Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health disorder that includes a combination of persistent problems.

These include difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour.

Adult ADHD can lead to unstable relationships, poor work or school performance, low self-esteem, and other problems.

Though it's called adult ADHD, symptoms start in early childhood and continue into adulthood.

In some cases, ADHD is not recognised or diagnosed until the person is an adult.

Many adults with ADHD aren't aware they have it — they just know that everyday tasks can be a challenge.

Adults with ADHD may find it difficult to focus and prioritise, leading to missed deadlines and forgotten meetings or social plans.

The inability to control impulses can range from impatience in waiting in line or driving in traffic to mood swings and outbursts of anger.

Adult ADHD symptoms may not be as clear as ADHD symptoms in children. In adults, hyperactivity may decrease but struggles with impulsiveness, restlessness and difficulty paying attention may continue.

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Symptoms to look out for:

  • Impulsiveness
  • Disorganisation and problems prioritising
  • Poor time management skills
  • Problems focusing on a task
  • Trouble multitasking
  • Excessive activity or restlessness
  • Poor planning
  • Low frustration tolerance
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Problems following through and completing tasks
  • Hot temper
  • Trouble coping with stress

Treatment for adult ADHD is similar to treatment for childhood ADHD.

Adult ADHD treatment includes medications, psychological counselling (psychotherapy) and treatment for any mental health conditions that occur along with ADHD.