Adult ADHD: Symptom, Diagnosis and Treatment

According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 5% of children are diagnosed with the attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), and about half of them have these symptoms even in adulthood. If left undiagnosed and untreated on time, ADHD can lead to serious mental and physical problems making it very difficult for the affected person and their families as well to lead a normal everyday life. It is very important to get to know the signs of ADHD in the adulthood, so the affected person can get the right treatment needed.

What Are the Symptoms of Adult ADHD?

A person dealing with ADHD may have a hard time to concentrate, finish the work on time, follow directions, organize tasks and even remember information. All of these have a great impact on a normal daily life functioning when it comes to work and social life. Getting the right treatment and help can make a big difference.

ADHD in adults can lead to:

  • Mood swings
  • Low self-esteem
  • Chronic boredom
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Difficulties concentrating
  • Impulsiveness
  • Difficulties controlling anger
  • Poor organization skills
  • Being constantly late
  • Forgetting things
  • Relationship problems
  • Problems at work

As every person is different, ADHD among adults is different. In some people, the above-mentioned signs and symptoms may have a great impact, while in others they can have no problems at all, or just from time to time on specific situations.

Problems at School

ADHD can cause several problems at school, such as:

  • Getting in trouble constantly
  • Underachievement
  • Repeating a grade
  • Dropping out of school

Problems at Work

ADHD can cause several problems at work, such as:

  • Poor performance at work
  • Changing jobs constantly
  • Not successful at work
  • Not being happy with a job

Problems in Life

ADHD in adults can cause several problems in life, such as:

  • Cigarette smoking
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Drug abuse
  • Having less money
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Having more problems with the law

Relationship Problems

ADHD can cause several relationship problems such as:

  • Having problems in a marriage
  • Getting a divorce more often
  • Getting separated
  • Getting married a couple of times

Getting a Diagnosis

If you think that you or someone you know have ADHD in adulthood, it is necessary to get diagnosed as soon as possible and get the right treatment in order to be able to have a normal life as much as possible. However, it is good to know that diagnosing ADHD among adults is not an easy task as certain signs and symptoms of ADHD such as depression, anxiety, poor concentration, relationship problems, etc., can have other causes as well.

There is no single test or examination that can help make the diagnosis of ADHD in adults. But, getting a diagnosis for ADHD in adulthood will require a complete physical examination which will help rule out any other possible causes of certain signs and symptoms a person is experiencing, a detailed personal history including information about family history, personal history, relationships, work, etc., psychological tests which will help evaluate any information about the signs, as well as ADHD rating scales.

How Is Adult ADHD Treated?

Once the right diagnosis is made, adult ADHD is treated with medications, education, psychological counseling, and training. These treatments when combined together, can help relieve many signs and symptoms of ADHD, but can never cure them. As everyone is different, it will take some time for you and your healthcare provider to determine what works best for you.


  • Medications commonly used for the treatment of adult ADHD include stimulants like amphetamine or methylphenidate. These stimulants work by regulating the levels of various neurotransmitters in the brain.
  • Other medications often prescribed for adult ADHD are certain antidepressants, nonstimulant atomoxetine, etc.

As everyone is unique you and your healthcare provider should work closely together to determine the right medications and dosage needed. Also, don’t forget to ask any side effects that you can possibly experience when using these medications for the treatment of ADHD.

Psychological Counseling

Once diagnosed with ADHD in adulthood, it is very important to get educated about this disorder and to learn how to best deal with it. For this purpose, psychological counseling is needed so a person can learn skills which can help deal with ADHD signs and symptoms on a daily basis. Psychological counseling is beneficial in many ways, such as:

  • Improve a person’s self-esteem.
  • Learn how to reduce impulsivity.
  • Learn how to manage anger better.
  • Learn how to better manage time.
  • Learn how to better organize things.
  • Learn how to have a better relationship with your family, friends, co-workers.

Common types of psychological counseling used when treating ADHD in adults include:

  • Family therapy and marital counseling – which will help a person diagnosed with ADHD in adulthood improve their relationship to family and partner, as well as, teach other family members how to deal with a person suffering from ADHD
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy – which will help a person diagnosed with ADHD in adulthood to learn specific skills necessary in daily life, as well as, to manage certain signs and symptoms of this disorder which have a great impact in school, work, at home, etc.

Lifestyle and Home Remedies

Besides, certain following tips might be very helpful:

  • Make a list of things you need to do each day.
  • Use checklists if needed and make sure not to try to do many things in just one day.
  • Write notes to yourself using sticky pads so you remember important things you need to do every day.
  • Keep an appointment book so you know your schedules in advance.
  • Note things that need to be remembered by always carrying a notebook with you.
  • Take your time to organize information that is important to you.
  • Follow a routine on a daily basis so you don’t get confused.
  • Lead a healthy life by eating well and being physically active.
  • Sleep well as rest is something everybody needs.
  • Get all the help you need from your family members, friends, and co-workers. 
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