Managing ADHD in adulthood A meta-synthesis of how adults diagnosed with ADHD manage life with the symptoms Merete Bjerrum, Associate Professor, PhD, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Denmark and Danish Centre for Systematic Review in Nursing; Palle Larsen, MScN, PhD-student, Deputy director, Danish Centre for Systematic Review in Nursing, Denmark, and Preben Ulrich Pedersen, PhD Director, Danish Centre for Systematic Review in Nursing, Denmark Background Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is related to four dimensions: inattentiveness, restlessness, impulsivity and hyperactivity. The onset of the disease is in childhood. Some grow out of the ADHD-symptoms, but 80% continue to have symptoms throughout the lifespan. A prevalence of 4.4% ADHD symptoms are associated with impairment and affect multiple areas of daily life such as social relations, education and employment. But how do the adult experience ADHD symptoms affect the management of daily life skills? And which factors support their ability to manage the symptoms? Aim Our aim is to synthesise the existing literature to investigate how adults experience and manage life with ADHD, and to study the protective factors supporting them to live with the symptoms. Methods A meta-synthesis including studies derived from PubMed, CINAHL, Embase and PsychINFO, using the keywords: Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, Quality of Life, family, social support, adaption, psychological, educational, education, daily life skills, manage to live, life impairment, social life skills, attitude, coping behaviour, academic functioning, social adjustment, interpersonal relation, family health, social support, adult 19-44 years, middle aged 45-64 years. Results Four themes emerged from the included studies: ‘Being different from others’; ‘gaining insight into ADHD and thereby self-awareness’; ‘personal support to navigate in daily life’ and being organised to prevent chaos’ Conclusion Adults with ADHD want to be accepted as equals in their communities, but they often feel different and misinterpreted. Relatives and professionals can assist by advising and coaching them and not least by standing up for them.
ADHD; manging the symptoms; meta-synthesis; adult; living with ADHD; protective factors