fbpx Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Adults With ADHD
Authored by Nexus Family Healing on February 3, 2022

In recent years, there has been an increase of adult diagnosis of mental health conditions that we typically associated with children – like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD is a mental health condition that causes difficulties with attention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behaviors. Approximately 2.5% of adults in the United States live with ADHD; it’s much more common than you may think. In most cases, ADHD symptoms occur before age 18, but may not be diagnosed at all or until later into adulthood. These symptoms shift and change with age. 

Hyperactivity in children may manifest in the form of running around the house or climbing tables in a classroom, but because adults have more control in terms of behavior, their restlessness (hyperactivity) is more likely to present as fidgety versus running around.

Adult ADHD Symptoms

Not all inattentiveness or restlessness means you have ADHD. Everybody has been on the spectrum of ADHD at some point in their life, but clinical features of ADHD are very different and often persistent. If left untreated, they cause distress, affect your quality of life, and impair your functioning in areas of occupation, academic, and relationships. In adults, symptoms may range from poor concentration, procrastination, less patience, disorganization, difficulty prioritizing and planning, poor time management, impulsiveness, restlessness, low frustration tolerance, angry outbursts, forgetfulness, mood swings, among others.

When struggling with ADHD you may find it hard to hold a job, stay motivated, accomplish tasks, keep up with schedules, have difficulty with performing well at work, or have relationship problems due to angry outbursts. You may also feel overwhelmed due to constant stress caused by disorganization or procrastination. It’s important to note that ADHD affects each person differently. One may have trouble staying focused and another could be struggling with disorganization and poor planning. The exact cause of ADHD is unclear, but it has been associated with genetics and certain environmental and psychosocial factors.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Many adults with ADHD suffer with symptoms for years without an official diagnosis. Why? Because they either don’t recognize the symptoms or mistake them for stress. Treatment starts with getting a proper diagnosis. For accurate diagnosis, a qualified professional will perform a comprehensive evaluation with multiple tests. The first step is to set up a consultation appointment with your primary care provider who is likely to recommend psychological testing. You can also self-refer to a qualified professional of your choice for the psychological testing.  

I Am Diagnosed, Now What?

The diagnosis is likely to bring a sense of relief by providing answers to the various questions someone may have carried for so long regarding their symptoms. Though it has no cure, ADHD is treatable. Having a treatment plan in place is going to be your next step. Treatment may include medication, psychotherapy or behavioral treatments, education and understanding of ADHD, family support, and accommodations at work, home, or educational environments. 

Overall, become educated on ADHD, make an informed treatment plan, evaluate ADHD medications, choose your specialists, and get the support you need. 

This blog article was contributed by Dr. Joan Chemarum, PsyD, Psychologist for Nexus-Gerard and Nexus-FACTS, agencies of Nexus Family Healing.

Nexus Family Healing is a national nonprofit mental health organization that restores hope for thousands of children and families who come to us for outpatient/community mental health servicesfoster care and adoption, and residential treatment. For over 45 years, our network of agencies has used innovative, personalized approaches to heal trauma, break cycles of harm, and reshape futures. We believe every child is worth it — and every family matters. Learn more at nexusfamilyhealing.org.