Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is often thought to primarily affect children. However, adults can also have ADHD. Adults with ADHD may have different symptoms than what is commonly seen in children. This can make it hard for adults with ADHD to receive a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment. If left untreated, ADHD can have a negative impact on an your ability to function effectively. This article considers some symptoms of ADHD commonly seen in adults.
What Is ADHD
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder commonly diagnosed in children. Children with ADHD have trouble with impulse control, organization, and focus. While the exact cause of ADHD is unknown, there appears to be a hereditary component. ADHD is thought to impair the executive functions of the brain. The three types of ADHD include, hyperactive-impulsive type, inattentive type (formerly known as ADD), and combined type. In the hyperactive-impulsive type of ADHD, there is little impulse control and there is a lot of fidgeting, talking, interrupting, and impatience. The inattentive type is characterized by forgetfulness, lack of follow through, and being easily distracted. Those who have the combined type of ADHD experience a combination of symptoms related to both the hyperactive-impulsive type and the inattentive type. ADHD impacts around 11% of children and 5% of adults. Although ADHD is primarily diagnosed in childhood, adults that never received a diagnosis can also be impacted.
ADHD In Adults
ADHD childhood symptoms can continue into adulthood and can have a negative impact on your ability to function effectively. It is also possible for adults to receive an initial ADHD diagnosis after the age of 18. Those who experience the inattentive type of ADHD might not have received a diagnosis in childhood, as their symptoms were not as disruptive to others. ADHD in adults can cause problems in your work life, relationships, and health. Adults with ADHD are more likely to experience other mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder, or depression. In fact, about half of all adults with ADHD also experience an anxiety disorder. If you have ADHD as an adult, your symptoms might present differently than they do in children. Recognizing the symptoms of ADHD in adults can help you get proper treatment so the symptoms don’t have a negative impact on your functioning.
Impulsivity can be an issue for adults with ADHD. You may have trouble waiting in line, waiting your turn to speak, or even driving safely. Mood swings can be common and it can be difficult to control emotional outbursts. Spending money on a whim, engaging in risky behavior, and impatience can cause problems in your relationships. Impulsivity can include coming up with unusual ideas, needing to talk out loud, and saying whatever comes to mind whether or not it is appropriate.
Time Management Issues
Adults with ADHD struggle to manage their time effectively. This can cause issues with others if you are constantly late, or forgetful. It may be difficult for you to organize your schedule. You may be forgetful and have trouble remembering things that you need to do when you really don’t want to do them. You might misplace important items, such as your car keys or phone, which can cause you to be late to meetings. Time management issues can have a negative impact on your work life and your relationships.
A lack of focus can be a problem for adults with ADHD. Tasks that are boring, or no longer interesting can be very hard to complete. There may be a number of projects around the house, or even at work that are only partially completed. It may be hard to listen to others in conversations and pay attention to details. Trouble focusing in adults with ADHD includes difficulty sustaining attention and being easily distracted. This can lead to problems on the job and with the important people in your life.
Along with a lack of focus, hyperfocusing can also be a symptom of adult ADHD. Hyperfocus, or intensely concentrating on something so deeply that you ignore or fail to notice anything else, is also related to ADHD. When you hyperfocus, it is easy to lose track of time and others around you. This may be helpful in certain work environments. However, it is often problematic in relationships as those close to you might feel like they are not a priority in your life.
Restlessness can be a symptom of ADHD in adults. Like children, some adults with ADHD can have trouble being still. You may feel constantly keyed up and always want to be moving. This can lead to a lot of frustrations when you work a desk job. Fidgeting, getting up frequently, and engaging in some form of physical activity can help with restlessness. If your thoughts are also restless, you may experience anxiety as well.
ADHD can have a negative impact on your job. It could be hard for you to complete certain tasks. You may have difficulty remembering to attend meetings, or be on time to work events. It could be difficult to sustain interest in the job you are doing and you might impulsively quit. Some of the symptoms of ADHD can make your work life very stressful. It is not uncommon for adults with untreated ADHD to have trouble keeping a job.
Adults with ADHD can suffer from health problems. Mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression are common in adults with ADHD. Forgetting to take prescribed medication, neglecting to schedule doctor’s visits, and ignoring minor health issues can occur with ADHD. Sleep disturbances and poor eating and exercise habits can also be seen in adults with ADHD.
Relationship struggles can also occur in adults with ADHD. Problems can be noticed in friendships, work relationships, romantic relationships, and with family members. Due to the symptoms of ADHD, you might be seen as insensitive, irresponsible, or uncaring. Others may view you as unreliable and inconsistent, which can take a toll on your relationships. It can sometimes be difficult to engage in and maintain close relationships because of your ADHD symptoms.
If you experience several of these symptoms and it is impacting your ability to function effectively, help is available. After receiving a diagnosis, a combination of medication and cognitive behavioral therapy can help you successfully manage symptoms of ADHD. This can improve your health, work, relationships, and overall emotional well-being.