ADHD in Adults - (2023)


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is not just a childhood problem. Learn what adult ADHD symptoms look like in both men and women, and what you can do about it.

ADHD in Adults - (1)

Understanding ADHD (or ADD) in Adults

Life can be a balancing act for any adult, but if you constantly feel late, disorganized, forgetful, and overwhelmed with your tasks, you could be suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), formerly known as ADD. ADHD affects many adults, and its myriad of frustrating symptoms can be a handicap.your relationshipsyour career.

While scientists don't know exactly what causes ADHD, they think it's likely caused by a combination of genes, the environment, and subtle differences in brain wiring. If you were diagnosed with ADHD or ADD as a child, chances are you'll have at least some of the symptoms as an adult. But even if you were never diagnosed as a child, that doesn't mean ADHD can't affect you as an adult.

ADHD is often unrecognized in childhood. This was especially common in the past when very few people knew about it. Instead of acknowledging your symptoms and identifying the real problem, your family, teachers, or others may have labeled you a dreamer, a fool, a slacker, a troublemaker, or just a bad student. Alternatively, you may compensate for ADHD symptoms as a youth, only to run into trouble when your responsibilities increase as an adult. The more you want to keep the ball in the air right now—making a career, starting a family, running a household—the more demands will be placed on your ability to organize, focus, and stay calm. This can be a challenge for anyone, but when you have ADHD it can seem completely impossible.

The good news is that no matter how overwhelming it may seem, the challenges of attention deficit disorder are manageable. With education, support, and a little creativity, you can learn to manage adult ADHD symptoms and even turn some of your weaknesses into strengths. It is never too late to reverse adult ADHD difficulties and succeed on your own terms.

Myths and facts about attention deficit disorder in adults
Myth: ADHD is just a lack of willpower. People with ADHD focus well on the things that interest them; they could concentrate on other tasks if they really wanted to.

Done:ADHD looks a lot like a willpower problem, but it's not. It is essentially a chemical problem in the management systems of the brain.

myths: People with ADHD can never pay attention.

Done:People with ADHD can usually focus on activities they enjoy. But no matter how hard they try, they have trouble concentrating when the task is boring or repetitive.

Myth: Everyone has ADHD symptoms and anyone with enough intelligence can overcome these difficulties.

Done:ADHD affects people of all intelligence levels. And while everyone experiences ADHD symptoms at times, only those chronically disabled by these symptoms warrant an ADHD diagnosis.

Myth: Someone can't have ADHD and also have depression, anxiety, or other psychiatric problems.

Done:A person with ADHD is six times more likely to have another psychiatric or learning disorder than most other people. ADHD often overlaps with other disorders.

Myth: If you weren't diagnosed with ADHD or ADD as a child, you can't have it as an adult.

Done:Many adults struggle with unrecognized ADHD symptoms throughout their lives. They didn't get help because they assumed their chronic problems like depression or anxiety were caused by other conditions that didn't respond to regular treatment.

Those:Dr. Thomas E. Brown, Attention Deficit Disorder: The Unfocused Mind in Children and Adults

ADHD signs and symptoms in adults

In adults, attention disorder often looks very different than it does in children, and its symptoms are unique to each person. The following categories highlight common ADHD symptoms in adults. Do your best to identify the areas in which you are struggling. Once you've identified your most troublesome symptoms, you can begin to implement strategies to manage them.

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ADHD Symptoms in Adults: Difficulty Focusing and Concentrating

"Attention deficit" might be a misnomer. Adults with ADHD can focus on tasks they find challenging or engaging, but have difficulty concentrating and completing everyday tasks. They can be easily distracted by irrelevant sights and sounds, jump from one activity to another, or get bored easily. Symptoms in this category are sometimes overlooked because they are less bothersome on the surface than the hyperactivity-impulsivity symptoms of ADHD, but they can be just as bothersome:

  • You are easily distracted by low-priority activities or external events that others tend to ignore.
  • Having so many thoughts at once that it's hard to stick to just one.
  • Difficulty paying attention or concentrating, e.g. B. read or listen.
  • Frequent daydreaming or inadvertently "shutting down," even in the middle of a conversation.
  • Difficulty completing tasks, even those that seem easy.
  • A tendency to overlook details, resulting in errors or incomplete work.
  • Poor listening skills; for example, having trouble remembering conversations and following directions.
  • Getting bored easily and looking for new stimulating experiences.

