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3/27/2017 12 Signs of Adult ADD/ADHD

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12 Signs of Adult ADHD


Written by The Healthline Editorial Team and Rena Goldman
Medically Reviewed by

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 Overview Lack of Focus Hyperfocus Disorganization Forgetfulness Impulsivity 

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Symptoms of Adult ADHD
Attention de䟪�cit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) a៛�ects about 5 percent of children and about half of them will carry
those symptoms into adulthood, says the American Psychiatric Association. The Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention estimates numbers are even higher in smaller community samples. On top of that, many adults have
ADHD but have never been diagnosed.

Untreated ADHD can cause numerous mental and physical problems that can put a strain on relationships and
cause diុ�culties in many aspects of everyday life. It’s important to recognize the signs of adult ADHD so you can get
proper treatment. Keep reading to learn about the symptoms.

Lack of Focus
Possibly the most telltale sign of ADHD, “lack of focus” goes beyond diុ�culty paying attention. It means being easily
distracted, 䟪�nding it hard to listen to others in a conversation, overlooking details, and not completing tasks or
projects. The 䶀�ip side to that is hyperfocus. 

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Hyperfocus
While people with ADHD are often easily distractible, the 䶀�ip side of the coin is called hyperfocus. A person with
ADHD can be so engrossed in something that they can ignore anything else around them. This kind of focus makes
it easier to lose track of time, ignore those around you, and cause relationship misunderstandings. 

Disorganization
Life can seem chaotic for everyone at times. But someone with ADHD experiences a more hectic life on a regular
basis. This can make it diុ�cult to keep everything in its right place. A person with ADHD may struggle with these
organizational skills:

time management
keeping track of tasks
prioritizing in a logical manner
timeliness

Forgetfulness
It’s human to forget things occasionally. But for someone with ADHD, forgetfulness is an everyday part of life. This
includes routinely forgetting where you’ve put something or important dates. Some can be menial. Others can be
serious. The bottom line is that forgetfulness can be damaging to careers and relationships because it can be
confused with carelessness or lack of intelligence.

Impulsivity
Impulsiveness in someone with ADHD can manifest in several ways:

interrupting others during conversation


being socially inappropriate
rushing through tasks
acting without much consideration to the consequences

A person’s shopping habits are often a good indication of ADHD. Impulse buying, especially on items they can’t
a៛�ord, is a common symptom of adult ADHD.

Emotional Problems
Life with ADHD can seem chaotic, as though your emotions are on a constantly up-and-down journey. You can
easily become bored and go looking for excitement on a whim. Small frustrations can seem intolerable or bring on
depression and mood swings.

Untreated emotional problems can have a polarizing e៛�ect, which can add complications to personal
and professional relationships. 

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3/27/2017 12 Signs of Adult ADD/ADHD

Poor Self-Image
ADHD  Topics & Tools  Newsletter
Adults with ADHD are often hypercritical of themselves. This can lead to a poor self-image. This is due in part to
their inability to concentrate and other symptoms that may cause problems in school, work, or relationships. They
may view these diុ�culties as personal failures or underachievement, which can cause them to see themselves in a
negative light.

Lack of Motivation
While you might be open to doing everything at once, you also may feel unmotivated. This is a problem commonly
seen in children with ADHD who often can’t focus on schoolwork. It can also happen with adults. Coupled with
procrastination and poor organizational skills, it may be diុ�cult for an adult with ADHD to 䟪�nish a project because
they can’t focus for long periods of time. 

Restlessness and Anxiety


As an adult with ADHD, you may feel like your motor can’t shut o៛�. Your yearning to keep moving and doing things
can lead to frustration when you can’t do something immediately. This leads to restlessness, which can lead to
frustrations and anxiety. Anxiety is a very common symptom of adult ADHD, as the mind tends to replay worrisome
events repeatedly.

Health Problems
Impulsivity, lack of motivation, emotional problems, and disorganization can lead a person with ADHD to neglect
their health. This can be seen through compulsive poor eating, neglecting exercise, or forgoing important
medication. Anxiety and stress negatively a៛�ect health, so without good habits, the negative e៛�ects of ADHD can
make other symptoms worse. 

Relationship Issues
An adult with ADHD often has trouble in relationships, whether they are professional, romantic, or platonic. The
traits of talking over people in conversation, inattentiveness, and easily being bored can be draining on
relationships as a person can come across as insensitive, irresponsible, or uncaring.

Other Symptoms
Other common traits among adults with ADHD include:

changing employers often


few personal or work-related achievements
higher use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs
repeated patterns of relationship issues, including divorce

What’s Next?
Adults with ADHD can 䟪�nd solutions to overcome the diុ�culties of their condition. Getting organized, sticking with
plans, and 䟪�nishing what you started can begin with cognitive behavioral therapy or by meeting with a professional
organizer. 

It’s important to learn how to manage stress, eat right, and get enough sleep regularly so that your body is best
equipped to handle challenges.

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