12 Signs of Adult ADD/ADHD

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  • Symptoms of Adult ADD/ADHD

    Symptoms of Adult ADD/ADHD

    ADD/ADHD affects about five percent of children and more than half of them will carry those symptoms into adulthood (CDC, 2011). In addition, many adults have ADD/ADHD but have never been diagnosed.

    Untreated ADD/ADHD can cause numerous mental and physical health problems, difficulties with work and finances, and can put a strain on relationships. It’s important to recognize the signs of adult ADD/ADHD so that you can get proper treatment. Click "next" to learn the symptoms of adult ADD/ADHD.

  • Lack of Focus

    Lack of Focus

    Possibly the most telltale sign of ADD/ADHD, “lack of focus” goes beyond difficulty paying attention. It means being easily distracted, finding it difficult to listen to others in a conversation, overlooking details, and not finishing work or projects.

    The flip side to that is hyper-focus, which is explained on the next slide. 

  • Hyper-focus


    While people with ADD/ADHD are often easily distractible, the flip side of the coin is called hyper-focus. While engaged in an activity they like, a person with ADD/ADHD can be so engrossed in something that they are ignorant to anything else around them. This kind of focus makes it easier to lose track of time, ignore those around you, and cause relationship problems.

  • Disorganization


    Life can seem chaotic for everyone at times, but someone with ADD/ADHD experiences a more hectic life on a regular basis. This can make it difficult to keep everything in its right place. You may have problems with time management, keeping track of tasks, procrastination, chronic lateness, and prioritizing. 

  • Forgetfulness


    It’s human to forget things occasionally, but for someone with ADD/ADHD,forgetfulness is a part of life. This includes routinely forgetting where you’ve put something or important dates. Some can be menial, while others can be serious. The bottom line is that forgetfulness can be damaging to careers and relationships because it can be confused with carelessness.

  • Impulsivity


    Impulsivity in someone with ADD/ADHD can manifest as interrupting others during conversation, being socially inappropriate, rushing through tasks, or acting without much consideration to the consequences.

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

  • Emotional Problems

    Emotional Problems

    Life with ADD/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 effect, which can add complications to personal and professional relationships. 

  • Poor Self-image

    Poor Self-image

    Adults with ADD/ADHD are often hypercritical of themselves, which can lead to a poor self-image. This is due in part of their inability to concentrate and other symptoms that may cause problems in school, work, or relationships. You may view these difficulties as personal failures or underachievement, which can cause you to see yourself in a negative light.

  • Lack of Motivation

    Lack of Motivation

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

  • Restlessness & Anxiety

    Restlessness & Anxiety

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

  • Health Problems

    Health Problems

    Impulsivity, lack of motivation, emotional problems, and disorganization can lead a person with ADD/ADHD to neglect their health. This can be compulsive poor eating, neglecting exercise, or forgoing important medication. (Nutrition Reviews, 2007) Anxiety and stress negatively affect health, so without good habits, the negative effects ofADD/ADHD can make other symptoms worse.

  • Relationship Issues

    Relationship Issues

    An adult with ADD/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 Symptoms

    Other common traits among adults with ADD/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?

    What’s Next?

    Adults with ADD/ADHD can find solutions to overcome the difficulties of their condition. Getting organized, sticking with plans, and finishing what you started can begin with cognitive behavioral therapy or 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 the challenges it faces.

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