What Does ADHD Look Like in Adults? The Main Signs and Symptoms

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People often think of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as something that primarily affects young children, given that doctors typically diagnose it during schooling years. However, millions of adults struggle through the same symptoms with minimal support. So, what does ADHD look like in adults?

Understanding the common ADHD symptoms in adults can help you understand when to seek support. At Crescent City Psychiatric, we provide comprehensive psychiatry services allowing us to diagnose ADHD and offer treatment options. Continue reading to learn about how ADHD affects adults. 

Understanding How ADHD Impacts Adults

ADHD is a chronic condition that typically begins during childhood causing hyperactivity, compulsiveness, and attention challenges. While the condition often begins in childhood, many people with ADHD may not receive their diagnosis until later because of a lack of awareness surrounding the condition. Even if you are diagnosed as a child, the condition may persist into adulthood, with 60% of ADHD children still experiencing symptoms as they reach adulthood. 

ADHD Symptoms in Adults

ADHD symptoms in adults break down into the following categories:

·      Inattention: Inattention often goes overlooked as many don’t fully understand this symptom’s signifiers. Inattention may look like forgetting things easily, procrastinating, frequently losing your keys, struggling to listen to others, difficulty completing tasks, making careless errors, and spacing out. 

·      Hyperactivity: Hyperactivity can feel like displaced mental energy. Signifiers of hyperactivity include feeling restless, constantly fidgeting, struggling with impatience, and having minimal tolerance when frustrated. 

·      Impulsivity: Impulsivity is a lack of behavioral or emotional self-control, causing people to act without thinking. Impulsive behaviors often include interrupting others during conversations, rushing through jobs, driving recklessly, impulse buying, and talking excessively. 

Underlying Feelings That Adults With ADHD Often Experience

Answering the question “What does ADHD look like in adults?” requires going beyond textbook symptoms and definitions. Many adults may recognize their symptoms but brush them off as personality traits or environmental reactions. To understand how ADHD affects everyday life, let’s look at some real-world examples. 

Adults with ADHD often experience the following:

·      Relationship concerns due to inattentiveness or the lack of ability to listen during conversations

·      Complications with holding a job because of disorganization and procrastination

·      Relationship misunderstandings with family members when they become hyper-focused on other life matters

·      Time management struggles, causing them to be late for important meetings and events

·      A negative self-image resulting from the symptoms

·      Ongoing feelings of guilt or blame regarding their actions

·      Additional psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety or depression

·      Substance abuse as a means of self-medication

ADHD Prevalence in Adults

ADHD has numerous causes, including genetics, environmental factors, and developmental complications. Over 10 million adults have ADHD, though fewer than one in five (20%) have received a diagnosis for their condition, based on estimates. On average, only 25% of ADHD-diagnosed adults seek treatment for their condition. 

Despite its prevalence, the condition lacks enough widespread information for the average adult to seek treatment when necessary. Understanding common signs can help you learn when to find help. 

Adult ADHD Testing and Treatment Options

Healthcare providers typically use various screening protocols to diagnose ADHD in adults. You will likely go through detailed interviews discussing your current symptoms, symptoms during childhood, and symptoms relating to other mental health conditions. 

Treatment for ADHD depends on your symptoms’ severity. Your provider may recommend cognitive behavioral therapy to help you learn healthy habits or medication. 

Seek Professional Help for Your Symptoms Today

Now that you know the answer to “What does ADHD look like in adults?” it’s time to take your first step toward a brighter future. If you think you may have ADHD, schedule a psychiatric evaluation with our certified professionals at Crescent City Psychiatric to begin receiving the support and treatment you need. Call Crescent City Psychiatric in Metairie, LA, today at (985) 249-1322 to schedule your ADHD evaluation appointment.