Adult ADHD Latest National Survey

Douglas Cowan Psy.D. MFT's picture
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It is important to remember that many, or most, children with ADHD will never really “out-grow” the problems that ADHD brings. We have discussed this in detail in our reporting on ADHD and Depression in females, and in other articles through the years.

This week another reminder of this was published in a national survey of 1,007 adults with ADHD. The survey looked at how adults with ADHD cope at home, at work, and in relationships with others. The survey was published just in time for the 2008 Chadd Conference, and the 2008 ADHD National Awareness Day.

What the survey found was that, of those adults with ADHD:

  • 75% reported that ADHD strongly impacted their ability to stay focused to a task long enough to complete it;
  • 70% reported that ADHD strongly impacted their ability to focus on what others were saying;
  • 65% reported that ADHD strongly impacted their responsibilities at home;
  • 60% reported that ADHD strongly impacted their ability to stay seated through a business meeting, or to organized projects, or follow through with projects until they are completed;
  • 57% reported that ADHD strongly impacted their relationships with their families and friends;
  • 56% reported that ADHD strongly impacted their ability to advance in their work place or career;
  • 47% reported that ADHD caused them to have to work harder than others just to accomplish the same amount of work as those without ADHD;

The survey group was asked about what they would like to accomplish, or treatment goals:

  • 50% reported that they would like to get their house organized, and 28% reported that they needed to get their personal finances more organized;
  • 38% reported that they needed to get their moodiness under control, and 26% wanted to improve their relationships with others;
  • 36% felt that their ADHD symptoms were still not under control, and many report feeling depressed thinking about how hard it is to be an adult with ADHD.

The study was headed up by two big names in the ADHD community: Ed (Ned) Hallowell, M.D., who has written important books such as “Driven to Distraction,” and Natalie Knochenhauer, who as a mother of ADHD children has become an important advocate in the Philadelphia area.

The study was funded by McNeill Pediatrics, which, by the way, markets CONCERTA (methylphenidate HCI) for the treatment of ADHD in adults, as well as in children. Hallowell and Knochenhauer are both paid consultants for McNeill Pediatrics. So there is an element of this study that is designed to market CONCERTA to those adults who are not receiving any treatment, feel that their ADHD is not under control, and etc.

But this study should be more than that.

  • IF conservatively 5% of the children in the USA have ADHD, and
  • IF conservatively 50% of the children in the USA will “out-grow” their ADHD symptoms by the age of 20 or so, and
  • IF there are approximately 300 million people in the USA,
  • THEN there are conservatively 7,500,000 adults in the USA alone dealing with “adult ADHD.” And if 38% of them feel that their ADHD is not under control, or are depressed by their ADHD, and so on, well that’s a lot of people suffering from ADHD even into adulthood (38% of 7.5 million adults with ADHD is 2,850,000 adults who feel it is out of control or feel depressed because of their ADHD).

If you are an adult with ADHD, and you are feeling that you can’t get ahead at work because of it, or you can’t get organized, or motivated, or get your moods under control, there is help for you.

Yes, medications like Concerta can help. Stimulant medications can help to increase time on task, focus to boring tasks, and so on. Consider medications as a treatment option and talk to your doctor about it.

We also like people to try the combination of an ADHD diet (including high protein, low carbohydrate breakfasts and some caffeine), with ATTEND, Extress or Deprex (for mood stabilization) and Memorin for memory improvement. See the Different Types of ADHD for specific treatment strategies.

With either of the approaches above, counseling or coaching for ADHD as well as for skills and strategies to improve relationships and work performance are essential.

This book section: What is ADHD?

Douglas Cowan, Psy.D., MFT is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Tehachapi, CA who has been a counselor to children, teens, and adults helping them to overcome ADHD, find relief for depression or anxiety, and solve other problems in life since 1989. He served on the medical advisory board to the company that makes Attend and Extress from 1997 through 2011, and he is the Editor of the ADHD Information Library online resource at His weekly ADHD Newsletter goes out to 9,500 families. Visit his website at for more information on achieving greater health, personal growth, Christ-centered spirituality, stress management, parenting skills, ADHD, working out the stresses of being a care-giver to elderly parents and also being a parent to teenagers, or finding greater meaning in retirement years, Dr. Cowan can be a valuable resource to you.

Counselor counseling Tehachapi for ADHD, depression, anxiety, and more.

Douglas Cowan, Psy.D., MFT
27400 Oakflat Dr.
Tehachapi, CA 93561
(661) 972-5953

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