According to research quoted in Dr. Russell Barkley’s new book on adult ADHD, there are 8.1 percent of adults with ADHD in the U.S. Given the similarities in our ancestries, it’s also safe to believe that these figures may be similar north of the 49th parallell.
Oddly enough there are still some people who question whether it exists. They question its existence because there are no “objective tests” to identify ADHD. While it’s true that there are no blood tests or x-rays used to diagnose ADHD, when groups of adults with ADHD are compared to groups of adults without ADHD, SPECT tomography (by the way that is an objective test) shows a REAL difference between the brains of ADHDers and non-ADHD adults. Unfortunately the same test cannot be used to diagnose it in one adult because the differences in an adult cannot be compared since no human brain is exactly the same.
So health professionals who diagnose adults with ADHD by taking inventory of their symptoms and use a series of questionnaires, as well as, family, academic, social and work histories, and cognitive and attentional tests.
This work up is a lot more than what is used to diagnose another ailment that no one seems to dispute: the “common cold”, which if you remember is diagnosed using signs and symptoms described by the patient. There is no blood work or X-ray used to diagnose the “common cold” when you go to the doctor.
So just because there is no objective test doesn’t mean adult ADHD isn’t real. There is real pain and real suffering and ADHD adults suffer even more by not being able to get the help they need because they can’t “come out” of the dark.