While many people are concerned with children exhibiting signs of ADHD, it is possible that many adults have ADHD and don’t even realize it. The fact is that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is just as real for adults as it is children. However, in many cases it is underdiagnosed because we take the signs as a normal part of modern life and the way we are expected to jump from one task to the next, commonly referred to as multitasking.
Below are seven signs and symptoms of ADHD in adults that you might want to look out for in terms of yourself or a loved one.
1. Working too much.
Most people dismiss these people as “workaholics” because they get so wrapped up in a project that they aren’t able to be taken away from it easily. This form of ADHD is referred to as “hyperfocus.” Hyperfocus ADHD works as a coping mechanism which allows people to easily block out various types of distractions and focus on one thing specifically. This should be monitored because it can lead to an obsessive nature and result in other important things not getting done.
While all people are organizationally challenged from time to time, adults with ADHD aren’t usually able to get organized at any time. All of the tasks they need to do seem overwhelming to them and easily frustrates them. A few signs of disorganization in adults with ADHD include arriving late to scheduled events, poor prioritizing of responsibilities and leaving things in out-of-the-ordinary places and not being able to find them, or losing things easily.
3. Becoming angered easily.
Anger is a symptom in children with ADHD as they may frequently have temper tantrums over small things. This is the same for adults with ADHD, however, these “temper tantrums” are described instead as “angry outbursts.” If you aren’t able to let go of anger and your behavior tends to be controlled by it, then you might not really need anger management classes after all. In fact, you may suffer from ADHD.
4. Lack of concentration.
Just like in children with ADHD, adults with this disorder have a hard time concentrating on one thing for any length of time. These people often describe the condition like “having a brain fog.” They find it extremely difficult to concentrate on a task from start to finish as they find their thoughts wandering from topic to topic. One way to deal with this might be to divide up tasks into more manageable smaller sections and help keep track of them all with the help of checklists.
5. Excessive worry.
ADHD can cause people to worry excessively and not be able to put things into perspective. Sometimes the worry becomes so intense that it causes panic attacks and other forms of anxiety and mood disorders. Their thoughts can race through all sorts of negative ‘what ifs’ in an instant and cause them to become paralyzed with fear. Positive self-talk and perhaps even medication can assist them in overcoming anxiety disorders. Just remember that all medications can carry a risk of side effects.
6. Lack of interest.
Those with ADHD become easily bored. This is a common symptom shared by both children and adults with the disorder. This will be particularly true in relation to tasks that they dislike doing. By contrast, they will focus, or hyperfocus, on things they really enjoy.
While a lot of adults feel depressed and seek treatment, many don’t consider the possibility that their depression might stem from the underlying disorder of ADHD.
Depression does accompany ADHD (as well as many other medical conditions) in certain instances. Therefore, if you suddenly start to feel ‘down’ and no longer take an interest in even the things that you used to enjoy, you will want to see a doctor to help determine if you have depression.
Remember that like ADHD, depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a character flaw, so there is no shame involved in seeking treatment for a treatable chemical imbalance.
There are a lot of common signs and symptoms between childhood ADHD and adult ADHD. While some children ‘outgrow’ their condition, or at least learn better ways to cope with their condition, other people never get a definitive diagnosis of ADHD. They just think that being a multitasking workaholic is normal.
Fortunately, we now know more about ADHD than ever before, so if you suspect that you might have ADHD, talk to your doctor about getting assessed, and what treatments might work for you.
For more information on ADHD in children, you might be interested in: