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Adults can have ADHD too

A woman sitting in front of a laptop but staring to the side.

March 7, 2024—Do you have problems with concentrating? Do you often lose things or have trouble being organized? Do you often feel impulsive or restless? You may have wondered if you have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

In fact, ADHD doesn't just affect children. Many adults who managed their undiagnosed symptoms as kids may find that adulthood's competing responsibilities have made the symptoms harder to deal with.

If ADHD is interfering with your personal life, work or relationships, there's great news. Treatment such as medication, support and a little creativity can help you beat these challenges.

Do you have ADHD?

People with ADHD have a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity. These behaviors interfere with daily functioning or life's achievements. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) says these symptoms can occur alone or in combination with each other:

Inattention problems:

  • Not paying attention to details.
  • Being unable to listen closely to others.
  • Making careless mistakes.
  • Being disorganized with tasks and managing time.
  • Consistently losing things like keys, wallets and phones.
  • Forgetting responsibilities such as paying bills, keeping appointments or returning calls.

Hyperactivity and impulsivity problems:

  • Feeling extremely restless and unable to stay still for extended periods.
  • Being unable to engage quietly in leisure activities.
  • Talking too much and/or interrupting others while they are speaking.

Get a professional assessment

Self-assessments can help you learn more about ADHD symptoms, but it's still important to be assessed by a healthcare provider. They can give you an accurate diagnosis and guide you toward effective treatments. A thorough evaluation can include:

  • Your childhood history with ADHD.
  • An ADHD symptom checklist.
  • Tests that help identify strengths and challenges or rule out possible learning disabilities.

Note that having these symptoms can overlap with or mimic other conditions, such as:

  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Sleep disorders.
  • Substance abuse.
  • Learning disabilities.
  • Developmental disorders.

ADHD treatment is often ineffective if the underlying conditions aren't addressed. That's why talking to your provider is so important.

The right treatment and support can help you manage ADHD.

Struggling with staying on task at your job? Learn these eight key strategies for managing ADHD at work.


  • American Psychological Association (APA). "An ADHD Diagnosis in Adulthood Comes With Challenges and Benefits."
  • Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD). "Coexisting Conditions."
  • HelpGuide. "ADHD in Adults: Symptoms, Effects, and Self-Help."
  • National Institute of Mental Health. "Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Adults: What You Need to Know."
  • National Resource Center on ADHD. "Diagnosis of ADHD in Adults."
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