Stan Mould is one of only two adults in this country who is receiving treatment specifically for hyperactivity syndrome, a condition widely recognised in children but underdiagnosed in older people, according to some psychiatrists. As many as 1 in 1,000 are affected.
Mr Mould, 44, a computer systems analyst from Wolverhampton, West Midlands, says the problems he encountered at work - an inability to concentrate for long periods or to follow instructions fully, inattentiveness and forgetfulness in meetings, and a failure to complete tasks - were the result of his condition.
He left his job, his tenth in 27 years, in July 1992. The company cannot be identified under the terms of the agreement.
Many American psychiatrists accept that adults can suffer hyperactivity syndrome and their research suggests that more that 60 per cent of children retain hyperactivity traits when they grow older. They are perceived as having personality disorders rather than a medical problem that may be alleviated with drugs.
Professor Eric Taylor, a leading child neuro-psychiatrist at the Medical Research Council's Child Psychiatry Unit, London, accepts that some hyperactive children do not grow out of the condition.
'It is quite a recent idea and still very controversial but certainly there is a problem that clinical practice just isn't recognising,' he said.
Mr Mould was treated at the Adult Hyperactivity Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, after failing to get help in this country. The condition was diagnosed and he was prescribed amphetamine-like drugs to manage it. It is believed that adult hyperactivity is caused by underactivity in one part of the brain which leads to physical overactivity. The drugs stimulate the brain, which damps down the physical activity. Mr Mould's own GP is now sympathetic to the disorder after Professor Taylor confirmed the diagnosis made by American doctors.
Mr Mould first learnt about adult hyperactivity, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as it is also known, in January 1992 when he read a magazine article and recognised the symptoms.
'All my life I had known that something was not quite right. When I read about this condition I knew intuitively that this was the explanation for many of my problems,' he said.
Mr Mould has an IQ of 154 and is a member of Mensa but left school with only one O-level. He has encountered problems all his life in work and personal relationships which he now attributes to ADHD. He believes that thousands of people are in a similar situation, suffering in silence and blaming themselves for their failures.
'They are often very intelligent but give the impression of being unmotivated and feckless ne'er do- wells. It is just that they have a different subset of a normal mind.'
Self-help organisation deals with disorder
A SELF-HELP group for attention deficit activity disorder (ADHD) sufferers and the related condition attention deficit disorder has been established. The group, called Ladder, has 160 members.
The symptoms of the condition include: an irritable, moody, unpredictable and impatient personality; an intrusive and impulsive behaviour style; difficulty with rules and authority, poor communication skills, intolerance to noise, inability to handle interruptions.
Ladder can be contacted on 021 378 4635 or 0902 336272.
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