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A Quick Guide to ADHD in Adults

Updated on March 13, 2016

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is characterized by problems with hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity.


Symptoms are usually seen early in childhood, and are usually observed in conditions which require sustained attention, such as in school and in play. ADHD is diagnosed when symptoms are persistent and impairing in at least two different settings (e.g. at home, in school and in the clinic)

Other characteristics associated with ADHD are short attention span and easy distractedness. Children with ADHD may have difficulties following instructions and may need extra help from parents and teachers.

They may act impulsively and exhibit explosive, irritable behavior and emotional instability. Because of problems in attention and behavior, learning difficulties may also be present. They may often be seen as loud, brash children who cannot wait for their turn. Difficulties with other children may occur due to their need to always be the best. These special challenges may lead to self-esteem issues and mood problems.

ADHD Into Adulthood

ADHD symptoms remit in 50 percent of cases. However, the other half may continue to have symptoms through adulthood. Adults with ADHD may be viewed as engaging individuals, who may have difficulties at work and with relationships due to their restlessness and risk-taking behaviors. They may be able to focus well on their interests but neglect other essentials. Literature supports a strong hereditary link in ADHD. Many parents of children with ADHD often admit to experiencing ADHD symptoms in the past and even at present.

Much of what we know now regarding Adult ADHD is extrapolated from literature regarding ADHD in children. The diagnosis of adult ADHD requires a retrospective diagnosis of ADHD in childhood, coupled with evidence of current impairment from symptoms in adulthood. The symptoms of ADHD may be more difficult to recognize in adults than in children as they are usually attenuated with the problem of markedly decreased or nonexistent hyperactivity. However, the problems with attention and impulse control usually persist.

These symptoms may predispose an individual to rash decision-making and accident-prone event. These may also result in greater challenges at the school and work environment. Patients who experience partial remission are more susceptible to exhibit antisocial behavior, substance abuse, and mood disorders.


The comprehensive management of ADHD in adults usually involves pharmacologic and non-pharmacological interventions, best handled by a mental health. Pharmacotherapy may include the use of central nervous system stimulants that may improve attention span and decrease impulsive tendencies. Other drugs may be used to treat co-morbid psychiatric problems such as depression. Non-pharmacologic interventions include social skills training, occupational therapy, and individual psychotherapy.

If you or someone that you know has the possibilities for ADD, then read on for some more tips.

  1. Do your research. Go online and look under, Attention Deficit Disorder, and see if the symptoms or signs are that of people with ADD.
  2. Consult a doctor, or two, and have the person checked for ADD.
  3. Some signs are: The person is easily distracted, cannot concentrate, or hyper active (especially in a child.) There are more signs, so make sure to check with a doctor if you suspect that these symptoms are that of ADD.
  4. Dont diagnose any symptom(s) yourself. A medical professional can do testing to find out exactly what it is.

So that you're readily prepared, and dont forget any details, write these symptoms down on a sheet of paper, and take it with you when you go to see the doctor. Even if your instincts are telling you that it's ADD, do not take or prescribe any medications yourself.


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