Overview of ADHD and its symptoms in adults

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a psychiatric disorder that makes it difficult for people to inhibit their spontaneous responses, which can involve everything from speech to movement to attentiveness. Unlike other psychiatric disorders like depression and anxiety, ADHD doesn’t begin in adulthood.

ADHD symptoms must have been present since childhood for it to be diagnosed as such in adults. An estimated 15% of people diagnosed with ADHD as children still have a full range of symptoms by the time they are age 25, and 65% show symptoms late into adult hood.

General ADHD symptoms

Symptoms of ADHD are generally categorized according to two main types of behavioural problems:

1. Inattentiveness—short attention span, being easily distracted and making of careless mistakes, for example, in school work

2. Hyperactivity and impulsive behaviours—constant fidgeting, dangerous climb, blurted insult that stands out in pre-schoolers etc.

Most people with ADHD have problems that fall into both these categories, but this is not always the case. For example, some people with ADHD have difficulties with maintain attention (inattentiveness), but not with impulsiveness or hyperactivity. This form of ADHD is known as attention deficit disorder (ADD) and can go largely unnoticed because its symptomsare less obvious.

ADHD Symptoms in adults

The conventional ADHD symptoms doctors look for to diagnose the condition are based on how it shows itself in children, including excessive daydreaming, forgetfulness and inability to sit still.

Other possible symptoms of ADHD include constant fidgeting with objects, poor concentration and interpersonal problems.

It can be difficult to recognize and diagnose symptoms of ADHD in adults because the symptoms could also be a result of other issues like stress and substance abuse.

However, there are some potential warning signs of adult ADHD you can look out for that could point to the condition.

Warning signs of adult ADHD

Top warning signs of adult ADHD include such problems as:

1. Organizational problems—people with ADHD often have trouble staying organized and managing adult responsibilities, such as bills, work and children

2. Marital problems—people with ADHD may also have marriage or relationship problems that stem from issues like poor listening skills, inattentiveness and inability to honour commitments

3. Increased accidents— people with ADHD may also be involved in many accidents due to an inability to pay attention on one task, such as driving a car or operating a machine.

Getting help

If you have ADHD symptoms only in some situations, it’s probably not ADHD and there is no need to worry too much. However, if you show persistent ADHD signs and symptoms across all situation—at home and at work—it's important that you get examined by an qualified mental health professional.

Treatment options for ADHD may include getting into therapy, implementing a better dietand exercise plan, and modifying the home environment to minimize distractions.

Adult ADHD can be managed, as can ADHD in children.

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