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Identifying ADHD in Adults

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, known as ADHD, is a mental health condition that causes symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. ADHD begins in childhood and is usually diagnosed early on in life. However, for some, ADHD may not be diagnosed until adulthood.

ADHD in adults often goes undiagnosed as symptoms often present themselves differently in adults than in children. These symptoms can significantly affect an individual’s daily activities and relationships with those around them. 

Common Symptoms of ADHD in Adults

Some common problems of adults living with ADHD include:

  • Inconsistent performance in jobs
  • Inability to complete simple day-to-day tasks
  • Trouble meeting deadlines
  • Difficulty staying focused during conversations
  • History of academic underachievement
  • Difficulty getting organized
  • Trouble arriving to work on time
  • History of problems with relationships
  • Feelings of frustration, guilt, and blame
  • Chronic stress

Diagnosing ADHD in Adults

To diagnose a child with ADHD, six or more symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity must be present, while for an adult, only five of these symptoms are required. Several of these symptoms must be present in two or more settings, such as at home, at work, or in a social environment. There must also be clear evidence that these symptoms negatively impact the person’s ability to function in a social or work environment.

Inattentive Symptoms 

  • Fails to pay close attention to details and makes careless mistakes
  • Has trouble maintaining attention on specific tasks
  • Does not appear to listen when spoken to directly
  • Does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish assigned tasks, assignments, or duties
  • Has trouble with organization
  • Loses objects and is forgetful
  • Becomes easily distracted

Hyperactive and Impulsive Symptoms

  • Often fidgets with hands, taps feet, or squirms while sitting 
  • Unable to stay seated at work
  • Extreme restlessness
  • Unable to take part in leisure activities quietly
  • Talks excessively
  • Has trouble waiting their turn
  • Interrupts or intrudes on others often 

Adults can display a combined presentation of both inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity, or they can be predominantly inattentive or predominantly hyperactive/impulsive. Since ADHD symptoms change over time, it is likely that people’s presentation may change as they get older as well. 

Contact Mile High Psychiatry

At Mile High Psychiatry, we use a combination of behavioral therapy and medication to successfully treat ADHD in both children and adults. If you believe that you or a loved one may be suffering from undiagnosed ADHD, make an appointment at Mile High Psychiatry today or call now at (855) 660-8911.

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