Updated 14 July 2017

Attention disorder - not just for kids

A surprising number of kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) carry at least some of those symptoms into adulthood, and need treatment.

A surprising number of kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) carry at least some of those symptoms into adulthood, and need treatment.

According to Karin Seydel, educational psychologist, two to four percent of adults are affected.

It was believed until recent years that children outgrew ADHD in adolescence. This is because ADHD usually manifests differently in adults.

“Children and teens with ADHD typically exhibit hyperactivity, impulsiveness and poor concentration. Hyperactivity often diminishes during the teen years and the disorder is therefore often misdiagnosed,” she says.

Adults with ADHD reportedly hang onto impulsive traits and a need for immediate gratification. They may suffer from chronic underachievement, poor confidence and a feeling of being overwhelmed.

Early identification and treatment increase the likelihood of positive long-term outcomes. “If the disorder goes undiagnosed, untreated or is treated inadequately during adulthood, adults may have difficulties at work and in relationships, as well as emotional difficulties,” she says.

Most experts who study ADHD agree, however, that more specific methods are needed to spot the disorder in adults.



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ADHD Expert

Dr Renata Schoeman has been in full-time private practice as a general psychiatrist (child, adolescent and adult psychiatry) since 2008, currently based in Oude Westhof (Bellville). Renata also holds appointments as senior lecturer in Leadership (USB) and as a virtual faculty member of USB Executive Development’s Neuroleadership programme. She serves on the advisory boards of various pharmaceutical companies, as a director of the Psychiatric Management Group (PsychMG) and is the co-convenor of the South African Society of Psychiatrist (SASOP) special interest group for adult ADHD, and co-founder of the Goldilocks and The Bear Foundation ( She is passionate about corporate mental health awareness and uses her neuroscience background to assist leaders in equipping them to become balanced, healthy and dynamic leaders that take their own and their team’s emotional, intellectual, social health and physical needs into account. Renata is academically active and enjoys research and collaborative work, has published in many peer-reviewed journals, and has presented at local and international congresses. She is regularly invited to present at conferences and to engage with the media. During her post-graduate studies, she trained at Harvard, Boston in neurocognition and neuroimaging. Her awards include, amongst others, the Young Minds in Psychiatry award from the American Psychiatric Association, the Discovery Foundation Fellowship award, a Thuthuka award from the NRF, and a MRC Fellowship. She also received the Top MBA student award and the Director’s award from USB for 2015. She was a finalist for the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa’s Businesswoman of the Year Award for 2016, and received the Excellence in Media Work award from SASOP during 2016.

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