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Mar 1

10 Signs of Adult ADHD


Eileen Bailey Health Guide
ADHD was once considered a “childhood” disorder – something that went away as you reached adulthood. Today, we know different. We know that many adults continue to struggle with symptoms of ADHD, in their personal lives and in the workplace. For many, ADHD has gone undiagnosed, discovered only after their children are diagnosed. While the main symptoms of ADHD – inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness – remain the same, how they show up may be different. The following are 10 signs of ADHD in adults:

Lack of Focus

The typical inattention symptom of ADHD often continues into adulthood. You may find you are always starting a project – but never finishing. You may find it difficult to follow along in conversations or find you are easily distracted. You may miss important details – or details in general.


Hyperactivity in children shows up as overly energetic and has often been described as “driven by a non-stop motor.” In adults hyperactivity appears as restlessness or feeling fidgety. You may remember being a “high-energy” child.

History of Frequent Job Changes

Frequent job changes occur for two different reasons. You may have a history of being fired – your lack of attention to detail, making mistakes, personality conflicts or impulsiveness can lead to being fired from jobs. Or, you may find yourself bored with your job and constantly searching for a more interesting job. While many adults with ADHD do end up with successful careers, it can take time to find the right job to fit your skills and personality.

Difficult Relationships

Statistics show that the divorce rate for adults with ADHD is much higher than for those without ADHD. Adults indicate that forgetting important dates and details, not listening, impulsive spending and being unreliable are some of the symptoms of ADHD that cause problems in relationships.


The opposite of lack of focus, hyperfocus is when you become completely engrossed in an activity you like that you forget everything around you. You ignore those around you, lose track of time and forget about responsibilities. While hyper-focus can be an asset and may help you sometimes, at other times it interferes with relationships.


Just as disorganization is a problem for children with ADHD it is also a problem for adults with ADHD. Procrastination, lack of time-management skills, always being late, difficulty with prioritizing tasks and clutter all are signs of disorganization.

Addiction Problems

Adults with ADHD are more likely to use alcohol or drugs than the general public. Smoking is also more common in adults with ADHD – about one-fourth of the general public smokes but for adults with ADHD that number jumps to about 40 percent. [1]

Money Problems

A number of the symptoms that cause problems in other areas of your life – disorganization, procrastination, impulsiveness – can wreak havoc on your finances. You might find yourself paying late payments because you lost the bill or simply forgot to pay it. You may make impulsive purchases and then not have enough money to pay your bills.

Anger Issues

Adults with ADHD may have trouble controlling their emotions, leading to angry outbursts where you explode over trivial issues. You may find that you are angry one moment and then, as quickly as your anger appeared, it dissipates. Your family may still be dealing with your outburst but you have moved on to the next problem leaving your partner and children confused about what happened.


You don’t just forget the unimportant details, you forget important dates, to meet your spouse or friend for lunch, where you put your keys, you name it, you forget it. Forgetfulness is a routine part of your everyday life.

It is never too late to seek help for ADHD symptoms. Remember, if you have a child with ADHD, there is a good chance that either you or your spouse has ADHD as well. That is just as true if there are siblings or any other family history of ADHD. If you are having difficulty with the previous signs, talk to your doctor about what steps you can take to be assessed for ADHD.
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