An Inside Look at Adult ADHD

Though often thought of as a disorder diagnosed in childhood, 4 percent of people in the United States are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as adults. 

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Diagnosing adult ADHD can prove to be more difficult. The inability to focus, feeling overly active, difficulty sustaining tasks and lack of organization are core features of the diagnosis in adults. As people age, overt symptoms like difficulty sitting still may diminish.

Still, adolescents and adults continue to exhibit symptoms of ADHD that can significantly impact growth in school and at work. Adults with ADHD may speak impulsively during meetings, miss deadlines or have trouble paying attention during a conversation with a higher-up, which can be problematic as work demands increase. Other ADHD symptoms in late adolescents and adults include feeling restless and a change in goal-oriented behaviors.  

As for children diagnosed with ADHD, two-thirds will continue to experience persistent symptoms into adulthood.  If left untreated, ADHD is associated with increased risk of academic underachievement, underemployment, substance use and motor vehicle accidents.

If you or even your child has or had a diagnosis of ADHD, I suggest periodically touching base with your psychiatrist to keep tabs on the progression of symptoms, especially if you feel like it is affecting job performance.   

dr. uruj kamal

dr. uruj kamal

Dr. Uruj Kamal is Chief Resident of Adult Outpatient Psychiatry at Baystate Medical Center-University of Massachusetts Medical School. A Stony Brook native, she enjoys combining her knowledge of mental health with healthy living. Dr. Kamal has a special interest in outpatient adult psychiatry.