CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - The disorders tend to get associated with children, but psychologists say it's something adults deal with too.
Until recently people thought it might just be something kids could grow out of.
"I just felt different and I couldn't explain it, I couldn't figure it out, I just felt like something was off and you couldn't put your finger on it," said Terry Kinder.
Kinder was diagnosed with ADHD about two years ago.
"In a way it's sort of a relief, you kind of have an answer to what's been going on," said Kinder. "You're relieved to find out, okay this is what's been affecting me, but there's also kind of when you look at the past, there can be regret with it too, there's a certain amount of regret because you're like I wish I would have known about this sooner."
He said he would have trouble establishing his career, paying bills on time, and repeating mistakes.
"It's very frustrating you feel like you've got potential, but I'm not anywhere near living up to it," said Kinder. "Careers I just couldn't really seem to get going, I couldn't get established, I had trouble with finances, didn't pay my bills on time even if I had money."
Since the diagnosis he said it's helped in his career, his marriage, and his self esteem.
Psychologist Ken Callis said symptoms of ADD or ADHD usually look similar in kids and adults.
"In children it may be fails to finish tasks, in adults it may be changed jobs frequently," said Callis.
He said kids might forget a worksheet, adults might forget to pay the water bill.
"Your family wonders what is your problem, you're smart, you're capable, you know what are you doing," said Kinder.
Callis said the disorders usually go hand in hand with substance abuse, anxiety or depression. He said there can be addiction problems or marital communication issues.
"They get anxious when they worry how they may screw up next," said Callis. "Often times it's a spouse, family member, or boss who says you need to find out what's going on."
"It's very frustrating you feel like you've got potential, but I'm not anywhere near living up to it," said Kinder.
Callis said it isn't uncommon for someone to get diagnosed later in life.
"The difference is, they learn to cope, they learn to mask," said Callis. "Some kind of a problem has arisen, they're trying to find out why."
"You're going to be okay, it's something very treatable," said Kinder.
Callis said sometimes adults can mask the disorder more easily than children because they don't have to sit in a classroom all day. They can choose what tasks they're doing, and how long they're doing them for.
While some people need medication, Callis said for others life changes can do the trick.
"There are things that are very basic, just being on a regular sleep schedule if you can," said Kinder.
Callis said everyone might have a little bit of ADD or ADHD. So, he said they have to be careful in diagnosing the disorder. Just because someone locked their keys in the car, or forgot someone's name doesn't mean they have the disorders. He said they look at the frequency and intensity of the instances.
If you think you might have the symptoms for either disorder, Callis said to call your family doctor.
Kinder heads up a support group in Cape Girardeau for ADHD. You can find the site here.
Kinder said the following steps can be helpful to those with ADHD.
Dr. Ned Hollowell lists the following five steps as part of their treatment for ADHD (source: www.drhallowell.com/the-hallowell-centers/)
Step 1: Diagnosis
Step 2: Education
Step 3: Lifestyle Changes
Step 4: Counseling and Coaching
Step 5: Medication (if indicated) and/or Complementary Therapies
A few small changes of habit can really make a big difference. Start with small steps like getting adequate sleep, and move on to things like phone apps to schedule reminders. Sleep, exercise, good nutrition, counseling, coaching and, for many, medication can make a huge difference.
With ADHD, you're a work in progress, but the key word is progress. Take it day by day. It does get better. Be patient with yourself and build a support system where you offload the things you aren't strong at and focus your efforts on the things you are good at. It does get better.