Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects about 5 percent of children, and about half of them will carry those symptoms into adulthood, says the American Psychiatric Association. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that numbers are even higher in smaller community samples. On top of that, many adults with ADHD have never been diagnosed.
Untreated ADHD can cause numerous mental and physical problems that can put a strain on relationships and cause difficulties in many aspects of everyday life. It’s important to recognize the signs of adult ADHD so you can get proper treatment. Keep reading to learn about the symptoms.
Possibly the most telltale sign of ADHD, “lack of focus” goes beyond trouble paying attention. It means being easily distracted, finding it hard to listen to others in a conversation, overlooking details, and not completing tasks or projects. The flip side to that is hyperfocus (see below).
While people with ADHD are often easily distractible, they may also have something called hyperfocus. A person with ADHD can get so engrossed in something that they can become unaware of anything else around them. This kind of focus makes it easier to lose track of time and ignore those around you. This can lead to relationship misunderstandings.
Life can seem chaotic for everyone at times, but someone with ADHD typically has a more hectic life experience on a regular basis. This can make it difficult to keep everything in its right place. An adult with ADHD may struggle with these organizational skills. This can include problems keeping track of tasks and trouble prioritizing them in a logical manner.
This issue goes hand-in-hand with disorganization. Adults with ADHD often have trouble using their time effectively. They may procrastinate on important tasks, show up late for important events, or ignore assignments they consider boring. They may have trouble focusing on the future or the past — the “now” is often more top-of-mind for them.
This symptom subtype involves the collection of items of little or no value until one’s living space is consumed with so much clutter it becomes difficult to live in. This is often accompanied by obsessive fears of losing items that one feels may be needed one day.