ADHD in adults is a reality: Guide to understand its symptoms

ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders affecting humans. The main reason that we are using the term humans is that in most cases we tend to associate ADHD with children and not with adults. In general terms, we associate ADHD with children who face issues in focusing on their studies and everyday activities. However, this disorder is more than just a lack of focus. It also comes with other, associated symptoms including hyperactivity, distractions, stress, and lack of organization. Although the onset of this disorder is likely to hit during childhood, ADHD can continue into adulthood. If left untreated, ADHD can lead to some serious consequences. 

What is ADHD?

ADHD, standing for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a common but complex brain disorder. It affects approximately 10% of children and 6% of adults in the US. Unlike other neurodevelopmental disorders, ADHD is developmental and affects the brain’s executive functions. The symptoms of ADHD in adults may include trouble with impulse control, lack of focus, high level of distraction, and so on. 

When dealing with ADHD it is essential to burst out some myths and prevalent misconceptions like

– ADHD is a behaviour problem

– People with ADHD are lazy

– ADHD is a specific learning disorder

– It is a form of mental illness

– Adults cannot have ADHD

Since these are complete misbeliefs, you should not believe in them while dealing with people with ADHD and offering them intervention services. 

ADHD in adults- the reality

Leading psychiatrists explain ADHD can affect adults and it is crucial to diagnose its symptoms to make life easy. Although we often link ADHD with children and focus on providing them with early interventions, the truth is that one may never outgrow ADHD and can suffer from it in their adulthood. ADHD in adults is a reality and it is necessary to know about it. People may find adults with ADHD unable to focus, think straight, and organise. It is really easy to label them as lazy people. But in reality, things are different.

Adults with ADHD may find themselves doing entirely different things, like getting stressed easily, having racing thoughts and not being able to relax. They may know that they are suffering beyond what most people occasionally do, but it generally gets hard for them to express their feelings to others. It may also be difficult for them to come to terms with the ADHD symptoms. 

Adult ADHD symptoms- evaluate them

We often overlook Adult ADHD symptoms and keep suffering. This disorder shows its warning signs during childhood, and it can be easier to understand the symptoms of ADHD in children. If seen overall, ADHD in adults can show signs like the following-

– Poor time management

– Impulsive

– Exaggerated emotions

– Hyperfocus

– Lack of focus

– Hyperactivity

– Inattentive

But if we delve deep and analyse further and get to the hidden part of the iceberg, we would find different symptoms for different types of ADHD. So, let’s take a deep dive.

Type of ADHD and its symptoms 

According to DSM- V, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can be categorised into three types, namely 

1. Primarily Hyperactive- impulsive type

2. Primarily inattentive type

3. Primarily combined type

Primarily Hyperactive- impulsive type– This type of ADHD is characterised mainly by hyperactivity and impulsivity. Adults with this hyperactivity may show the following symptoms.

–       Restlessness: Adults with hyperactivity and impulsiveness may be restless. They may find it difficult to sit in one place for a long time. Fidgeting is also something that may come with restlessness. 

–      Excessive Talking: You may also find people with hyperactivity blurting out excessively. They may also interrupt discussions without considering the consequences. The impulsiveness in them may prevent them from delaying gratification.

–      Inattentive: Lack of attention is another predominant symptom in adults with hyperactivity and impulsivity. They may find it difficult to pay attention to situations that require continued concentration or mental effort.

–      Impulsive: Being impulsive is also very common. People with this subtype of ADHD can find it hard to control their impulsive behaviour and act as they wish, without thinking about the consequences. They may also find it hard to act in a planned way. 

Primarily inattentive type– This subtype of ADHD is much similar to other presentations of ADHD except that is preliminarily characterised by the presence of lack of attention. The following may define it better.

–        Lack of focus: Adults with predominantly inattentive types may show signs of lack of focus and sustained attention. To be precise, people may face issues while attending lectures, lengthy meetings, or conversations. 

–        Forgetfulness: Forgetfulness can be a daily issue. Life can seem challenging with the lack of the ability to remember even the smallest everyday thing like doing regular chores, keeping appointments, etc. 

–       Easily distracted: Lack of focus may lead to easy distraction. You may find people with this subtype of ADHD to remain distracted and they may not seem to listen when spoken to directly. Their mind may seem to be somewhere else. 

–    Disorganised: Adults with ADHD may have challenging experiences in the context of organizing things in their lives. They often find it difficult to keep things organised in a single place, keep track of the regular tasks and logically prioritise activities. 

Primarily combined type– This subtype of ADHD is characterised by both- problems regulating attention as well as hyperactivity-impulsivity. All the eight symptoms that we have mentioned above can be found in adults with the combined type of ADHD.

The bottom line

If the description of adult ADHD presented here, along with the symptoms, resonate with you, it is suggested that to carry on further evaluation. Seeking help from a registered psychiatrist or specialist for proper diagnosis and early intervention can prove helpful in making positive differences in your life. 

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