Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Adult ADHD Often Misunderstood in the Workplace

Workplace May Overwhelm Adults With ADHD

Adults with ADHD may be mistakenly labeled as "low-skilled fidgeters" according to a recent study presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

"They have difficulty with many of the things they need to do in the workplace, such as solving math problems or understanding a document dealing with new regulations," says researcher Joseph Biederman, MD, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Proper medications can help to control the behavior which includes fidgeting and inability to focus on particular problems or tasks.

For the study, 18 adults with ADHD and 18 adults without the condition participated in an eight-hour simulation work day. Those with ADHD were asked to abstain from taking their medications on the day of the study.

The participants sat at classroom-like tables, where they performed and were graded on a variety of tasks: reading passages, solving math and logic problems, watching videos, and writing.

Compared with those without the condition, ADHD patients were significantly less likely to comprehend what they read and correctly solve math problems.

While their performance on comprehending video messages and writing was not impaired, adults with ADHD reported they felt overwhelmed, inattentive, and fidgety during the tasks.

But asked to judge what was going on, "all the observers could see was their hyperactivity, their fidgeting," Biederman tells WebMD.

"And if your boss sees your fidgeting, this tends to work against you in the workplace."

Do you or your employees suffer from ADHD? You can gain insight into the condition by visiting CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder) www.chadd.org.

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