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Think You Might Have Adult ADHD? 10 Key Symptoms


We often hear about parents or teachers struggling with a child who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and can't concentrate or is disruptive in the classroom. Rarely, however, do you hear about an adult with ADHD. However, according to WebMD, those symptoms can last into adulthood. And many adults don't even know that they may have this disorder.

Causes of ADHD

Researchers still aren't sure what causes ADHD. The current assumption is that a combination of genes and environment leads to this disorder.

What distinguishes ADHD from other psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety and depression, is that it begins in childhood. However, many adults were not diagnosed when they were young. As a result, they may have been struggling with this condition all their lives.

10 Symptoms of Adult ADHD

Although adult ADHD symptoms differ from those that occur in children, the same issues (daydreaming, problems concentrating) result in the problems that typify adult ADHD:

Adult ADHD Problem No. 1: Difficulty Getting Organized

Most adults become masters at multi-tasking. They have to pay bills, hold a job, raise children and clean the house. But because ADHD can cause organizational problems, adults with this disorder have more problems than average in getting and staying organized.

Adult ADHD Problem No. 2: Reckless Driving and Traffic Accidents

When you're easily distracted, driving can be dangerous. ADHD symptoms may result in traffic accidents, speeding and even the loss of driver's licenses.

Adult ADHD Problem No. 3: Marital Difficulties

The challenge in any relationship: Listening carefully and being patient. Those qualities are especially challenging for someone with ADHD, and the resulting arguments and relationship issues can lead to a troubled marriage.

Adult ADHD Problem No. 4: Extreme Distractibility

The phone is ringing; your boss is standing at your desk, and you're trying to respond to email. The work world is tough enough, but add in the tendency to be easily distracted caused by ADHD, you can have problems finishing tasks.

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Adult ADHD Problem No. 5: Poor Listening Skills

If you have problems paying attention during meetings or discussions, that may be a symptom of ADHD.

Adult ADHD Problem No. 6: Restlessness, Difficulty Relaxing

Feeling restless or tense much of the time can also be a symptom.

Adult ADHD Problem No. 7: Difficulty Starting a Task

You're supposed to clean the house....or write a report....but you keep putting it off. That could be another symptom.

Adult ADHD Problem No. 8: Chronic Lateness

You may have problems estimating how long it takes to get somewhere, or get distracted on the way, both of which could be symptomatic of adult ADHD.

Adult ADHD Problem No. 9: Angry Outbursts

Problems controlling your anger? Can't handle frustration? Both are symptoms.

Adult ADHD Problem No. 10: Prioritizing Issues

Do you ever get criticized for failing to do the most important item on the to-do list? That could be another sign.

What To Do Next

If you feel that some of the symptoms above sound familiar, talk with your doctor or other health care provider. Only an expert can diagnose this condition.

What to expect: Your doctor may administer some tests as well as discuss your history as a child. Medications sometimes used for adult ADHD include Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin, or Strattera, and therapy.