The Mature Mind of ADHD
Those who thought their ADHD would magically disappear when they became adults were sadly mistaken. And while it's true that the core symptoms of ADHD can manifest differently in adults, it is essential to understand that just because the symptoms may look different, it does not mean the disorder is any less real or impactful on your life!
Three primary symptom categories are associated with ADHD: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Let's explore each one in more detail and how they can present themselves in adults.
One of the most common signs of ADHD, inattention, manifests as difficulty sustaining focus on tasks, poor follow-through, disorganization, and forgetfulness. Adults with ADHD often lose track of conversations, leave projects unfinished, and frequently misplace essential items like keys and wallets.
Hyperfocus can also occur in an adult with ADHD, especially if they are interested in the task or topic; it's new, or there is a deadline looming.
Many adults with ADHD report feeling they are always on the go and that their minds are racing from one thing to the next. Although hyperactivity is generally associated with childhood ADHD, this symptom can persist into adulthood for some. While it's more common for kids with ADHD to bounce off the walls, adults tend to be more internalized regarding their hyperactivity. This might manifest as feeling restless or fidgety all the time, unable to sit still for more than a few minutes, or talking excessively.
Impulsivity can manifest as making decisions without thinking them through and appearing in significant ways, such as impulsive purchases, or more minor ways, like interrupting people in conversation. If you find yourself regularly doing things without thinking about them first, that's another sign that you might have ADHD.
Emotional Dysregulation is a less well-known symptom of ADHD but no less impairing and is another sign of the hyperactivity and impulsivity seen in ADHD. This symptom is less about what you do and more about how you feel. Adults with ADHD often experience intense emotions and have trouble regulating them. You might cry over something small, react out of proportion to the trigger, and even anger more quickly than others.
The core symptoms of ADHD in adults can look very different from ADHD in children, manifest in less obvious ways, and therefore may be harder to spot. If you think you or your loved one might have adult ADHD, please contact a mental health professional for an evaluation. With proper diagnosis and treatment, most people with ADHD can live happy and successful lives!