Nearly everyone experiences ADHD symptoms in their lifetime. But how do you know if you have adult ADHD or if you’re dealing with everyday stress and distraction?
What is adult ADHD?
ADHD is attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. It’s a mental health disorder that can cause trouble focusing, impulsiveness and hyperactivity. While the condition is often diagnosed in childhood, some adults go undiagnosed until they are older.
In adults, ADHD can lead to a host of problems, such as:
- Poor job performance
- Trouble in school
- Frequent accidents or car wrecks
- Unstable relationships
- Low self-esteem
- Financial difficulties
- Legal problems
- Alcohol abuse
- Drug use
- Suicide attempts
It can be harder to diagnose ADHD in adults because the symptoms may not be as obvious as those in children. Adults with ADHD often exhibit less hyperactivity, but still have restlessness, impulsiveness and difficulty paying attention.
Signs you may have adult ADHD
In adults, ADHD symptoms can include:
- Trouble focusing
- Difficulty completing a task
- Excessive activity
- Poor planning
- Difficulty prioritizing tasks
- Hot temper
- Frequent mood swings
- Poor time management skills
Keep in mind, we all experience one or more symptoms from time to time. But that doesn’t mean you have adult ADHD. Sometimes, these symptoms are caused by other factors, like stress, anxiety or depression.
However, if you’ve experienced these symptoms since childhood and they frequently affect your life, they could be a sign of adult ADHD.
What causes ADHD?
While we don’t know for sure what causes ADHD, the following factors may increase your risk:
- Your parent or sibling has ADHD or another mental health condition
- Your mother used tobacco, alcohol or drugs while she was pregnant
- You were born prematurely
- You were exposed to lead during childhood
ADHD treatment options
Many people with ADHD also have other mental health conditions, like depression or anxiety. Treatment for ADHD often includes medication, psychological counseling and (if needed) therapy for other mental health disorders.
When to see a medical provider
If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above and they frequently affect your quality of life, have a conversation with your primary care provider. Having ADHD isn’t your fault and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s manageable with the right treatment approach and you can still enjoy an excellent quality of life.