FOX19 Investigates: Do you have adult ADHD?

FOX19 Investigates: Do you have adult ADHD?

(FOX19) - More and more adults are seeking treatment for ADHD or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Millions of children already diagnosed are also staying on medication into adulthood.

"It's like living with three Tasmanian devils. They drive their own selves crazy," said Fairfield mom Tracy Payne.

Payne's husband and two children are all being treating for ADHD. All three take Adderall, which is a stimulant medication used to treat ADHD.

"When you see us together, you know it's not something that people make up," said Tiffany Payne Mariol, who was first diagnosed as a young child.

Mariol told FOX19 after an unpleasant experience with the drug Ritalin, her parents decided to take her off the drug. She says she managed without treatment through middle and high schools, but constant struggles in college prompted her to seek treatment again.

"I've always been hyper as heck. I don't sit still," said Rick Payne

In fact, Rick said he started taking Adderall himself after he said he watched how the drug helped his children.

"I knew the kids were on it, and I went to the doctor one day and said, 'hey Doc, what do you think about this?' And he's like, 'yeah, definitely'," Rick Payne recalled. "I was glad; I think I already knew it. Almost immediately it was like somebody flipped on a light bulb, and I could focus."

The Mayo Clinic describes ADHD as a chronic condition that children and often persists into adulthood. ADHD includes a combination of problems, such as difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.

More and more adults are being diagnosed with the disorder. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 2.5 % of U.S. adults have ADHD. It was only in the 1980s when mental health professionals started to recognize that ADHD could persist in adults.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the number of children with an ADHD diagnosis has continued to rise. Eleven percent of school-aged children, or nearly 6.5 million children, have been diagnosed.

"Most people who are diagnosed with ADHD or have it as kids go on to continue to have symptoms as adults," said Dr. Paul Crosby, the director of the Attention Disorder Center at the Lindner Center of Hope. "People don't really grow out of it, like we used to think they do."

Maroon 5's front man Adam Levine is one of several celebrities openly talking about his experience with the disorder. Levine appeared in an adult ADHD awareness public service announcement. Other public figures including political strategist James Carville, television host Ty Pennington and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps have spoken about their diagnoses.

"I think it's become more accepted to talk about ADHD and for psychologists diagnose openly," said Crosby.

But the American Psychiatric Association cautions while many doctors believe children and adults can benefit from ADHD treatment, other experts think too many adults are medicated.

Another concern is aggressive marketing by pharmaceutical companies. The Food and Drug Administration has warned several ADHD drug manufacturers for false and misleading advertising, some for exaggerating the efficacy of the drug. And an important note -- the PSA featuring Adam Levine was sponsored by Shire Pharmaceuticals, which is the maker of Adderall.

But with a family and a full-time job, Mariol said her ADHD medication helps her function.

"I calm down enough to focus. I need to do these few things, instead of 800 things at one time," she said.

Her brother, Tyler, 18, was diagnosed five years ago and said he plans to take ADHD medication for the rest of his life.

"I can't see myself getting into school without it," he said.

Tracy Payne, the sole member of the family not diagnosed with the disorder, said seeking treatment is the best decision her family ever made.

"They're happy, their self-esteem is great," she said. "It's wonderful. It's truly brought our family together." has an online ADHD screening test for adults, which you can take here:

Watch Adam Levine's PSA on coping with ADHD: 

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