Does this sound like you or another adult you know: struggles to maintain their attention, hyperactivity, and often behaves impulsively? Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, also known as adult ADHD, is a disorder that affects a person’s mind and over time it may result in unstable relationships, less than satisfactory academic performance, and a poor self-image.

ADHD is found in children as well as adults. This article will focus on adult ADHD, discussing symptoms, typical behavior resulting from ADHD, and advice on when to seek professional assistance.

When does adult ADHD start?

Research tells us that the symptoms of adult ADHD start when those affected are still young children. They then carry these symptoms into their adult lives. In most cases ADHD is diagnosed when they are a child, however, the symptoms may not have been clear and so it may be only when they are grown that ADHD is identified.

Often the signs of adult ADHD are not as clear as they are in children. The most obvious symptom of ADHD is often hyperactivity, which decreases with age, however, the person may still combat hastiness, and agitation and find it hard to keep their focus on one area.

Getting to grips with treating adult ADHD is similar to how childhood ADHD is treated. These treatments may include medication, counseling, or efforts to address any mental health conditions that could be prevalent alongside ADHD.

What are the signs?

For the most part adult ADHD shows fewer symptoms than childhood ADHD, but severe symptoms may still interfere with everyday life. It bears repeating that the signs to look out for in adult ADHD are restlessness, powerful impulsive reactions to things, and finding it difficult to pay attention. These indicators can range from mild to acute.

Experts notice that a significant percentage of adult ADHD sufferers do not know they have it. What they do notice is that the tasks that come so naturally to some pose a significant challenge.

Struggling to focus on a key task can lead to missed deadlines, meetings, or social plans. Typically, this battle with impulse control is exemplified by impatience in waiting in line, driving in traffic, or moodiness and explosions of anger in various settings.

Typical symptoms

  • A quick temper.
  • Impulsiveness is a significant characteristic.
  • Being disorganized.
  • Not being able to manage even slight frustrations.
  • Being affected by mood swings.
  • A high degree of activity or simply not being able to sit still.
  • Poor planning and time management.
  • Not being able to prioritize properly.
  • Inability to manage stress.
  • Difficulty in finishing tasks once started.
  • Struggling to maintain attention on a single task.

The difference between average behavior and adult ADHD

It may not surprise you that nearly everyone has some symptoms that are similar to ADHD. The difference is that when the indicators are acute enough to cause problems in several areas of life, the symptoms are persistent and disruptive, and research shows that they can be traced back to early childhood, ADHD is indicated.

Accurately identifying adult ADHD is difficult, since the indicators of ADHD closely resemble other conditions such as anxiety or what are known as mood disorders, where a disturbance in a person’s mood is the main underlying feature of the condition. To add further complexity, many people who have adult ADHD also suffer from at least one other mental health condition such as depression or anxiety.

When to seek treatment

Like other medical conditions, if symptoms such as those discussed in the article keep getting in the way of normal life, then it is important to ask a healthcare professional whether or not you have adult ADHD.

If this is something you are concerned about, then why not browse our online counselor directory or contact our office to schedule an appointment? We would be honored to walk with you on this journey.

“Busy”, Courtesy of Yunus Tug,, CC0 License; “Staring out the Window”, Courtesy of Ave Calvar,, Unsplash+ License


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