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Signs and Symptoms

Adult ADHD can lead to unstable relationships, poor work or school performance, low self-esteem, and other problems. Though it's called adult ADHD , symptoms start in early childhood and continue into adulthood. In some cases, ADHD is not recognized or diagnosed until the person is an adult. In adults, hyperactivity may decrease, but struggles with impulsiveness, restlessness and difficulty paying attention may continue. Adult ADHD treatment includes medications, psychological counseling psychotherapy and treatment for any mental health conditions that occur along with ADHD.

Some people with ADHD have fewer symptoms as they age, but some adults continue to have major symptoms that interfere with daily functioning. In adults, the main features of ADHD may include difficulty paying attention, impulsiveness and restlessness.

Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Many adults with ADHD aren't aware they have it — they just know that everyday tasks can be a challenge. Adults with ADHD may find it difficult to focus and prioritize, leading to missed deadlines and forgotten meetings or social plans.

The inability to control impulses can range from impatience waiting in line or driving in traffic to mood swings and outbursts of anger. Almost everyone has some symptoms similar to ADHD at some point in their lives. If your difficulties are recent or occurred only occasionally in the past, you probably don't have ADHD. ADHD is diagnosed only when symptoms are severe enough to cause ongoing problems in more than one area of your life. These persistent and disruptive symptoms can be traced back to early childhood.

Diagnosis of ADHD in adults can be difficult because certain ADHD symptoms are similar to those caused by other conditions, such as anxiety or mood disorders. And many adults with ADHD also have at least one other mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety. If any of the symptoms listed above continually disrupt your life, talk to your doctor about whether you might have ADHD.

Different types of health care professionals may diagnose and supervise treatment for ADHD. Seek a provider who has training and experience in caring for adults with ADHD. While the exact cause of ADHD is not clear, research efforts continue. This kind of focus makes it easier to lose track of time and ignore those around you. This can lead to relationship misunderstandings. Life can seem chaotic for everyone at times, but someone with ADHD typically has a more hectic life experience on a regular basis.

This can make it difficult to keep everything in its right place.

An adult with ADHD may struggle with these organizational skills. This can include problems keeping track of tasks and trouble prioritizing them in a logical manner.

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This issue goes hand-in-hand with disorganization. Adults with ADHD often have trouble using their time effectively. They may procrastinate on important tasks, show up late for important events, or ignore assignments they consider boring. Sometimes forgetfulness can be annoying but unimportant; other times, it can be serious.

The bottom line is that forgetfulness can be damaging to careers and relationships because it can be confused with carelessness or lack of intelligence.

Adult ADHD Symptoms

Life with ADHD can seem chaotic, as though your emotions are constantly in flux. You can easily become bored and go looking for excitement on a whim. Small frustrations can seem intolerable or bring on depression and mood swings. Adults with ADHD are often hypercritical of themselves, which can lead to a poor self-image.

This is due in part to their inability to concentrate, as well as other symptoms that may cause problems in school, work, or relationships. Adults with ADHD may view these difficulties as personal failures or underachievement, which can cause them to see themselves in a negative light. While you might be open to doing everything at once, you also may feel unmotivated. It can also happen with adults. This leads to restlessness , which can lead to frustration and anxiety. Anxiety is a very common symptom of adult ADHD, as the mind tends to replay worrisome events repeatedly.

As with children, physical signs of restlessness and anxiety in adults can include fidgeting. They may move around frequently — tapping their hands or feet, shifting in their seat, or being unable to sit still. Although this may sound surprising given that restlessness is also a symptom, fatigue is a problem for many adults with ADHD. There could be several reasons for this. It may be due to hyperactivity or sleep problems that can come with ADHD. Raising a child with ADHD poses some extra challenges.

Getting the best treatment and support can be key to managing your child's symptoms. Treatment may involve medication. Medications can help children manage their impulses, stay focused, and avoid distractions.


In addition to medication, children with ADHD may benefit from accommodations at school. Common accommodations may include a seat near the teacher and extra time to complete assignments.

ADHD in adults | Your Health in Mind

Parent training can also be an important aspect in treatment. Parent training strategies can help you learn the discipline and support strategies that best help children with ADHD manage their symptoms. Learn the best ways to manage stress and negativity in your life. There was an error. Please try again. Thank you, , for signing up. American Psychiatric Association. Washington, DC. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice. Causes and Risk Factors. ADHD in Children. View All. Signs of ADHD in children can include a wide range of academic, social, and behavior problems.

This frees you to find a proactive solution instead.

Symptoms and Signs of Adult ADHD

But, ADD is no longer an official diagnosis. Predominantly inattentive presentation Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive presentation Combined presentation. Medication is the most common way of treating ADHD.

What is ADHD? (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

However, it is not the only way. Medication - There are two groups of medications that your doctor might prescribe: stimulants and non-stimulants. Stimulants reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity, and increase attention. Stimulants are often quite effective, but do come with some risks.