What Are The Signs Of Adult ADHD?

ADHD is often a behavioral disorder that is attributed to children, but it can also affect adults. According to Cambridge University, approximately 4% of adults live with ADHD. Some signs of ADHD for children can be seen in adults, but other symptoms can be quite different. While it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone may be affected by every symptom and that each case is unique, there are some signs of adult ADHD that can be identified.

Poor Attention Span

One of the most common symptoms of adult ADHD is poor attention span. It can be very difficult for someone diagnosed with ADHD to focus on tasks at hand, no matter the importance. This doesn’t simply mean you have trouble completing boring homework or reading a boring book, but a constant issue that can often cause incredible stress.

Along with poor attention span, adult ADHD can be marked by periods of intense focus. People oten disregard any possibility of adult ADHD due to these extreme stretches of focus. This is sometimes referred to as “hyperfocus.” It’s considered a coping mechanism for distraction, or another way of ignoring the chaos of adult ADHD.

Physical Restlessness

Being physically restless is another sign of adult ADHD. People suffering from this condition may fidget often or squirm when they’re required to sit still. This may also cause increased stress, which may only be relieved when the person in question begins to move about. Someone suffering from ADHD might also seem “on the go” or constantly in movement.

Excessive Impulsivity

This trait is displayed when someone affected by adult ADHD acts or speaks without thinking.  He or she may continuously speak without having any breaks. Impulsivity can also come about when the person acts in ways that are inappropriate, such as running or climbing when it is unnecessary.

Other examples of excessive impulsivity include frequently interrupting others, having poor self-control, blurting out thoughts that may seem rude, or having trouble behaving in a socially appropriate manner.


Procrastination can be an issue that everyone deals with, but it can specifically be an issue for someone who is affected by adult ADHD. Putting off responsibilities can also lead to additional stress. Not only can ADHD-fueled procrastination be excessive, but can also occur quite frequently.

In addition to procrastination, a person suffering from adult ADHD may have an issue starting or completing tasks. Engaging in certain tasks may require sustained mental effort. It can also affect personal relationships, as these traits can be mistaken for laziness. A person experiencing this may feel frustration, guilt, or blame and feel an inability to express himself or herself.

Frequently Losing Things

Keeping track of your keys can be very difficult, but a person with adult ADHD will have a more difficult time, misplacing items shortly after having them. A person with ADHD may also lose things that were needed for important tasks. This habit of losing thing happens quite frequently and can be mistaken for forgetfulness, another trait of adult ADHD.


Forgetfulness is linked to losing things, but can be entirely different. Adults with ADHD may have a difficult time remembering names, locations, or things that have been previously told to them. They may even feel guilty that they cannot remember, no matter how hard they try.

Poor Organization

People suffering from adult ADHD may have poor organizational skills that keep them from completing tasks. They may seem overly messy, when they simply have poor organizational skills. Poor planning and time management issues may also arise. A person suffering from ADHD may wait until the last second to do something or have a hard time planning simple events. He or she may also be chronically late.

Emotional Difficulties

Many adults who suffer from ADHD deal with emotional stress and might have a hard time controlling their feelings. Anger and frustration can be the most difficult to control. Other emotions include a sense of underachievement, stress, emotional outbursts, or low self-esteem. Mood-swings and hypersensitivity to criticism can also be an issue for people with adult ADHD.

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