Adult ADHD - Symptoms

What were your symptoms of adult ADHD and how was it diagnosed?

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What are common adult ADHD symptoms, behaviors, and problems?

People with adult ADHD may have lower self-esteem than adults without this disorder. Some studies on adults with ADHD show that more than two-thirds may have another mental health condition, and about 50% have two other such conditions. The most common other problems that adults with ADHD suffer from include drug abuse and addiction, and mood, anxiety, and personality disorders. In terms of personality disorders, adults with ADHD are at risk for developing antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder. More than one-third of adults with ADHD need adult mental health treatment.

Return to Adult ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

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Comment from: benevoice, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 07

My symptoms included a constant attempt to complete tasks and continue working on them without switching to other activities. For example, I would be cooking dinner and decide to check the mail. Not only would I retrieve the mail, but I would impulsively open various pieces and read them. That same mail that was so important at that moment would then be ignored for a long time (procrastination) as my energy was scattered among my activities of life such as work, child-rearing, other family care and housework. It is said that sometimes chronic boredom is a sign of ADHD, but I felt overwhelming pressure with having so much to do and so much unfinished business in my home and life with what seemed like no time to do it. I have not felt bored since I can remember; just the strain to get to things. Most modern Americans seem to have much they'd like to or need to do in their lives, but my feelings of incomplete responsibilities have been for many years, very heavy. Feelings of inadequacy would dominate my emotions as I felt stupid, lazy or not motivated, yet I knew at root I was none of those. I had a low frustration tolerance with myself and others around me. Also, I would have afternoon sleepiness that was so severe that I fell asleep on the kitchen floor more than once as I worked in there cleaning and stopped to rest. I have learned to be more tolerant of my family and others, and medications have helped for me to be more alert throughout the day. All my life I've been a hard worker and although my school grades didn't show it, I was bright, achieved a college degree (took 6 years instead of 4 or 5) from a well-respected university, and have a determination that I don't see in many other people. Having been a school-aged child in the 1960's and 70's, there was not the recognition of ADHD the way there is currently for school children. My parents didn't recognize any of it (behavior problems and sometimes poor grades) and chalked it up to my being a child who daydreamed and liked to talk a lot or get attention. When I finally could not take these unhelpful feelings of myself and the frustration any longer, I sought help (at around age 43) from a therapist and then a psychiatrist and received a diagnosis of ADHD (ADD). Along with a supportive doctor, family, and an empathetic and knowledgeable counselor, I have seen improvements in how I function in my life and know that I've achieved more in the past few years than I could have with an unrecognized diagnosis. It brings a certain amount of acceptance to one's life when you finally see what has been happening. I try to be strong and encourage others to not have shame when it comes to this often joked-about condition. Having understanding of one's self and educating others along the way where appropriate about this condition is important. I know there are other mental health diagnoses that have little or no effective treatment and can leave one with truly minimal or no functioning in life, so I feel thankful in a way that it is ADHD.

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Comment from: Carolynrmj, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 08

I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 26. It was at a routine psychiatrist visit when the doctor asked me why I was always fidgeting. He then asked me some questions about my childhood and that's when he/I realized that I had ADHD. I think that's when everything fell into place for me. I realized why I was how I was. I used Wellbutrin and it really helped me but I don't take it religiously. It's really hard sometimes for me to focus, to finish things I start, to not get distracted by everything else besides what I should be focused on. Sometimes my thoughts loop and I can't focus, I get thoughts stuck in my head and I repeat things over and over and sometimes its hell... But sometimes I'm ok and that's good. Most days are ok.

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