Learn About Symptoms of Adult ADHD

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"Adult ADHD seems to be minimized a lot, but I am wondering if I have it. What are some of the problems and symptoms commonly associated with ADHD in adults?" 


Symptoms of adult ADHD are real! ADHD affects an estimated 4 to 5% of the adult population, representing more than 11 million adults in the United States alone. Unfortunately, many people continue to incorrectly assume that ADHD is strictly a childhood condition that is always outgrown as the child matures.

The fact is as many as two thirds of children who have ADHD continue to have symptoms into adulthood. Often these symptoms are misunderstood or attributed to other factors. To confuse the issue further, symptoms can change and present differently throughout the lifespan.

Unfortunately, it is also true that many adults have struggled with ADHD throughout their life never having been diagnosed as a child. As an adult, the unrecognized ADHD continues to impair important aspects of daily life – relationships, school, work, parenting – yet it may not be obvious what is causing the obstacles. Slowly the general public is becoming more and more aware of the existence of adult ADHD. If you are concerned that you may have adult ADHD, talk with your doctor or do some research to find specialists in your area who are experienced in assessing and treating adult ADHD. Below is a listing of some problems and symptoms commonly associated with adult ADHD.

List of Symptoms Commonly Associated with Adult ADHD

  • Easily distracted by extraneous stimuli or irrelevant thoughts, difficulty remaining focused
  • Tends to make careless mistakes, fails to give close attention to details
  • Procrastinates excessively, avoids or has trouble getting started on tasks
  • Once started on tasks has problems with follow-through, quickly loses focus and is easily sidetracked, trouble sticking with and completing tasks
  • Difficulty getting things in order when has to do a task that requires organization
  • Disorganized in daily life, difficulty keeping belongings in order, messy
  • Often loses or misplaces things
  • Poor time management skills, frequently late, fails to meet deadlines
  • Fails to follow through on promises or commitments made to others, is frequently forgetful in daily activities
  • Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly, mind seems elsewhere, even in the absence of any obvious distraction, daydreamy
  • Says or does things without thinking, makes decisions impulsively
  • Difficulty engaging in leisure activities or doing fun things quietly, more likely to drive a car much faster than others, excessive speeding
  • Feels a sense of internal restlessness or discomfort, fidgety, needs to move around
  • Excessively talkative, interrupts or intrudes on others, butts into conversations
  • Uncomfortable doing things slowly and systematically, often rushes through activities or tasks
  • Impatient, difficulty awaiting turn

Please be aware that an accurate diagnosis can only be made by a trained professional.

If you are concerned that you may have adult ADHD, talk to your doctor. To learn more about finding help go to Finding Help for Adult ADHD.

Learn more about Testing for Adult ADHD


Lenard Adler, M.D., Scattered Minds: Hope and Help for Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Perigee – Penguin Group. 2006.

Russell A. Barkley, Ph.D.; Kevin R. Murphy, Ph.D.; Mariellen Fischer, Ph.D.; ADHD in Adults: What the Science Says. The Guilford Press, 2008.

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