Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in an adult is often not noticed because the person may maintain
relationships and hold a steady job. It is not unusual for a parent to discover
he or she has ADHD when his or her child is diagnosed with the disorder. The
key to the diagnosis of ADHD for an adult is the presence of symptoms before he
or she was 7 years old.
adults is often seen as:
Fidgeting. Typically they swing their legs, shift
in their seats, or tap their fingers.
Constant motion. They feel
"revved up," on the go, and show little or no ability to relax until
An inability to relax. They have difficulty trying to
relax or to do quiet activities such as reading or watching television.
Inattention in adults is often seen
Difficulty completing tasks that they do not find
interesting or easy. But these adults may become obsessed with activities that
are interesting and enjoyable.
Difficulty focusing their attention on
conversations, reading materials, or jobs. They may frequently move from one
job to another.
Forgetfulness, misplacement, or loss of
Symptoms of ADHD in adults may affect:
Job performance. Their work performance may be
inconsistent because they have problems organizing their work, managing their
time, and concentrating on one task at a time. They may be forgetful and
misplace or lose things. They may quit their jobs out of
Personal relationships. Relationships may suffer for
adults who have problems focusing their attention on conversations, "reading"
the behavior and moods of others, and expressing their own
Temper. Becoming easily frustrated often is related to
having difficulty tolerating stress. These adults may overreact and have a
short, quick temper.
Problem-solving ability. Adults who have
difficulty waiting for things they want may not be able to accurately foresee
the consequences of their actions. As a result, they may engage in risky
behaviors, such as unprotected sex, unsafe driving, alcohol and drug use, or
unwise financial ventures.