December 11, 2021
When you read something about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the first image that is likely to come to mind is a child, probably a boy, getting in trouble at school because he just can’t seem to stay seated. While it’s true that boys are three times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with ADHD, that’s because boys usually display different symptoms, such as acting out which causes problems at school and at home. Girls suffer from ADHD as well, but in many girls the only symptom is inattentiveness and excessive daydreaming. Because these girls are not disrupting activities, they tend to get diagnosed much later than boys.
What a lot of people don’t understand is that adults can suffer from ADHD as well. Adult symptoms are not usually seen as being ADHD and may be simply dismissed as the person being messy or constantly late. But adult ADHD can cause real problems for adults who have it, ranging from employment woes to relationship problems.
So what are the symptoms of adult ADHD? Here are seven signs to keep in mind. It’s important to realize that just because you have some of these symptoms, this does not necessarily mean you have ADHD. If you do think you, or a loved one, may be suffering from ADHD, get an evaluation by a mental health professional trained in this area. With that said, here’s what to look for:
One - Chronic Lateness.
Adults with ADHD struggle to be on time, as they greatly underestimate the time it will take them to complete a task. Also, because they are highly distractible, they may get sidetracked as they are doing a task and go off in another direction.
Two - Disorganization
This is much more than a cluttered desk or a messy room. Adults with ADHD may have problems organizing bills to be paid on time or trying to juggle multiple job responsibilities, as deficits in organizational skills impact adults much more than children.
Three - Poor Attention and Listening Skills
This can lead to a lot of problems, including spacing out in important meetings, forgetting appointments or even not remembering to pick up your child after school.
Four - Unable to Relax
Unlike some children with ADHD who are constantly “bouncing off the walls,” adults with ADHD may find themselves with a low level of restlessness and just not being able to relax.
Five - Procrastination
Nearly everyone has problems with putting things off from time to time, especially if the task is disagreeable, but for adults who have ADHD, chronic procrastination can be a real problem. This usually involves tasks which require a lot of attention, which is not surprising, seeing that distractibility is also a big problem.
Six - Traffic Accidents
Because adults with ADHD have problems focusing completely on a task, having to drive for long distances or in heavy traffic can be difficult, as this requires a level of sustained attention. Adults with ADHD frequently collect traffic tickets and may even lose their driver’s licenses.
Seven - Prone to Angry Outbursts
Adults with ADHD often have difficulty controlling their emotions and are quick to “flip their lids” over minor issues. Often, their emotions will build to a crescendo then subside as quickly as they arose, leaving the people who were on the receiving end of their anger baffled.
Could you have all seven symptoms and not have adult ADHD? Absolutely yes. But if you do have some, or all, of these symptoms and they are causing major disruptions in your life, such as relationship problems, losing your driver’s license or even your job, please consider seeing a competent mental health professional to get a proper diagnosis. There is a lot that can be done to help!