Wondering if you or someone you know has ADHD? Most people associate this mental health disorder with hyperactive children, but not only children have ADHD. Children with ADHD grow up to become adults with ADHD. Also, many adults with ADHD were simply never diagnosed in their youth, or symptoms only presented later in life.
ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a mental health disorder that affects brain development and the ability to focus attention. It may also cause individuals to struggle with compulsive behaviors or impulse control. There is no cure for ADHD, but there are a myriad of ways to successfully manage it.
If you are already in adulthood, you may be wondering, I think I might have ADHD, or Signs Of Adult ADHD but does it really matter that much? I’ve learned how to function at this point in my life. It may seem unnecessary, or even scary, to open up that can of worms at all.
But just like identifying a physical weakness or malady, discovering our mental health weaknesses can help us seek the right kind of help. Then we can finally stop battling with ourselves and behaviors and start turning these into manageable symptoms that can even serve as strengths.
Signs of Adult ADHD
The first step in recognizing ADHD is to begin evaluating clusters and patterns of behaviors. An initial “self-evaluation” can be done by exploring and reflecting on the following list of tell-tale signs.
And if it seems to line up with your suspicions and behavioral struggles, consider seeing a psychologist or other counselor for a professional opinion or even a diagnosis.
Want to learn more about adult ADHD? BetterHelp online therapy has plenty of information and resources for finding the right kind of help.
A primary symptom of both child and adult ADHD is attention deficit. This usually manifests itself as an inability to focus your attention for long periods of time. You may feel easily distracted by things like the environment you’re in, people around you, or random thoughts running through your mind.
Many don’t realize that attention deficit may also manifest as being hyper-focused on certain things. Your attention may be so fixated on a few particular tasks that you lose all sense of time. You may get hyper-focused on things that aren’t necessarily a priority, like video games, and fail to notice other important things that require attention.
Struggling to stay organized is a major symptom of ADHD. Attention deficit exacerbates this, as you may have a hard time focusing on daily tasks or creating lists long enough to maintain a system of organization. Your workspace or room may be cluttered or chaotic, and you may have trouble getting things in order.
Poor Time Management
Managing your time can be tough as an adult with ADHD. Frequent procrastination on any kind of task, even the insignificant ones, is common.
You may often miss deadlines or show up late to appointments because you struggle to gauge how long tasks will take. Attention deficit can also cause you to be distracted and jump from task to task while struggling to be productive.
Impulsive behaviors are common for someone with ADHD. This might show itself in the following ways:
- Spontaneous decisions without much consideration for the consequences.
- Domineering and interrupting others in conversation.
- Being socially inappropriate.
- “Impulse” buys, or an addiction to shopping.
Similar to impulsive behaviors are mood swings and a hot temper. An adult with ADHD may be energetic and joyful one minute, and angry and sad the next.
Misusing or Abusing Substances
It’s important to note that not every adult with ADHD misuses or abuses substances. But studies indicate that adults with ADHD are more likely than others to misuse substances like alcohol, drugs, and tobacco.
While the reason is not completely clear, it may be that adults with ADHD use substances to self-medicate and “treat” their associated anxieties, insomnia, or to help them focus.
Anxiety and Restlessness
Many individuals with ADHD struggle with feelings of anxiety, restlessness, and boredom. You may feel like your emotions are constantly changing. Little inconveniences seem monumentally frustrating, and “normal” life circumstances may bore you.
In addition, negative impulsive decisions and connected relationship troubles may feed into preexisting anxiety or depression.
Low self-esteem is linked to ADHD. Many adults with the disorder tend to be hypercritical of themselves. And because they may struggle early on in life with school, successful employment, and maintaining relationships, they may take these failures really hard and feel ashamed of their “underachievement.”
Difficulties in Relationships
Adults with ADHD may struggle to maintain balanced, healthy relationships, whether these are platonic, romantic, or professional relationships. The behaviors they exhibit in relationships that put a strain on both parties include:
- “Steamrolling” or talking over the other person in conversation.
- Not being attentive or listening closely when the other person is talking.
- Being easily bored by another person’s company, a conversation, or the relationship itself.
These behaviors come across to the other person as insensitive, uncaring, hard-headed, or irresponsible.
As you read through these signs, you might be thinking, I deal with most of these at some point. Does that mean I have ADHD?It’s true that most people experience some of these struggles in our daily lives. Distractions, procrastination, and anxiety are all too common. But having ADHD takes it a step beyond these “normal” behaviors.
Are you unsure whether you might be dealing with a normal level of these symptoms, or might be living with ADHD? Think about the frequency with which you experience the symptoms, and how much they impact your life.
If your ability to be productive, hold down jobs, or keep your life relatively organized is completely hindered, you should seek professional mental health care to understand what you’re really dealing with.