Hyperfocus: the other side of the coin

While you probably know that people with ADHD have a hard time focusing on tasks that don't interest them, you may not know that there is another side to it: a tendency to engage in tasks that are challenging and rewarding. This paradoxical symptom is called hyperfocus.

Hyperfocus is actually a mechanism to deal with distraction, a way to block out chaos. It can be so strong that you forget everything that is going on around you. For example, you may be so engrossed in a book, TV show, or computer that you completely lose track of time and neglect your homework. Hyperfocus can be an advantage when channeled into productive activities, but it can also lead to relationship and work problems if left unchecked.

Symptoms of Disorganization and Forgetfulness

When you have ADHD as an adult, life often seems chaotic and out of control. Staying organized and on top of things can be quite a challenge, as is sorting through information relevant to the task at hand, prioritizing your to-do list, keeping track of tasks and responsibilities, and managing your time. Common symptoms of disorganization and forgetfulness include:

  • Poor organization skills (home, office, desk, or car are extremely messy and messy)
  • propensity to procrastinate
  • Problems starting and stopping projects
  • chronic retraction
  • Frequent forgetting of appointments, promises, deadlines
  • Constant loss or misplacement of things (keys, wallet, phone, documents, bills).
  • Underestimating the time it takes to complete tasks.

impulsivity symptoms

If you suffer from symptoms in this category, you may have trouble controlling your behavior, comments, and reactions. You can act before you think or react without considering the consequences. May interrupt others, drop comments, and perform tasks without reading instructions. When you have impulse issues, it is extremely difficult to be patient. For better or worse, you can get into situations and find yourself in potentially risky circumstances. Symptoms include:

  • Often interrupts or talks over others.
  • Poor self control, addictive tendencies.
  • Smear rude or inappropriate thoughts without thinking
  • Reckless or spontaneous action without regard to the consequences.
  • Difficulty behaving in a socially appropriate manner (eg, sitting still during a long meeting)

emotional symptoms

Many adults with ADHD find it difficult to control their feelings, especially when it comes to emotions like anger or frustration. Common emotional symptoms of ADHD in adulthood include:

  • Gets nervous and stressed easily
  • Irritability or short temper, often explosive
  • Low self-esteem and feelings of insecurity or failure.
  • Difficulty staying motivated
  • hypersensitivity to criticism

Hyperactivity or agitation in adults with ADHD

Hyperactivity in adults with ADHD can look the same as it does in children. It can be very energetic and constantly "on the go" as if driven by a motor. However, for many people with ADHD, the symptoms of hyperactivity become more subtle and internal as they age. Common symptoms of hyperactivity in adults include:

  • Feelings of inner restlessness, excitement, racing thoughts
  • Slight boredom, desire for excitement, willingness to take risks.
  • Talking too much, doing a million things at once
  • Difficulty sitting still, fidgeting all the time

You don't have to be hyperactive to have ADHD.

Adults with ADHD are much less likely to be hyperactive than their younger peers. In fact, only a small proportion of adults with ADHD experience significant symptoms of hyperactivity. Keep in mind that the names can be misleading, and if you have one or more of the above symptoms, you may very well have ADHD, even if you don't have hyperactivity.

ADHD in women

Women often go undiagnosed or are misdiagnosed due to differences in symptoms from men. ADHD symptoms in women present as inattention rather than hyperactivity or impulsivity. If you're a woman with ADHD, you may have trouble staying organized or focused at home or at work. For example, you may have trouble remembering appointments, feel like you're always late, or underestimate the time it takes to complete a task.

