ADD and ADHD Symptoms in Adults


While Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) always begins in childhood, it often doesn’t get diagnosed until adulthood, usually after that person has struggled with symptoms that have interfered with work, family and social situations.  Of those diagnosed as children, it is estimated that as many as one-third to one-half of these adolescents continue to experience symptoms of ADD as adults.  There is no test to diagnose ADD in children or adults.  Instead, a health professional will do an evaluation, and sometimes even get feedback from family members and/or teachers to make a diagnosis.
ADD symptoms in adults are usually not as clear as in children, but treatment still includes lifestyle adjustments to help stay organized, counseling, and may also include medication.  Because interpersonal relationships may be difficult for those struggling with ADD, it is important for loved ones to understand the symptoms in order to support the person trying to make adjustments necessary to stay more organized, use better listening skills and stay on task.

While the majority of people are concerned with children exhibiting signs of ADHD, it is possible that many adults have ADHD and don’t even realize it.  Here are some warning signs of ADHD in adults:

  • Working too much. Most people dismiss these people as “workaholics” because they get so wrapped up in a project. This form of ADHD is referred to as “hyperfocus.” Hyperfocus ADHD works as a coping mechanism which allows people to easily block out various types of distractions and focus on one thing specifically. This should be monitored because it can lead to an obsessive nature.


  • Disorganization. While all people are organizationally challenged from time to time, adults with ADHD aren’t usually able to get organized at any time. It seems overwhelming to them and easily frustrates them. A few signs of disorganization in adults with ADHD include arriving late to scheduled events, prioritizing responsibilities and leaving things in out-of-the-ordinary places.


  • Becoming easily angered. Anger is a symptom in children with ADHD as they may frequently have temper tantrums over small things. This is the same for adults with ADHD, however, these “temper tantrums” are described as “angry outbursts.” If you aren’t able to let go of anger and your behavior is controlled by it, then you may suffer from ADHD.


  • Lack of concentration. Just like in children with ADHD, adults with this disorder have a hard time concentrating on things. These people often describe the condition like “having a brain fog.” They find it extremely difficult to concentrate on a task from start to finish as they find their thoughts wandering from topic to topic.


  • Excessive worry. ADHD can cause people to worry excessively. Sometimes the worry becomes so intense that it causes panic attacks and other forms of anxiety.


  • Lack of interest. Those with ADHD become easily bored. This is a common symptom shared by both children and adults with the disorder.


  • Depression. While a lot of adults feel depressed and seek treatment, what many don’t consider is the possibility that their depression is stemming from ADHD. Depression does accompany ADHD in certain instances, therefore get it checked out if you are depressed and have several other symptoms listed above.
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