Symptoms Of Adult ADHD

Adult ADHD symptoms often look different than children's symptoms; they are more likely to be very distractible and impulsive, rather than blatantly hyperactive. Often, the most prominent characteristic in adults with ADHD is difficulty with executive functioning (the ability to redirect attention, inhibit inappropriate behavior, make decisions, and switch problem-solving strategies). This significant function affects individuals in all aspects of their lives and can impair their ability to structure their lives and to plan even simple daily tasks. Other symptoms observed in adults include disorganization, impulsivity, restlessness, difficulties focusing attention, emotional instability and low stress tolerance, as evidence by the following:

Disorganization and Difficulty with Task Completion-

  • Poor organizational skills
  • Chronic procrastination or trouble getting started
  • Working on many projects simultaneously
  • Trouble with follow through on promises or commitments
  • Changing plans, enacting new schemes or career plans and the like
  • Difficulty structuring time and setting priorities (e.g., chronic lateness)


  • A tendency to say what comes to mind without considering the timing or appropriateness of the remark
  • Difficulties with self-control
  • Spontaneous, spur-of-the-moment behaviors or comments
  • Frequently interrupting others when they are talking
  • A tendency toward addictive behaviors


  • Physical or cognitive restlessness
  • Craves excitement, frequently searching for high stimulation
  • An intolerance of boredom

Attention Problems-

  • Easily distracted, trouble focusing attention (e.g., tunes out or drifts away in the middle of a page or a conversation)
  • Chronic forgetfulness
  • Inaccurate self-observation

Emotional Instability-

  • An ongoing tendency to worry excessively, that may alternate with disregard for actual dangers
  • A sense of insecurity
  • Mood swings
  • Chronic problems with self-esteem
  • Frequent boredom and discontent
  • A chronic sense of underachievement, of not meeting one's goals, regardless of actual performance

Low Stress Tolerance-

  • Impatient, doesn't deal well with frustration
  • Easily flustered, tense
  • Exaggerates the significance of negative events (i.e. makes "mountains out of molehills")
  • Short temper, likely with a history of explosive episodes
  • jasmine

    i want to have a child but i rethere adpot one cause i think childrens these days have adhd but if you get them check out thats the only way you can fine out!!

  • Lynn

    My son has suffered from ADHD all his life. He has been off medication for about 8 months now. He is now nearly 19 and has been on a controlled drug from the age of 6. I would like some advice from adult ADHD on how I can help him. I love my son so much and he has started to self harm himself. I don't know what to do. Please help me to try to help my son.


  • Nalgene

    I have been diagnosed with ADHD not otherwise specified. Whatever that means. I don't have a short temper... I brush off a lot of things other people can't take, but I am very sensitive and make Mountains out of Mole Hills. I am considered overly analytic.

    I am considered an introvert, but I'm truely sociable, I just can't pay attention and behave normally in a large group of people. I just can't unless I have something to do like cards or a board game. I NEED that, or I will become "anti-social"

  • Anonymous-1

    The lady with cocern about her son I would say to try an pray with him try to understand what's brothing him . May GOD the MOST HIgh keep us bless us continusly In CHRIST JESUS HOLY NAME AMEN

  • LADY

    For many years I have been asked if I have ADHD, or asked if I'm drunk/on drugs, because of the way I get in social settings. After reading the signs of ADHD, I think I really might have it, along with so social anxiety disorders ( including shyness). I have managed to make a life that works for me. However I have poor relationships with family, few friends, and can't seem to find a guy willing to stay with me for very long, much less marry me!

  • Denise

    Hi I hope I can put him in touch with the right people to get help. He is a very good person but is constantly misdirected by differnt situations that come up in his life. He is homeless now and I am trying to help him get his life on track. I have watched him make many accomplishments but everything has slipped through his hands..He has been out of control for many years now and is finally asking for some direction. I want to help but I know the first step is proper diagnosis. He has limited funds and I have my own health and mental issues with very limited funds myself, I still want to help him get what he needs to function properly. I know this problem has been with him along time but did not know who to talk to about it. He has been in and out of juvenile and adult incarceration facilities and still this problem has never been addressed. I don't want anything to happen to my son, I know he is a good person and his heart is in the right place but needs helpr. If you can please help me help help him I would be forever grateful I love my son.. he is the youngest of my 5 children and the closest to my heart. Denise C.

  • Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

    Dear Denise,

    There is help available for your son even if he is homeless. What you can do, if he cooperates, is take him to the emergency room of the local hospital and explain to them his urgent need for emergency psychiatric intervention because he is in danger of dying. That is the truth.

    They will either admit him to their hospital or they will move him to a psychiatric hospital for diagnosis and treatment. Once admitted they will file for emergency Medicaid and that is what will pay for the hospital.

    I must emphasize that you do not know his diagnosis. He could have a Bipolar Disorder, Psychotic disorder including Schizophrenia or ADHD but with something else.

    I agree, he needs treatment and he needs it now.

    Best of Luck

  • Anonymous-2

    I want to know whether i am facing same problem, i am a lecturer n my job involves lots of study.

    Earlier, one reading was enough, but from few months i am not able to concentrate, i am doing lots of mistakes again n again, b'cos of these i almost double my time of studies, but problems remains to continue. And i am keep thinking about old mistakes all the time. I knew the things but what i speak is sometimes different n even i am able to find untill someone reminds me that i was explaining that. I read n intreprte things wrong

  • drew

    I am 25 and there is not one thing on the symptoms list that i am not suffering from how can i fix myself

  • Bev

    hi i am a 27 yrs old and female ive have recencley been given a diagnoses of adult ADHA in November last year in 2009 i aparently accordimg to my G.P have had it since birth. i need to know so i can help my partner to understand how it feels to me as i do things i cant explane to him please help me as im confused and get frustrated lots thanx.

  • David ramirez

    Hi, my name is david im 17 and found out i was diagnosed with ADHD when i was 6 yrs old. When i first found out i never knew what it ment, and now its hard for me to learn in school and control my anger. I would get mad over the smallest things and not know why...... i really don't know how to fix my problem idk what else to do.

  • Moira

    My son was diagnosed ay 6 years old, his school couldn't cope, I found him very difficult, so he was referred to a childrens doctor.

    He was on Ritalin until he was 16, it worked, helped calm him down. But when he reached adulthood,he decided he didnt want to take it anymore.

    His life is chaos, one drama after another, he has bad mood swings, and finds everyday things hard to deal with. I look at him and see his mind whirring, going a million miles an hour, this is a difficult thing to deal with.

    I am seeing an adult psychologist with him today, hopefully that will help, maybe get some kind of structure in his life again, I worry about him constantly, my lovely lad.

  • Court

    I am 42 and diagnosed with PTSD in 2004 and anxiety and moderate depression. I have read the ADHD symptoms and wonder if this is a problem for me, too. How can I achieve a 4.0 for my Masters online and not have decent attendance at work when I am the sole provider for my kids? What is wrong with me? I am on an antidepressant that is obviously not working and can not sleep at night but want to sleep all day avoiding life I guess. It is sad and I'm tired of this. I just want the right therapy , diagnosis and meds if necessary. Help!