What Are The Symptoms Of ADHD In An Adult?

Adults with ADHD have different symptoms than children with ADHD. Adult symptoms tend to be more subtle and can have far reaching affects. Adults with ADHD often have problems with organization, completing tasks on time, concentration, memory and following directions. This can lead to social, emotional, behavioral, academic and professional problems. It is estimated that 1 to 5 percent of adults have ADHD. Most of them go undiagnosed and untreated. The behavioral symptoms associated with ADHD usually go away once the disorder is acknowledged and treated.

General symptoms associated with ADHD

ADHD symptoms manifest differently in each person and can vary in their intensity. For instance, some adults with ADHD may be overly social and fear being alone. Others tend to be antisocial and withdrawn. Common symptoms of ADHD are:

  • Relationship and employment problems
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Constant boredom
  • Frustration
  • Procrastination
  • Inability to stay organized
  • Addiction and substance abuse
  • Impulsiveness
  • Easily angered
  • Low self confidence
  • Anxiety
  • Always late
  • Often forgetful

Academic problems associated with ADHD

When adults with ADHD were children in school, they were more likely to have demonstrated the following symptoms:

  • Under achievement
  • Low grades
  • Repeating a grade
  • Dropping out of school

Professional problems associated with ADHD

Adults with ADHD are more likely to have the following symptoms at work:

  • Poor performance
  • Frequent change in employers
  • Fewer achievements at work
  • Missed deadlines and meetings
  • Chronic lateness
  • Distraction

Social problems associated with ADHD

Adults with ADHD are more likely to have the following social problems:

  • Nicotine addiction
  • Substance abuse
  • Driving violations
  • Feelings of unhappiness
  • Low social status
  • Marital problems/multiple marriages
  • Divorce or separation

Relationship problems associated with ADHD

Having ADHD can strain relationship, particularly romantic relationships. Partners of people with ADHD may feel resentful if s/he must take care of all household responsibilities such as planning, paying bills and organizing. Partners with ADHD may feel resentful of being constantly nagged.

Eating behaviors associated with ADHD

People with ADHD are more likely to be obese and to overeat. This is because they are more likely to:

  • Snack all day instead of planning meals
  • Give up on diets
  • Crave carbohydrates and caffeine
  • Eat fast food and junk food
  • Ignore feelings of hunger and then binge

Positive characteristics of adults with ADHD

You don't usually hear about the positive aspects of ADHD:

  • Lots of energy
  • Quick thinking
  • Enthusiasm
  • Spontaneity
  • Creativity

The importance of an ADHD diagnosis

Most adults have no idea they have ADHD. When they are diagnosed, they can finally begin the proper treatment and improve their lives. Diagnosis also allows them to look back on their lives and make sense of the problems that have plagued them. Knowing why they have been having these symptoms can improve their self esteem and relationships. Counseling and therapy can be important tools for dealing with the emotional aspects of ADHD, particularly if the patient is experiencing depression or anxiety. 




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