What Is ADHD Like in Adults?

You may often associate ADHD with children, as most of the symptoms that come with it are more obvious in younger patients. It can also be diagnosed in adulthood, however, oftentimes by going unnoticed until later in life or not at all.  This can lead to increased frustration and stress in daily life, which is why it’s important to know how the disorder changes as one grows older.

What Is ADHD Like in Adults?


To understand adult ADHD, we must first look at its effects during childhood. According to the NIH, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder in which patients often present with symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. In children, this can look like a quick loss of interest in certain activities, discomfort when trying to sit still, or a tendency to do things without considering the consequences. Important to note is the fact that these behaviors cannot always be easily controlled by the child, as we already tend to have a less developed sense of self-control as children.

How Is Adult ADHD Different?

Adult ADHD, to put it simply, is like the more mature version of the childhood disorder. For example, where there was once difficulty paying attention in school, there may now be difficulty paying attention at work. As described by Mayo Clinic, Many undiagnosed adults don’t realize they may have it due to their beliefs that common activities are simply more difficult for them. Some ways this may be seen include:

  • Difficulty prioritizing or managing time well
  • Difficulty focusing on any number of tasks
  • Restless behavior/Impatience
  • Effects on mood (partly caused by the symptoms above)

Pairing these symptoms with a better sense of self-control that an adult has over a child, it’s easy to see how an adult with ADHD may not be aware of it at all. Because of the similarities between adult ADHD symptoms and natural behaviors, it can often be difficult to tell the difference.

If you or someone you know have experienced any number of these symptoms often, or if you are unsure, please reach out to us to receive a more personalized evaluation. We are dedicated to serving our Collin County community with diligent psychiatric care delivered with sensitivity, understanding, and trust. At Pandora’s House, we strive to increase access to mental health care and raise awareness of the many benefits of treatment. Feel free to call us at (972) 784-3064 or visit our website to schedule an appointment today.