek doctor

For those who think you have ADHD but have not been diagnosed, it is important to discuss this with your doctor.. It takes a long time to get a diagnosis, as many other conditions must also be considered.

– Get it up with your doctor and refer to a specialist, advises Hoem.

– If an adult is wondering if he or she has ADHD, the first step is to contact the GP, who should make an independent assessment and try to rule out physical causes of the symptoms before referring to adult psychiatric outpatient clinic (VOPP – DPS). The user organization ADHD Norway can also target people who are looking for systems, says Øgrim..

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