Living with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be challenging for adults, especially when their symptoms go undiagnosed. But while the common signs of ADHD in children are often easier to spot than in adults, there are still clear indicators that indicate a person is struggling with it – making the proper diagnosis and subsequent treatment vital for managing ADHD as an adult.
In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the key signs of ADHD in adults and ways to identify them. We’ll also provide resources on where you can find more information and support if you suspect you or someone else may have adult ADHD.
Adult ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects millions of people around the world.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is not just a childhood disorder, but also affects adults. ADHD in adults is often characterised by things like inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and difficulty with organising and managing tasks.
It is estimated that up to 5% of adults may be affected by ADHD, but many are still undiagnosed and untreated due to not recognising the signs and symptoms.
Let’s take a deeper dive into the symptoms and signs of ADHD in adults:
Adults with ADHD often have difficulty focusing on things for extended periods of time. This is one of the most common symptoms of ADHD in adults.
It can make it extremely challenging to complete tasks at work or school, or even to carry out everyday activities at home such as housework and chores.
Adults with ADHD can often find themselves easily distracted by external things, such as conversations, phones ringing or even things happening outside the window.
Internal thoughts can also be a source of distraction, such as an unrelated idea popping up in the middle of a work task.
Adults with ADHD often show symptoms of inattention or hyperactivity that can be detrimental to their professional lives.
One of the most common signs of adult ADHD is being easily distracted by anything happening around them. Individuals with ADHD can find it hard to focus on a task or conversation for an extended period, as their attention is constantly shifting towards external things.
This lack of concentration can cause issues in various areas of their lives, from difficulties completing assignments or work tasks to relational problems with friends and family.
People with adult ADHD may appear forgetful, lose interest in activities they normally enjoy, or struggle to listen and focus during conversations.
One of the most commonly overlooked signs of ADHD in adults is difficulty with organisation.
Adults with ADHD often struggle with time management, prioritising tasks, and following through on commitments, which can lead to missed deadlines, forgotten appointments, and a general chaotic lifestyle.
Additionally, disorganisation is a staple symptom of ADHD, with many adults struggling to maintain tidy spaces or keep track of their belongings.
A common symptom that is often overlooked is difficulty sticking to commitments or promises made.
Adults suffering with ADHD may struggle with organising their thoughts and priorities, leading to difficulty completing tasks or fulfilling promises.
This can come in many forms, such as forgetting a task, or simply being able to give a task attention for long enough to actually get it done.
For people with ADHD, this can lead to high levels of both stress and anxiety. They may feel guilty or ashamed about not being able to fulfil promises. It can also lead to strained relationships with loved ones or work colleagues who may struggle to understand why the individual struggles to keep to their commitments
It is crucial to note that while difficulty following through on commitments is a common symptom of ADHD, it does not necessarily mean that an individual has the condition. However, if you or someone you know exhibits this symptom along with other ADHD symptoms, it may be worth exploring the possibility of an ADHD assessment.
One of the most prominent symptoms of adult ADHD is a tendency to overreact or become frustrated with minor issues.
This can manifest in a variety of ways, such as getting angry or agitated over a small mistake, being easily annoyed by others, or feeling overwhelmed when faced with multiple tasks.
Adults with ADHD may also struggle with impulse control, leading to impulsive decisions or behaviours that can be harmful or risky.
Another prominent sign of ADHD in adults is low self-esteem.
Self-esteem is the opinion one has of themself. When we have healthy self esteem, we feel positive about ourselves, our abilities and life in general.
Someone with adult ADHD can often feel frustrated, humiliated, demoralised and discouraged from constant failures despite their best efforts.
This can come as a result of not being able to complete tasks or give them full attention, resulting in being penalised or berated for this.
Negative feedback from peers, parents or teachers growing up can lead to internalising negative beliefs about themselves, their capabilities and their worth. Internal negativity can significantly lower an adult with ADHD’s self esteem.
Emotional dysregulation is the inability of a person to control or regulate their emotional responses.
When someone is suffering from emotional dysregulation, they may have:
People with emotional dysregulation may also abuse substances like drugs or alcohol.
Emotional dysregulation is a significant symptom for many adults with ADHD. Adults with ADHD can experience fluctuating and intense emotions, often in response to very small things.
For someone with ADHD, the emotional response can be much more intense, last much longer and be much harder to control compared to an individual without ADHD.
Hyperactivity is when someone may seem to move constantly, including in situations when it may not be appropriate.
Movements can come in forms of fidgets, taps, leg shakes or excessively talking.
Hyperactivity is an extremely prominent ADHD symptom in adults. Adults with ADHD often experience a persistent sense of restlessness, and struggle to stay still for extended periods of time. They often feel an internal urge to move, fidget or shift positions.
Some adults with ADHD may talk excessively, or interrupt others during conversations, which can lead to arguments or a breakdown in relationships.
Hyperactivity can also extend beyond physical movements. Adults with ADHD can experience a racing mind, which means their thoughts often jump from one thing to another, making it extremely difficult for them to focus on one task at a time.
Impaired impulse control is a significant symptom of ADHD in adults. It means they have difficulty stopping themselves from engaging in certain behaviours which can include:
Adults with ADHD often act without thinking, as they act on impulses and don’t think about the potential consequences of what they are doing. They may engage in impulsive behaviour such as making impulsive decisions/purchases, thinking out-loud or taking risks.
For people suffering with ADHD, fighting off these urges can be next to impossible. Poor impulse control can result in regrets, financial difficulty, injuries, addictions or broken relationships.
Forgetfulness is another prominent symptom of ADHD in adults. They often find it difficult remembering:
If someone is suffering with ADHD as an adult, they may find that they are constantly misplacing things such as your keys, wallet or mobile phone. This can lead to frustration and disruption to your daily life.
They may also find that they find it difficult to remember instructions, leading to errors and the need for constant reminders. This also applies to conversations with friends or loved ones, people with ADHD may struggle to recall information from a conversation they had 10 minutes before.
If the symptoms above relate to you, contact us.
For more information on how you can get diagnosed with ADHD, check out our blog – How to get diagnosed with ADHD