Understanding Adult ADHD Symptoms

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, more commonly known as ADHD, is usually associated with children. And given the statistics, it's no surprise: The condition affects up to 9 percent of school-age children, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

But ADHD also affects adults, many of whom are unaware that they have the disorder. Oftentimes, they can't seem to get organized, keep a job, or stay on schedule, but they don't know why. In fact, many ADHD adults have shown signs of the disease since childhood, but were never diagnosed.

Common ADHD Symptoms

It's not always easy to pinpoint ADHD in adults, but spotting the symptoms is the first step toward finding the right treatment. According to experts, some of the more common symptoms of ADHD include:


  • forgetfulness
  • difficulty adhering to a schedule
  • speaking without thinking
  • rapid-fire speech
  • insecurity and self-esteem issues

Diagnosis and Treatment Options

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an adult must have childhood-onset, persistent, and current symptoms to be diagnosed with ADHD. A diagnosis of adult ADHD should be made by a medical professional with expertise in the area of attention dysfunction.

For an accurate diagnosis, a history of the patient's childhood behavior, together with an interview with his or her life partner, a parent, close friend, or other close associate, will be needed. In addition, a physical examination and psychological tests should also be given.

As with children, adults with ADHD may start treatment with medication or antidepressants. Education and psychotherapy have also been shown to be successful in treating adult ADHD. As with any condition, be sure to discuss treatment options with your doctor to determine the best choice for you.