Untreated, Undiagnosed ADHD over the years

ADHD (Attention deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) formerly known as ADD is a neurological disorder is a chronic condition including attention difficulty, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

ADHD is almost always considered as something that certain school children might have, or they grow out of it. Often going undiagnosed, statistics of the prevalence of ADHD in India ranges from as low as 1.6% to 17%.

Intervention in the forms of behavioral therapy or remediation from earlier ages can really impact an individual. Management of ADHD requires a systematic, multidisciplinary approach. Easier to spot in the kids, symptoms are subtle as they grow older. This means they struggle without even realizing what caused it. ADHD often begins in childhood and can persist into adulthood. It may contribute indirectly or directly to various factors like low self-esteem, troubled relationships and difficulty at school/ work.

As a child, they might squirm and fidget in class. Impatience while trying to wait for their turn or blurting out answers before completion are some characteristics seen in the behaviors of children with ADHD. They talk excessively and intrude on the personal space of others more often than they like. They are unable to work/ play quietly and are impulsive in their actions.

As they grow older, these behaviors are subtle yet prevalent. There is a need to move or fidget while feeling restless on the inside. Individuals cannot sit through the monotony of certain events like tedious/ dull jobs, meals or longer meetings.

Without realizing, their presence in a conversation gets overpowering as they end up finishing people’s sentences or interrupt midway. They prefer active jobs and have a lower tolerance for frustration. Labelled as “edgy and tense”, they are extremely distractible and are restless and find trouble relaxing rather than the ‘hyperactivity’ that they had as a child.

Problems faced by kids in school with ADHD like not doing well/ underachieving, getting into trouble or repeating a grade or even dropping out of school; later continue to show as adults as they change jobs constantly or perform poorly. They are unsatisfied with their jobs and have fewer successes at work and don’t find motivation to work easily. ADHD affects more than performance in a classroom or a cubicle at work. Their impulsivity and disorganization could lead to monetary problems.

For many people with ADHD, the symptoms related to inattentiveness often become more prominent in adulthood, while the hyperactivity symptoms become ones that are felt much more internally than observed outwardly.

While experts don’t agree on a particular age that you can first diagnose ADHD, they do agree that people don’t just suddenly develop it as an adult. That is why when a doctor sees you they will ask about your behavior and any symptoms that you may have had as a child. People who have ADHD may have had trouble getting along with others when they were kids or had a hard time in school.

Children with untreated ADHD may face problems at home and at school. Because ADHD can make it hard for children to pay attention in class, a student with untreated ADHD may not learn everything they’re taught. They may fall behind or get poor grades.

Children with ADHD struggle to control their emotions. Instances like when they may not know how to share their toys, take turns, play well with others, or react the right way in certain situations. Without treatment and guidance, they might continue to have trouble making or keeping friends. This can be hard for them to deal with, because many children with untreated ADHD also have low self-esteem or depression. Younger children with ADHD are more impulsive and may end up hurting themselves.

In their teenage years, if not treated or intervened yet, teens who do poorly in school cannot catch up might have lower grades. As the workload increases, they won’t be able to keep up. Teens with ADHD may struggle with forming relationships and might not do well in the dating world. They may not have many friends, and they’re also likely to have problems getting along with their parents.

Among girls with untreated ADHD, eating disorders are more common. Some of these problems may be linked with depression or lower self-esteem.

ADHD that’s left alone without supervision could raise the chance of dangerous behaviors, including: Drinking/ Smoking/ Drugs/ Risky sexual choices

Although certain symptoms may fade with age, or individuals learn to adapt themselves with it, ADHD can be a lifelong disorder and cannot be cured.

It’s important for all grownups with ADHD to have treatment for it. If not, they’re more likely to face employment problems. Even if they can get a job, they may not be able to keep it. They’re also more likely to have trouble with their work schedules or organization or time management or getting along with colleagues and co-workers or meeting deadlines.

Untreated ADHD affects relationships and if you have untreated ADHD, you’re more likely to have relationship problems. You may be too emotional. You may have arguments with others more often than your peers. And your partner or friends might have trouble getting you to listen.

Medications to Treat Adult ADHD

  • Stimulants: Adults with ADHD are often prescribed stimulant medications.
  • Nonstimulants: Doctors may also recommend a nonstimulant medication for you to take, either on its own or with a stimulant.
  • Therapy and Other Behavioral Treatments

You may want to ask about making these part of your treatment plan, too:

  • Cognitive and behavioral therapy
  • Relaxation training and stress management.
  • Life coaching.
  • Job coaching or mentoring.
  • Family education and therapy.


Ask for help

We all need help from time to time, and it’s important to not be afraid to ask for it. If you have disruptive thoughts or behaviors, ask a counselor if they have any ideas you can try that could help you control them.


(disclaimer: this article is informative in nature and is written to better understand the diagnosis or treatment of ADHD, but it should not be used as the only factor for making a  self diagnosis. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of professionals with any questions you may have regarding a certain condition.)

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Written by Gopika Hosangadi

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