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10 Problems That Could Mean Adult ADHD

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Adult ADHD Problem No. 4: Extreme Distractibility

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

Adult ADHD Problem No. 5: Poor Listening Skills

Do you zone out during long business meetings? Did your husband forget to pick up little Jimmy at baseball practice, even though you called to remind him on his way home? Problems with attention result in poor listening skills in many adults with ADHD, leading to a lot of missed appointments and misunderstandings.

Adult ADHD Problem No. 6: Restlessness, Difficulty Relaxing

While many children with ADHD are “hyperactive,” this ADHD symptom often appears differently in adults. Rather than bouncing off the walls, adults with ADHD are more likely to exhibit restlessness or find they can’t relax. If you have adult ADHD, others might describe you as edgy or tense.

Adult ADHD Problem No. 7: Difficulty Starting a Task

Just as children with ADHD often put off doing homework, people with adult ADHD often drag their feet when starting tasks that require a lot of attention. This procrastination often adds to existing problems, including marital disagreements, workplace issues, and problems with friends.

Adult ADHD Problem No. 8: Chronic Lateness

There are many reasons adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are usually late. First, they’re often distracted on the way to an event, maybe realizing the car needs to be washed and then noticing they’re low on gas, and before they know it an hour has gone by. People with adult ADHD also tend to underestimate how much time it takes to finish a task, whether it’s a major assignment at work or a simple home repair.

Adult ADHD Problem No. 9: Angry Outbursts

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder often leads to problems controlling emotions. Many people with adult ADHD are quick to explode over minor issues. Often, adults with ADHD feel as if they have absolutely no control over their emotions. Many times, their anger fades as quickly as it flared, long before the people who dealt with the outburst have gotten over the incident.

Adult ADHD Problem No. 10: Prioritizing Issues

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can wreak havoc on planning, too. Often, people with adult ADHD mis-prioritize, failing to meet big obligations, like a deadline at work, while spending countless hours on something insignificant, such as getting a higher score on a video game.

Do You Have Adult ADHD?

Only a qualified health professional can make an accurate diagnosis of adult ADHD, but there are some self-screening tests that may help you decide whether to consult a medical professional about your adult ADHD symptoms.

Since many different conditions can cause adult ADHD-like symptoms, these tests alone can’t diagnose adult ADHD.

If, after talking with a qualified health professional, you or your loved one is diagnosed with adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, you’ll need to work together with your doctor to design the best treatment plan. Often, adult ADHD is treated with a combination of ADHD medications, such as Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin, or Strattera, and therapy.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Patricia Quinn, MD on February 21, 2012
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Why do you think you might have adult ADHD?