Signs that you may have adhd

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) - Symptoms

Symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

The symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be categorised into 2 types of behavioural problems:

  • inattentiveness (difficulty concentrating and focusing)
  • hyperactivity and impulsiveness

Many people with ADHD have problems that fall into both these categories, but this is not always the case.

For example, around 2 to 3 in 10 people with the condition have problems with concentrating and focusing, but not with hyperactivity or impulsiveness.

This form of ADHD is also known as attention deficit disorder (ADD). ADD can sometimes go unnoticed because the symptoms may be less obvious.

ADHD is more often diagnosed in boys than girls. Girls are more likely to have symptoms of inattentiveness only, and are less likely to show disruptive behaviour that makes ADHD symptoms more obvious. This means girls who have ADHD may not always be diagnosed.

Symptoms in children and teenagers

The symptoms of ADHD in children and teenagers are well defined, and they're usually noticeable before the age of 6. They occur in more than 1 situation, such as at home and at school.

Children may have symptoms of both inattentiveness and hyperactivity and impulsiveness, or they may have symptoms of just 1 of these types of behaviour.

Inattentiveness (difficulty concentrating and focusing)

The main signs of inattentiveness are:

  • having a short attention span and being easily distracted
  • making careless mistakes – for example, in schoolwork
  • appearing forgetful or losing things
  • being unable to stick to tasks that are tedious or time-consuming
  • appearing to be unable to listen to or carry out instructions
  • constantly changing activity or task
  • having difficulty organising tasks

Hyperactivity and impulsiveness

The main signs of hyperactivity and impulsiveness are:

  • being unable to sit still, especially in calm or quiet surroundings
  • constantly fidgeting
  • being unable to concentrate on tasks
  • excessive physical movement
  • excessive talking
  • being unable to wait their turn
  • acting without thinking
  • interrupting conversations
  • little or no sense of danger

These symptoms can cause significant problems in a child's life, such as underachievement at school, poor social interaction with other children and adults, and problems with discipline.

Related conditions in children and teenagers with ADHD

Although not always the case, some children may also have signs of other problems or conditions alongside ADHD, such as:

  • anxiety disorder – which causes your child to worry and be nervous much of the time; it may also cause physical symptoms, such as a rapid heartbeat, sweating and dizziness
  • oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) – this is defined by negative and disruptive behaviour, particularly towards authority figures, such as parents and teachers
  • conduct disorder – this often involves a tendency towards highly antisocial behaviour, such as stealing, fighting, vandalism and harming people or animals
  • depression
  • sleep problems – finding it difficult to get to sleep at night, and having irregular sleeping patterns
  • autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) – this affects social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour
  • dyspraxia – a condition that affects physical co-ordination
  • epilepsy – a condition that affects the brain and causes repeated fits or seizures
  • Tourette's syndrome – a condition of the nervous system, characterised by a combination of involuntary noises and movements (tics)
  • learning difficulties – such as dyslexia

Symptoms in adults

In adults, the symptoms of ADHD are more difficult to define. This is largely due to a lack of research into adults with ADHD.

As ADHD is a developmental disorder, it's believed it cannot develop in adults without it first appearing during childhood. But symptoms of ADHD in children and teenagers often continue into adulthood.

The way in which inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness affect adults can be very different from the way they affect children.

For example, hyperactivity tends to decrease in adults, while inattentiveness tends to remain as the pressures of adult life increase.

Adult symptoms of ADHD also tend to be far more subtle than childhood symptoms.

Some specialists have suggested the following as a list of symptoms associated with ADHD in adults:

  • carelessness and lack of attention to detail
  • continually starting new tasks before finishing old ones
  • poor organisational skills
  • inability to focus or prioritise
  • continually losing or misplacing things
  • forgetfulness
  • restlessness and edginess
  • difficulty keeping quiet, and speaking out of turn
  • blurting out responses and often interrupting others
  • mood swings, irritability and a quick temper
  • inability to deal with stress
  • extreme impatience
  • taking risks in activities, often with little or no regard for personal safety or the safety of others – for example, driving dangerously

Related conditions in adults with ADHD

As with ADHD in children and teenagers, ADHD in adults can occur alongside several related problems or conditions.

One of the most common is depression. Other conditions that adults may have alongside ADHD include:

  • personality disorders – conditions in which an individual differs significantly from the average person in terms of how they think, perceive, feel or relate to others
  • bipolar disorder – a condition affecting your mood, which can swing from one extreme to another
  • obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) – a condition that causes obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviour

The behavioural problems associated with ADHD can also cause problems such as difficulties with relationships and social interaction.

