Although the symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be found in many “normal” people, these symptoms are present to a greater extent in those affected by the disorder. In these patients, ADHD symptoms cause substantial functional impairment. Therefore, the goal of treatment is not simply to reduce core symptoms, but also to decrease the level of impairment caused by these symptoms.
Common impairments in adolescents and adults include academic and occupational problems that are particularly evident in the context of tasks requiring a high degree of organization or attentional function. These impairments result in problems related to task completion, prioritizing work and other obligations, and time management, etc. These symptoms often impact successful completion of tasks in school or at work, and can also result in a variety of problems in initiating and managing relationships (Slide 1).
Mood and anxiety disorders often co-occur with ADHD in adults. The accumulation of experiences related to impaired academic and/or occupational performance, and or persistent relationship problems, due to the symptoms of ADHD, can lead to either depressed mood or anxiety related to performance and/or social situations. Therefore, in treating adults with ADHD, reduction of those co-occurring symptom presentations is also an important goal.