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10 Problems That Could Mean Adult ADHD

Many people think of rowdy kids who can’t sit still when they think of ADHD. But symptoms of ADHD can sometimes linger into adulthood. Lots of adults with ADHD don’t realize that many of the problems they face, including staying organized or being on time, are symptoms of adult ADHD.

What Causes Adult ADHD?

While experts don’t know for sure what causes ADHD, they think genes may play an important part. Environmental issues, such as exposure to cigarettes, alcohol, or other toxins while in the womb, may also play a role.

Unlike other psychiatric disorders, including anxiety and depression, ADHD doesn't begin in adulthood. Symptoms must have been present since childhood for a diagnosis of adult ADHD to be made.

10 Problems That Could Mean Adult ADHD

The conventional symptoms doctors look for to diagnose ADHD are based on how the condition shows itself in children.

These symptoms include forgetfulness and excessive daydreaming, as well as an inability to sit still, or constant fidgeting with objects.

Yet many experts think adult ADHD symptoms show themselves differently and more subtly. This can make it hard to recognize and diagnose adult ADHD.  Because some possible symptoms -- like poor concentration or motivation, or interpersonal problems -- also could be signs of other psychiatric conditions (like depression or substance abuse), it's important that you get examined by a trained and experienced mental health professional.

Here are 10 potential warning signs of adult ADHD:

No. 1: Trouble Getting Organized

For people with ADHD, the responsibilities of adulthood -- bills, jobs, and children, to name a few -- can make problems with organization more obvious and more problematic than in childhood.

No. 2: Reckless Driving and Traffic Accidents

ADHD makes it hard to keep your attention on a task, so spending time behind the wheel of a car can be hard. ADHD symptoms can make some people more likely to speed, have traffic accidents, and lose their driver’s licenses.

No. 3: Marital Trouble

Many people without ADHD have marital problems, so a troubled marriage shouldn’t necessarily be seen as a red flag for adult ADHD. But there are some marriage problems that are likely to affect the relationships of those with ADHD. Often, the partners of people with undiagnosed ADHD take poor listening skills and an inability to honor commitments as a sign that their partner doesn’t care. If you’re the person with ADHD, you may not understand why your partner is upset, and you may feel you’re being nagged or blamed for something that’s not your fault.

No. 4: Extremely Distractible

ADHD is a problem with attention, so adult ADHD can make it hard to succeed in today’s fast-paced, hustle-bustle world. Many people find that distractibility can lead to a history of career under-performance, especially in noisy or busy offices. If you have adult ADHD, you might find that phone calls or email derails your attention, making it hard for you to finish tasks.

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