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Recognizing Adult Attention Deficit Disorder

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity disorders may last into adulthood for many.


The Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) organization estimates that there are over 10 million adults in the US alone with an attentional disorder.

The Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) organization estimates that there are over 10 million adults in the US alone with an attentional disorder.[1]While the signs and symptoms for children are categorized as primarily inattentive, hyperactive or combined, in adults the symptoms may manifest differently than when they were younger. Some of these symptoms may include:

  • Variable performance in jobs or careers

  • Losing or resigning from jobs on an ongoing basis

  • History of academic and/or career underachievement

  • Inconsistent management of day-to-day responsibilities, such as completing household chores, maintenance tasks, paying bills or organizing things

  • Relationship problems due to not implementing, sustaining & completing tasks

  • Forgetting important things

  • Getting easily distressed over minor things

  • Chronic stress and worry due to failure to accomplish goals and meet responsibilities

  • Chronic and intense feelings of frustration, guilt or blame[2]

While there is no specific medical exam available to detect ADD/ADHD, a qualified medical doctor, psychiatrist or clinical psychologist is able to conduct a diagnostic evaluation with a wide variety of diagnostic instruments available to screen and clarify nature and severity of adult ADD/ADHD symptoms. A comprehensive assessment can also identify the presence of other psychiatric disorders that may resemble ADHD or commonly co-exist with ADHD. Over 60% of adults diagnosed with Attentional disorders have one or more co-existing conditions such as a mood or anxiety disorder. [3]

Attentional disorders in adults can be very disruptive. However, with proper assessment and intervention they can be managed effectively. Talk to your medical provider if you feel you may have an attentional disorder that interferes with your productivity.


Catherine Funes, PsyD

Advisory Board, Mental Health Board Chair for Invisible Me Warriors



[1] https://chadd.org/for-adults/overview/

[2] https://chadd.org/for-adults/diagnosis-of-adhd-in-adults/

[3] www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/diagnosis.html



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