Adult ADD/ADHD, as in children, is characterized by excessive inattentiveness, impulsiveness and hyperactivity. While in children, hyperactivity is often displayed as constant squirming and moving, in adults it may be more of a constant feeling of restlessness and agitation. Extreme procrastination, disorganization, trouble making deadlines, and impulsive behavior is common. While most of us have challenges in these areas, someone with Adult ADD/ADHD has these problems constantly, in good times and in bad, and often to the despair of loved ones.
In adults, symptoms of inattention, especially those of concentration and organization, often become more dominant than in children.
• Concentration. Adults with ADD/ADHD have trouble with concentration to an extreme degree. You might have trouble following conversations, “zoning out” without realizing it. Finishing tasks might feel impossible, and you might have several tasks started at once without the ability to continue. You might easily get distracted or forgetful, leading to errors or incomplete work.
• Organization. Keeping things organized at home and work might be an enormous challenge. Home and/or work space might be unusually cluttered and messy. You might underestimate the time it takes to complete tasks or have trouble with procrastination, making completing large projects very difficult. Adults with ADD/ADHD often also continually forget or lose things.
While hyperactivity may conjure up an image of a child bouncing around and screaming, in adults it looks different. You may find yourself easily bored, irritated and experience mood swings. You may be restless and full of nervous energy, not able to sit and relax. Quiet activities might feel impossible. You may feel the need to talk incessantly.
You may have trouble controlling impulses, which can range from relating to others to daily decisions.
• Decision making. You might have a pattern of making sudden decisions “on a whim” or have trouble listening to others.
• Relating to others. You might have trouble following a conversation, interrupting others, answering before a question has been asked, or blurting out things you regret later.