by Phillip A. Foster, Ph.D.

When most people think of ADHD (Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder), they think of that out-of-control child who can’t sit still in the classroom and never pays attention. While the disorder truly exists in many children, there are a significant number of adults who also have the diagnosis. Most experts believe the vast majority of adults who have ADHD are going untreated. That is often because of misinformation and misunderstanding relative to the problem of adult ADHD. 


In order to have ADHD as an adult, the adult must have had it as a child. Having someone who can document childhood difficulties is typically part of a traditional assessment. As a child, the individual may have struggled with paying attention, sitting still in the classroom, interrupting others, developing conflictual peer relationships, and doing poor academically; especially after 5th grade, and in subjects such as math and science. Many children “grow out” of the disorder by adulthood, while many develop coping mechanisms and ways to compensate, that mask the disorder. 

WebMD identifies several problems that adults may have that are possibly indicators of adult ADHD. These include difficulties with organization, problems of focus/concentration that affect work, driving, relationships, failing to follow through on or complete tasks, timeliness, and anger issues. However, the three main symptoms of adult ADHD are impulsivity, restlessness (always on the go), and distractibility. 

The only way to know for sure if an adult has ADHD is to have an assessment completed by a professional trained in the standardized assessment methods used for making the diagnosis. There are other disorders that may account for some of the same symptoms an adult is experiencing, including depression, anxiety, or stress-related disorders. 

Treatment for adult ADHD may include medication, but cognitive-behavioral therapy is also successful in conjunction with or without medication. 

Seeking an experienced professional can help you receive an accurate diagnosis and start effective treatment.  By seeking effective treatment from an experienced professional, you can improve your symptoms and overcome many of the challenges of ADHD. Contact us at  888-706-3190  to schedule an appointment with one of our ADHD specialists.