Page last reviewed: 24 December 2021
Next review due: 24 December 2024

Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) - Symptoms and causes


Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health disorder that includes a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. Adult ADHD can lead to unstable relationships, poor work or school performance, low self-esteem, and other problems.

Though it's called adult ADHD, symptoms start in early childhood and continue into adulthood. In some cases, ADHD is not recognized or diagnosed until the person is an adult. Adult ADHD symptoms may not be as clear as ADHD symptoms in children. In adults, hyperactivity may decrease, but struggles with impulsiveness, restlessness and difficulty paying attention may continue.

Treatment for adult ADHD is similar to treatment for childhood ADHD. Adult ADHD treatment includes medications, psychological counseling (psychotherapy) and treatment for any mental health conditions that occur along with ADHD.

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Some people with ADHD have fewer symptoms as they age, but some adults continue to have major symptoms that interfere with daily functioning. In adults, the main features of ADHD may include difficulty paying attention, impulsiveness and restlessness. Symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Many adults with ADHD aren't aware they have it — they just know that everyday tasks can be a challenge. Adults with ADHD may find it difficult to focus and prioritize, leading to missed deadlines and forgotten meetings or social plans. The inability to control impulses can range from impatience waiting in line or driving in traffic to mood swings and outbursts of anger.

Adult ADHD symptoms may include:

  • Impulsiveness
  • Disorganization and problems prioritizing
  • Poor time management skills
  • Problems focusing on a task
  • Trouble multitasking
  • Excessive activity or restlessness
  • Poor planning
  • Low frustration tolerance
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Problems following through and completing tasks
  • Hot temper
  • Trouble coping with stress

What's typical behavior and what's ADHD?

Almost everyone has some symptoms similar to ADHD at some point in their lives. If your difficulties are recent or occurred only occasionally in the past, you probably don't have ADHD. ADHD is diagnosed only when symptoms are severe enough to cause ongoing problems in more than one area of your life. These persistent and disruptive symptoms can be traced back to early childhood.

Diagnosis of ADHD in adults can be difficult because certain ADHD symptoms are similar to those caused by other conditions, such as anxiety or mood disorders. And many adults with ADHD also have at least one other mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety.

When to see a doctor

If any of the symptoms listed above continually disrupt your life, talk to your doctor about whether you might have ADHD.

Different types of health care professionals may diagnose and supervise treatment for ADHD. Seek a provider who has training and experience in caring for adults with ADHD.

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While the exact cause of ADHD is not clear, research efforts continue. Factors that may be involved in the development of ADHD include:

  • Genetics. ADHD can run in families, and studies indicate that genes may play a role.
  • Environment. Certain environmental factors also may increase risk, such as lead exposure as a child.
  • Problems during development. Problems with the central nervous system at key moments in development may play a role.

Risk factors

Risk of ADHD may increase if:

  • You have blood relatives, such as a parent or sibling, with ADHD or another mental health disorder
  • Your mother smoked, drank alcohol or used drugs during pregnancy
  • As a child, you were exposed to environmental toxins — such as lead, found mainly in paint and pipes in older buildings
  • You were born prematurely


ADHD can make life difficult for you. ADHD has been linked to:

  • Poor school or work performance
  • Unemployment
  • Financial problems
  • Trouble with the law
  • Alcohol or other substance misuse
  • Frequent car accidents or other accidents
  • Unstable relationships
  • Poor physical and mental health
  • Poor self-image
  • Suicide attempts

Coexisting conditions

Although ADHD doesn't cause other psychological or developmental problems, other disorders often occur along with ADHD and make treatment more challenging. These include:

  • Mood disorders. Many adults with ADHD also have depression, bipolar disorder or another mood disorder. While mood problems aren't necessarily due directly to ADHD, a repeated pattern of failures and frustrations due to ADHD can worsen depression.
  • Anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders occur fairly often in adults with ADHD. Anxiety disorders may cause overwhelming worry, nervousness and other symptoms. Anxiety can be made worse by the challenges and setbacks caused by ADHD.
  • Other psychiatric disorders. Adults with ADHD are at increased risk of other psychiatric disorders, such as personality disorders, intermittent explosive disorder and substance use disorders.
  • Learning disabilities. Adults with ADHD may score lower on academic testing than would be expected for their age, intelligence and education. Learning disabilities can include problems with understanding and communicating.

By Mayo Clinic Staff


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ADHD in adults - treatment, symptoms, diagnosis

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Treatment of ADHD in adults

Rehabilitation clinic "A NEW DAY" specializes in the treatment of adults with ADHD. We have developed and effectively applied a set of rehabilitation measures for ADHD.