Women also tend to hide ADHD symptoms better than men. Therefore, you are used to hiding your inattention or relying on tools to make up for your lack of organization or time management skills. While this can be helpful in some ways, it can also complicate the diagnosis. In the absence of a diagnosis, you may be wondering why you find it so difficult to stay organized and focused. You may also doubt your competence or struggle with low self-esteem and confidence. In fact, women with ADHD are more commonDistressmiDepression.

Effects of ADHD in adults

If you're discovering that you have ADHD as an adult, chances are you've struggled with the unrecognized problem over the years. You may feel like he's struggling to stay afloat, overwhelmed by constant stress caused by procrastination, disorganization, and coping with last-minute demands. Others may have labeled you "lazy," "irresponsible," or "stupid" because you are forgetful or find it difficult to complete certain tasks, and you may have begun to see yourself in these negative terms as well.

ADHD that goes undiagnosed and untreated can have far-reaching effects, causing problems in virtually every area of ​​your life.

Physical and mental health problems.ADHD symptoms can contribute to a variety of health problems, including binge eating, substance abuse, anxiety, chronic stress and tension, and low self-esteem. You can also get into trouble if you neglect important checkups, miss medical appointments, ignore doctor's orders, and forget to take essential medications.

Professional and economic difficulties.Adults with ADHD often have difficulties at work and experience strong feelings of underachievement. You may have trouble holding a job, abiding by company rules, meeting deadlines, and sticking to a 9 to 5 routine. Managing finances can also be a problem: you maystruggling with unpaid bills, lost documents, late fees or debt due to impulsive spending.

couple problemsADHD symptoms canchargeYour work, love and family relationships. You may be tired of being constantly bothered by loved ones cleaning up, listening more carefully, or getting organized. Those close to you, on the other hand, may feel hurt and resentful of your perceived "irresponsibility" or "callousness."

The far-reaching effects of ADHD can cause shame, frustration, hopelessness, disappointment, and loss of confidence. You may feel like you can never take control of your life or reach your potential. That's why receiving an ADHD diagnosis in adulthood can be a tremendous source of relief and hope. It helps you understand for the first time what you are dealing with and realize that it is not your fault. The difficulties you experienced stem from attention deficit disorder, not the result of personal weaknesses or character flaws.

Adult ADHD Doesn't Have to Stop You

When you have ADHD, it's easy to think that something is wrong with you. But it's okay to be different. ADHD is not an indicator of intelligence or ability. You may struggle in certain areas, but that doesn't mean you can't find your niche and succeed. The key is to discover your strengths and use them.

It can help to think of attention deficit disorder as a collection of positive and negative traits, just like any other set of traits you might have. The impulsiveness and disorganization of ADHD, for example, are often accompanied by incredible creativity, passion, energy, unconventional thinking, and a constant stream of original ideas. Identify your strengths and set up your environment to support them.

Self Help for Adults with ADHD

Armed with an understanding of the challenges of ADHD and the help of structured strategies, you can do just that.real changes in your life. Many adults with Attention Deficit Disorder have found meaningful ways to manage their symptoms, use their gifts, and live fulfilling, productive lives. They don't necessarily need outside intervention, at least not right away. There are many things you can do to help yourself and control your symptoms.

Move and eat healthy.Get Regular, Vigorous Exercise – Helps release excess energy and aggression in a positive way while calming and calming the body. Eat a wide variety of healthy foods and limit sugary foods to help smooth out mood swings.

get enough sleepWhen you're tired, it's even harder to focus, manage stress, stay productive, and keep track of your tasks. Support yourself by turning off screens at least an hour before bed and getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night.

Practice better time management.Set deadlines for everything, even seemingly small tasks. Use timers and alarms to keep up. Take breaks at regular intervals. Avoid piles of paperwork or procrastination by caring for each item as it arrives. Prioritize time sensitive tasks and write down every important task, message or thought.

