Employee Assistance ProgramTopics and Tips → Adult ADD/ADHD


Some experts believe that as many as 8 million adults in the U.S. are affected by Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity (ADHD). It is estimated that only five percent are receiving treatment. Some experts also believe that somewhere between 50-90 percent of all individuals with ADHD will be treated for a second condition such as depression, anxiety, Bi-polar or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder sometime in their lives.

Adult ADD is a condition in which psychological functions are impaired. Affected individuals have serious problems in one or more of the following areas: screening out distractions, starting/ completing tasks, remembering/organizing information and belongings, being on time, and keeping priorities in order. Many have difficulty with short-term memory. Their underachievement often leads to reduced self-esteem, depression and anxiety. ADD first becomes evident in childhood. Many people compensate for their symptoms until they are faced with especially challenging tasks. Since ADD has a strong hereditary component, ADD in a child is an indicator that one or both parents may suffer from ADD, or vice versa. In adults with ADHD, the brain areas that control attention use less glucose and appear to be less active. This suggests that a lower level of activity in some parts of the brain may cause inattention. ADD is also associated with abnormalities in the frontal lobes.

According to medical researchers at the University of Oxford, ADD is caused by several factors, perhaps a fat deficiency as well as a genetic predisposition. They theorize that the activity of a particular enzyme in the brain is required to turn on the building blocks or precursors that supply essential fatty acids, including Omega-3 and Omega-6, to neurons. In individuals with ADD, the activity of the needed enzyme is blocked so the proper fatty acids are not produced. Overeating bad fats and trans fats in margarines and processed foods kills the ability of the enzyme to produce vital brain fats. Fatty junk food not only causes deficiencies but it's toxic to the brain because it keeps the body from creating essential fatty acids.

Some adults with ADD have learned to cope by modifying their lives in many areas such as diet, communication skills, and productive/creative outlets. For others, coaching or therapy and support groups are useful. Medication has been found to be effective for about 75 percent of adults in reducing or eliminating symptoms.


National Institute of Mental Health, Your Miracle Brain by Jean Carper, Healthcall.com, About.com, and Washington and Shady Grove Adventist Hospitals . The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For additional information, please consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.

Shady Grove Adventist Hospital is located at 9901 Medical Center Drive in Rockville. For more information or to receive our newsletter with details about medical services, health classes, and upcoming events, go to www.ShadyGroveAdventistHospital.com . To find a local physician, call 1-800-642-0101 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.