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Adult ADHD


By Jessica B. Konopa

ADHD isn’t just a kid’s problem. An estimated 2 to 4 percent of adults live with the disorder. Half of those who have ADHD as children continue to have it when they grow up. In fact, it often goes undiagnosed. Many adults who have ADHD had it when they were kids, but were never diagnosed.

Like kids with ADHD, adults who suffer from the disorder often:

•Have a hard time completing tasks they consider boring or difficult
•Are distracted easily
•Are forgetful
•Are prone to losing things

In addition, they may fidget and easily lose their tempers. They often feel hyperactive and can’t relax.
These behaviors often interfere with an adult’s ability to work or have relationships. ADHD can interfere with an adult’s ability to:
•Stay organized
•Manage time
•Complete tasks that require concentration

Adults with ADHD may have a problem with jobs that use these skills. As a result, they may change jobs a lot or experience conflict at the office.

ADHD can make personal relationships difficult, too. It can be hard for people with ADHD to share their feelings with others. They may also find it hard to pay attention when other people are speaking. This can create strained conversations. An estimated 75 percent of adults with ADHD have emotional problems. All of these things can make it difficult for adults to maintain long-term relationships and friendships. Adults with ADHD often have marital problems, battle depression, or may abuse alcohol or drugs. At first glance, ADHD may seem daunting for adults. However, they can often overcome it by making small changes to the way they do things. This includes:

•Breaking large tasks into smaller ones
•Making lists to keep track of things that need to be done
•Communicating when they need help

In reality, research indicates that only 10 percent of adults with ADHD experience problems in their daily lives. About 50 percent report that their ADHD sometimes interferes with their daily lives. Finally, about 33 percent of adults say they have learned to manage their symptoms or no longer suffer from ADHD symptoms.

Not sure if you have ADHD? Your health care provider will be able to evaluate you and diagnose ADHD, if appropriate. Your provider will also help you develop a plan to manage it.


1.National Resource Center on AD/HD. (2008, February). The Disorder Named ADHD – What We Know – Info Sheets on AD/HD. Retrieved August 24, 2010, from
2.WebMD. (2005, October 1). Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: ADHD in adults. Retrieved August 24, 2010, from
3.Preidt, R. (2003, June 25). National ADHD education campaign launched. HealthDayNews. Retrieved August 24, 2010, from
4.WebMD. (2006, May 31). ADHD guide: Treatment overview. Retrieved August 24, 2010, from

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