Work on your relationships.Plan activities with friends and keep your commitments. Stay alert in online conversations and communications: Listen when others are talking and try not to talk (or text or email) too quickly. Nurture relationships with people who are compassionate and understand your struggles with ADHD.

Create a favorable work environment.Frequently use lists, color codes, reminders, self-notes, rituals, and files. If possible, choose a job that motivates and interests you. Be aware of how and when you work best, and apply these terms to your work environment to the best of your ability. It can be helpful to associate with people who are less creative and more organized, an association that can be mutually beneficial.

practice mindfulness.Although some people with ADHD find it difficult to even think about it, regular mindfulness meditation can help you calm your busy mind and gain more control over your emotions. Try to meditate for a short period of time and increase the time as you become more comfortable with the process.

Blame ADHD, not yourself.Adults who have been diagnosed with ADHD often blame themselves for their problems or view themselves negatively. This can lead to self-esteem issues, anxiety, or depression. But it's not your fault that you have ADHD, and while you can't control how wired you are, you can take steps to compensate for your weaknesses and learn to thrive in all areas of your life.

When to Seek Outside Help for ADHD in Adults

If ADHD symptoms are still interfering with your life despite your best self-help efforts, it may be time to seek outside help. Adults with ADHD can benefita series of treatments, including behavioral counseling, individual therapy, support groups, career counseling, parenting support, and medication.

Treatment of adults with attention deficit disorder, like treatment of children, must involve a team of professionals, as well as family members and the person's spouse.

Professionals trained in ADHD can help you manage impulsive behavior, manage your time and money, stay clean and organized, increase productivity at home and at work, manage stress and anger, and communicate more clearly.

Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A. and Robert Segal, MA.

    • references

      neurodevelopmental disorders. (2013). In itDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. American Psychiatric Association.

      Okie, S. (2006). ADHD in adults. New England Journal of Medicine, 354(25), 2637-2641.

      Adler, LA and Chua, H.C. (2002). Management of ADHD in adults. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 63 Supplement 12, 29-35.

      Torgersen T, Gjervan B, and Rasmussen K (2006). ADHD in adults: a study of clinical features, disability, and comorbidity. Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, 60(1), 38-43.

      Quinn, P.O. & Madhoo, M. (2014). A review of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in women and girls: uncovering this hidden diagnosis.The family doctor's companion for CNS disorders.

      Young S, Adamo N, Asgeirsdóttir BB, Branney P, Beckett M, Colley W, Cubbin S, Deeley Q, Farrag E, Gudjonsson G, Hill, P., Hollingdale, J., Kilic, O., Lloyd, T., Mason, P., Paliokosta, E., Perecherla, S., Sedgwick, J., Skirrow, C., ... Woodhouse, E. .(2020). Women with ADHD: An expert consensus statement that takes a lifelong approach and provides guidance for identifying and treating attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in girls and women.BMC Psychiatry, 20(1), 404.

    get more help

    Relationships and social skills.– ADHD-related challenges and concrete tips for implementing change (CHADD)

    Do I have ADHD? symptom test for adults- Take this ADHD quiz to learn more about your ADHD symptoms. (Add)

    Adult ADHD Diagnosis– Guide for an accurate diagnosis of ADHD. (CHADD)

    hotlines and support

    US United States.: Talk to an ADHD Information Specialist at 1-866-200-8098, Monday through Friday, 1:00 p.m. m. to 5:00 p.m. m. Eastern Time, or searchprofessional directoryfor ADHD clinics and other resources. (CHADD)

    United Kingdom: Phone callADDIS020 8952 2800 or contact oneList of self-help groupsby AADD-UK.

    Australia: call themhealth directly24 hour advice line on 1800 022 222 or find a listing withAustralian TDAHSupport groups.

    You have:find onesupport group near you. (CADDAC)

    Con:call themHelpline there Vandrevala-Stiftungat 1860 2662 345 or 1800 2333 330

    Last updated: December 30, 2022

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