Signs and Symptoms of Adult ADHD

Are you late for everything? Do you find yourself forgetting things unless you write them down? Have you mastered the art of procrastination so much that you do your best work the night before a project is due? These may not just be personality traits you’ve grown to accept about yourself; these may be symptoms of adult ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder), which affects approximately 10 million adults. Let’s look at the symptoms of adult ADHD and how it can be treated.

Symptoms of ADHD

ADHD in adults can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms tend to be more subtle than those seen in children and teens. The symptoms fall into categories: inattentiveness/difficulty focusing and concentrating and hyperactivity/impulsiveness. While many fall into both categories, this isn’t always the case.

Inattentive Symptoms of Adult ADHD

  • Carelessness and lack of attention to detail
  • Constantly starting new tasks without finishing old ones
  • Difficulty listening
  • Inability to prioritize
  • Lack of the ability to follow through
  • Losing things often
  • Easily distracted

Hyperactivity Symptoms of Adult ADHD

  • Fidgeting
  • Restlessness and edginess
  • Getting up often
  • Difficulty keeping quiet or engaging in quiet activities
  • Always being on the go
  • Excessive talking and/or blurting out
  • Interrupting others
  • Difficulty waiting in line
  • Extreme impatience
  • Taking part in risky activities with little concern for the safety of others

What Causes ADHD in Adults?

The exact cause of ADHD is unknown, but research is ongoing. Factors that researchers have determined to be involved in ADHD include:

  • Genetics: ADHD can run in families.
  • Environment: Certain factors can increase the risk of ADHD, such as lead exposure as a child.
  • Developmental Problems: Issues with the central nervous system during key moments of development.

What Can Trigger ADHD in Adults?

Certain things can coincide with ADHD tendencies, including:

  • Stress
  • Medication side-effects
  • Lack of sleep
  • A poor diet
  • Overstimulation
  • Too much screen time
  • Changes in environmental factors
  • Lack of interest


The most effective treatment for adult ADHD is a combination of education, skills training, psychological counseling, and medication. Treatment won’t cure ADHD, but it can help manage symptoms. If you are diagnosed with adult ADHD, the most important thing to keep in mind is that it may take time to find what treatment works best for you. The best way to find the most effective treatment is to have an open line of communication with your healthcare professional.

  • Medication: Stimulants that include methylphenidate or amphetamine are among the most commonly prescribed meds for ADHD. These meds appear to boost and balance levels of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. If your doctor suggests medication, be sure to discuss the benefits and risks.
  • Counseling: Counseling, education, and learning skills go hand in hand when treating ADHD in adults. This kind of counseling can help you improve your time-management and organizational skills, develop better problem-solving abilities, find strategies for controlling your temper, develop better relationships with friends and family, improve your self-esteem, and help you cope with past failures.

If you suspect you may have adult ADHD, speak with your doctor or medical professional who can properly diagnose you and help you find ways to treat it.

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