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Symptoms of ADHD in Adults

Wondering If You Have Adult ADHD?


Updated May 27, 2014

Symptoms of ADHD in Adults

The primary symptoms of ADHD include inattention,impulsivity and/or hyperactivity, but these areas of difficulty can present very differently from person to person and across the lifespan.

Photo © Mel Curtis

Many people incorrectly assume that attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (often referred to as ADD or ADHD) is a childhood condition only. Symptoms of ADHD often continue into adulthood, however, and left untreated these symptoms can negatively impact daily activities and wreak havoc on relationships and work situations. Many people attribute their struggles to stress or the fast-paced world of today, when instead they may be symptoms of undiagnosed ADHD.

Is ADD the Same as ADHD?

Can ADHD Develop in Adulthood?


If you think you may have ADHD, ask yourself the following questions.


  • get distracted easily?
  • have difficulty concentrating on one thing at a time?
  • tend to be disorganized?
  • have a hard time focusing or paying attention during conversations, listening to others, or while reading?
  • often forget things like appointments or obligations?
  • have trouble following directions that have multiple steps?
  • have difficulty starting and finishing projects?
  • tend to procrastinate?
  • have trouble prioritizing information?
  • become impatient easily?
  • often feel restless and antsy?
  • lose track of time and have trouble with time management?
  • often misplace or have difficulty finding things at home or at work?
  • act before thinking through consequences?
  • speak or blurt out before thinking about the impact your words will have on others?
  • tend to have lots of distracting thoughts?
  • get bored easily?
  • tend to make careless mistakes when you have to work on a tedious or difficult project?
  • take risks frequently?

If you answered "yes" to the majority of these questions and the behaviors are severe enough that they interfere with your daily activities, it is possible that you have ADHD. An accurate diagnosis can only be made by a trained professional. Depression, bipolar disorder, substance addictions, anxiety, phobias - all may share some similar symptoms to ADHD, so it is important that your doctor rule out other conditions that require different treatment.

Read more about:
Symptoms Commonly Associated with Adult ADHD
Finding Help for Adult ADHD

Set up an appointment with a doctor or other medical professional who is experienced in assessing and treating adult ADHD. Learn more about testing for adult ADHD. Once your are finally accurately diagnosed, you may feel a great sense of relief in finally understanding what has been causing the problematic behaviors and you can move forward with your life through treatment.

Suggested Reading on Adult ADHD:
Diagnosed with Adult ADHD?
Understanding ADHD in Women
Understanding Adult ADHD: Interview with Dr. Lenard Adler
How Might Hyperactivity Present Differently in Adults with ADHD v. Children?


Lenard Adler, MD, Ronald C. Kessler, PhD, Thomas Spencer, MD. Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale Symptom Checklist. World Health Organization and the Workgroup on Adult ADHD.

American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision. Washington, D.C. 2000.

Mark Bowes, PhD. ADHD in Adults: Definition and Diagnosis. Neuropsychiatry Reviews. Feb 2001.

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