Adult ADHD is not a widely-diagnosed disorder but knowing some of the symptoms of the condition can help you manage it.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was earlier considered a ‘childhood’ disorder—one that subsided once a child reached adulthood. But in the current age, we know that adults can have this condition too (around 50 percent of children who had ADHD continue to have it in their adulthood). However, in most of the cases, adult ADHD remains undiagnosed, putting such people at a high risk for serious physical and mental health issues. In fact, only 4 percent of adults are diagnosed with ADHD. It may seem harmless, but the truth is that diagnosing ADHD in adults is crucial to their health and well-being. People who have this condition may find it difficult to lead their daily lives without ADHD having a major affect on everything they do. Adults with ADHD are at an increased likelihood of getting fired from jobs frequently, having lower incomes, losing self-esteem, unplanned pregnancies, higher rates of accidents, and substance abuse. These factors can then lead to depression and anxiety if ADHD is left undiagnosed in an adult.
Knowing the signs and symptoms that signal ADHD in an adult is one of the ways for diagnosing the disorder in you or someone that you know. Many a times, people do not realize that their behavior is a result of ADHD, and instead they are termed ‘irresponsible’ or ‘lazy’ owing to the symptoms such as unpunctuality, mood swings, and attention problems. Here are some of the signs that you need to look out for, as they are key symptoms of ADHD in an adult.
Trouble staying focused
Probably the most tell-tale sign of adult ADHD, trouble in concentrating is a typical symptom of ADHD that manifests itself in children and continues into adulthood. Just as children with ADHD have difficulty paying attention in class or doing their homework, adults with the condition may find it difficult to complete tasks – be it at home or the workplace. It may so happen that you are always starting something new, but are easily distracted and find trouble in completing them. This lack of focus goes beyond just paying attention; it also means difficulty in listening to others during a conversation and overlooking details. Such signs may be often overlooked as they are less noticeable and disruptive as compared to some other ADHD symptoms such as hyperactivity and impulsivity. But if you find yourself constantly fighting to finish projects, getting bored, and being easily distracted, it may be a good idea to talk to a doctor.
On the other side of attention issues lies the ADHD symptom called hyperfocus. Even though you may have difficulty in focusing on something, the flip side is that you may get so engrossed in something that you tend to ignore everything else around you. For example, you may get lost in a book, a show on TV, or on your computer. Hyperfocus is actually a type of coping mechanism for the lack of attention in people with ADHD. When channeled into the right, productive kind of activities, hyperfocus can work in favor of a person. However, this kind of concentration in a particular thing may make you lose track of time, neglect things that you are supposed to do, ignore people around you, and cause relationship problems.
If you have ADHD but are unaware of it, one major sign of the disorder may be the fact that you are not ready to carry out the responsibilities that adulthood entails. These include holding a steady job, paying bills, managing children, and organizing various other things in life. indeed, life can seem chaotic at times for every person, but for those with ADHD, organizational skills can be a major challenge that makes daily living messy, hectic, and difficult. You may find it difficult to prioritize tasks in a logical manner, manage time, be punctual, and keep track of various tasks throughout the day—all signs of being disorganized. This is another of the ADHD symptoms that people carry from childhood into adulthood, so proper and timely treatment is required to make everyday living less difficult for such people.
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