Individual approach

Each patient has his own doctor - a neurologist. He knows everything about the patient and his disease, if necessary, he can make adjustments to the course of treatment at any stage. The main thing is the result. At the end of the course of treatment, individually developed recommendations are issued.

Treatment is always a complex

Taking into account the variant of the course, the age of the patient, the severity of manifestations, the most appropriate methods and their combinations are selected: (BOS).

In everyday life, ADHD patients are not recommended to engage in those sports that involve a competitive nature and have a pronounced emotional component, for example, martial arts, team games. Useful jogging, swimming (non-competitive), cycling, skiing.

To improve the psychological and emotional state, reduce anxiety, overcome depression, sleep disorders, various methods of psychotherapy are used. The choice of a technique suitable for a particular patient is carried out by a psychologist or psychotherapist.

Relaxation techniques: special relaxation massages, relaxation sessions, medical treatment.
Cognitive training is used for attention deficit. Acupuncture (IRT) is traditionally used to restore the regulation of many organs, including the brain.

Innovative techniques

Translingual neurostimulation (TLNS) is an effect on the brain through the stimulation of tongue receptors. This is an advanced innovative technique, most effectively used in the treatment of diseases of the central nervous system, and as we know, ADHD belongs to such diseases. The use of TLNS allows you to restore the regulation of excitation-inhibition processes in a short time, which ultimately leads to an improvement in the course of ADHD, the best psychological and motor correction. In addition, TLNS has a positive effect on cognitive functions, such as concentration and memory, improves sleep, allowing the body to restore its neurotransmitter stores and have a good rest.

Continuity and recurrence

ADHD has a favorable course when properly treated. It is important to maintain the results achieved. To do this, at discharge, we give detailed individually developed recommendations. As long as there is any residual symptomatology, courses of treatment should be repeated, as a rule, 2-3 times a year.

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Attention deficit disorder in adults

ADHD is a childhood-onset neurological behavioral disorder characterized by difficulty concentrating and maintaining attention, excessive motor activity (hyperactivity) and incontinence (impulsivity).

In recent years, the frequency of ADHD has increased, including among adults. It used to be thought that by adolescence, the symptoms of ADHD would significantly lessen or go away. However, now these ideas have changed: in 30-70% of cases, ADHD persists into adulthood. Most often this is due to insufficiently effective treatment in childhood.

More about ADHD

All processes occurring in the nervous system are based on two oppositely directed mechanisms: excitation and inhibition. Normally they are balanced. However, the formation of the nervous system does not occur immediately after birth. The brain is mainly formed before the age of 8 years, but finally only by the age of 25. Therefore, in children, arousal and inhibition often get out of control, in some cases leading to ADHD. Over time, the brain matures and the symptoms of ADHD improve or go away on their own. But even in an adult, cognitive, behavioral, and motor
disorders resulting from ADHD. That is why the prevalence of ADHD in adults, although it has increased in recent years, still remains much less than in children.

In general, the manifestations in children and adults do not differ, but there are features.

First, if a child does not have ADHD, then an adult will not develop this disease. Therefore, ADHD in adults is not a separate disease, but disorders that have persisted since childhood.

Secondly, in adults, attention disorders prevail over manifestations of hyperactivity. It is difficult for such people to concentrate and maintain attention, so many activities that require concentration may not be available to them. Hyperactivity can be manifested by restlessness, so sedentary sedentary work is not suitable for them.
Impulsivity can be manifested by conflicts in the family and at work.

And thirdly, the presence of ADHD in adulthood requires careful examination to exclude other disorders, incl. mental illness.

Manifestations of ADHD depend on the course of the disease.

Types of ADHD in adults

With a predominance of attention deficit disorder (deficit)

With a predominance of hyperactivity

Mixed ADHD

Symptoms of ADHD in adults

Symptoms of inattention (adults have at least 5 symptoms for at least 6 months):

  • Inability to pay attention to details, inattention errors
  • Inability to maintain long attention span Often adds up
  • 0 the impression that he does not listen to addressed speech
  • Inability to follow instructions, algorithms, for example, to fulfill conditions tasks
  • Resistance to getting involved in tasks, avoiding or active resistance
  • Frequent loss of things, especially those necessary to complete tasks
  • Easy distractibility to extraneous stimuli or thoughts (“hovering” thoughts)
  • Routine forgetfulness (errands, chores, being late)

Symptoms of hyperactivity (in adults, at least 5 symptoms for at least 6 months):

  • Constant movements in the hands, feet, fidgeting in a chair
  • Getting up from a place
  • Inability to sit still
  • Inability to pass time calmly
  • Constantly in motion, as if “wound up”, as if “attached a motor”
  • 1
  • Answers a question without listening to the question itself
  • Difficulty waiting in line
  • permissions.

