Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Adults

What Is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

Many people have heard of ADHD. It may make you think of kids who have trouble paying attention or who are hyperactive or impulsive. Adults can have ADHD, too. About 4% to 5% of U.S. adults have it. But few adults get diagnosed or treated for it.

Who gets adult ADHD? Every adult who has ADHD had it as a child. Some may have been diagnosed and known it. But some may have not been diagnosed when they were young and only find out later in life.

While many kids with ADHD outgrow it, about 60% still have it as adults. Adult ADHD seems to affect men and women equally.

There’s no cure for ADHD. If your doctor says you have it, you’ll work together to make a treatment plan just for you.

Adult ADHD Symptoms

If you have adult ADHD, you may find it hard to:

  • Follow directions
  • Remember information
  • Concentrate
  • Organize tasks
  • Finish work on time

These symptoms can range from mild to severe and can change over time. They may cause trouble in many parts of life — at home, at work, or at school. Getting treatment and learning ways to manage ADHD can help. Most people learn to adapt. And adults with ADHD can develop their personal strengths and find success.

Challenges People With Adult ADHD Face

If you have ADHD, you may have trouble with:

  • Anxiety
  • Chronic boredom
  • Chronic lateness and forgetfulness
  • Depression
  • Trouble concentrating when reading
  • Trouble controlling anger
  • Problems at work
  • Impulsiveness
  • Low tolerance for frustration
  • Low self-esteem
  • Mood swings
  • Poor organization skills
  • Procrastination
  • Relationship problems
  • Substance abuse or addiction
  • Low motivation

These may affect you a lot, or they may not bother you much. They can be problems all of the time or just depend on the situation.

No two people with ADHD are exactly alike. If you have ADHD, you may be able to concentrate if you’re interested in or excited about what you’re doing. But some people with ADHD have trouble focusing under any circumstances. Some people look for stimulation, but others avoid it. Plus, some people with ADHD can be withdrawn and antisocial. Others can be very social and go from one relationship to the next.

Problems at School

Adults With ADHD may have:

  • A history of not doing well in school and underachieving
  • Gotten in a lot of trouble
  • Had to repeat a grade
  • Dropped out of school
Problems at Work

Individuals diagnosed with ADHD in adulthood are at a higher risk of:

  • Change jobs a lot and perform poorly
  • Be less happy with their jobs and have fewer successes at work
Problems in Life

Adults with ADHD are more likely to:

  • Get more speeding tickets, have their license suspended, or be involved in more crashes
  • Smoke cigarettes
  • Use alcohol or drugs more often
  • Have less money
  • Say they have psychological trouble like being depressed or have anxiety


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