These symptoms must reach a degree of severity that interferes with learning, communication, work. They should be observed both at home and in other places (at work, at a party, etc.). They should be noticed not only by relatives, but also by those around them.

    An additional examination may be required to clarify the diagnosis and exclude other diseases that have similar symptoms:

    • EEG (electroencephalography)
    • Doppler ultrasonography0101
    • Evoked potential (EP) method
    • Psychotherapist's consultation
    • Brain MRI
    • Psychiatrist's consultation (if indicated)

    – ADHD CR (expanded complex)
    – Cognition CS (standard complex)
    – Cognition CR (expanded complex)

    – Psychotherapy ind. COP (complex standard)
    – Psychotherapy ind. CD (advanced complex)

    Comparative table of all programs

    5 signs that you have not laziness, but ADHD — Career on vc.


    Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder or ADHD is a disorder characterized by constant inattention and / or hyperactivity that negatively affects productivity.


    In 1902, a lecture by the English physician Still appeared in the Lancet, who for the first time connected inattention and hyperactivity with a biological basis, and not with bad education, as was supposed at that time.

    The Lancet is a medical journal founded in 1823 by the English surgeon Thomas Walkley. It is named after the lancet, a surgical instrument.

    At the same time, ADHD is 4-5 times more common in boys. In adults, this disorder occurs in 2-6% of cases and is considered as a consequence of ADHD in childhood.

    Manifestation in adults

    ADHD makes it difficult to focus on the daily routine. This does not mean that you cannot focus. You just focus on the wrong things.

    Some people describe it as feeling overwhelmed or paranoid all the time. But for those who are not familiar with the diagnosis, “ADHD people” seem lazy, procrastinators and irresponsible.

    So how do you know if you have ADHD or not? Pay attention to the following symptoms:

    1. Childhood story

    In adults diagnosed with ADHD, symptoms usually begin during childhood. The fact is that many scientists believe that the disorder is a developmental disorder, so it cannot manifest itself sharply in adulthood without signs in childhood.

    According to the NHS, 15% of those diagnosed will still have symptoms by age 25. And in 65%, these will be symptoms that negatively affect daily life.

    2. Short attention span

    Experts suggest that the matter is in the structure of the brain. In people with ADHD, it is slightly different, so it is difficult for them to focus on one thing for a long time. They are restless, they quickly become bored, they are distracted.

    Just now they were reading a book, and now they urgently need to sort out the bookcase. Perhaps in 5 minutes you will find them transplanting plants.

    Attention is split into hundreds of things, the brain seems to be unable to prioritize, and the mind is doomed to wander from one topic to another.

    3. Unfinished business

    As a result of lack of attention, people with ADHD often leave things unfinished. Projects, chores, and homework can be postponed, no matter how enthusiastically they were taken on.

    People with this disorder often change hobbies, are fickle in their interests. Sometimes their behavior is more like small and capricious children.

    4. Poor impulse control

    ADHD makes people live on impulse. A sharp desire to run a red light, interrupt or interrupt a conversation, spend money on something that is not necessary - all these things are very familiar to a person with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

    Sometimes they don't even give an account of their actions, but act on the call of desires, which seem to light up sharply in their heads. Their family life also suffers from this. Today they are interested in a person, but tomorrow they are already tired.

    5. Failure to assemble

    Alarm clocks and reminders are ADHD's best companions. Because time always flows differently for him, and deadlines creep up unexpectedly. And people with the syndrome can do everything at once, without bringing a single thing to the end. They have trouble with organizational skills.

    In general, living with ADHD is difficult, so how can you help yourself?

    Simple tips for big problems

    Friends, of course, if the signs of ADHD poison your life, this is a reason to turn to a specialist - a neurologist or a psychologist. But there are some things that will help alleviate the condition. Recently, mindfulness and meditation practices have been recommended for the treatment of ADHD.

    As we said earlier, many things are not realized by people with the syndrome. They act on impulse. So the very first piece of advice is to watch your impulses.

    To do this, you need to get a notebook and write it down in what situations arise, for example, uncontrollable anger or a strong desire to change your mind. This can help you track down and minimize the causes that precede these conditions.

    If you want to make a large purchase, it is better to wait at least a day. Most likely, the next day the desire will fade away. Consider setting a limit on your bank card.

    Practice "Traffic light"

    In Germany, people with ADHD are encouraged to use an unusual technique. Throughout the day, ask yourself the question: what color do you associate your state with now? Green - everything is fine, yellow - you are uncomfortable, red - an emotional explosion is close. It also helps to track your impulses and the reasons for its changes.

    And if you learn to track your condition, then you will be able to manage it.

    Learn more