Table of contents


12 min read

ADHD Symptoms In Adults

Written by Klarity Editorial Team

Published: Oct 25, 2021

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Zoe Russell

Table of contents

Living with adult ADHD can be challenging and disruptive to various aspects of your life. Symptoms like difficulty focusing and executive dysfunction can significantly impact your ability to complete daily activities, maintain relationships, and meet deadlines at work. Fortunately, there are ways to manage these symptoms to help you focus and feel less anxious about your daily responsibilities.

In the guide below, we discuss how ADHD symptoms present in adults, the challenges of each symptom, and how to manage them more effectively. The guide also discusses treatment options to help balance brain chemistry and reduce the symptoms of ADHD.

Do you frequently experience an inability to concentrate, remember small details, or sit still for long periods? If so, you may have adult ADHD. To confirm your diagnosis and gain access to the help you need, take a free 2-minute online evaluation on Klarity today. 
Within 48 hours, we’ll connect you with a qualified healthcare provider who can evaluate your condition, provide an appropriate diagnosis, and help you get started with the right treatment.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that’s typified by either an inability to focus or distractability, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, or a combination of the two. Although it’s usually first diagnosed in childhood, ADHD can last through adulthood.

Noticing symptoms and suspect you have a mental health condition? Find fast, affordable care from a provider on Klarity today.

What Are the Symptoms of ADHD in Adults?

Adult ADHD symptoms are often severe, interfering with both work and personal relationships. For example, an individual may hyperfocus on their partner at the beginning of a relationship but lose that focus over time, which leads the partner to believe they’re being ignored. Regardless of how ADHD symptoms are exhibited, if left untreated, they can wreak havoc in the lives of those suffering from the disorder.

There are many symptoms of ADHD. We’ve compiled a list of the 12 most commonly observed adult ADHD symptoms below.

1. Inability to Focus

A person suffering from ADHD often exhibits an inability to focus, especially on tasks they may consider boring or repetitive. They also may lack the ability to focus on activities they find interesting. In addition, they may have difficulty paying attention to someone who’s talking, with a tendency to drift off.

Problems this ADHD Symptom May Cause

Inability to focus can cause problems with work, as the ADHD sufferer may be unable to focus on work and leave assignments incomplete. It can also cause relationship issues, as the partner may feel ignored or as though they’re responsible for all the household chores. When severe, an inability to focus can lead to lost jobs and broken relationships.

2. Hyperfocus

The opposite of an inability to focus, hyperfocus manifests itself as complete focus on one task or situation to the detriment of all others. This is often the case with new stimuli, where the ADHD sufferer pays attention to one new task while ignoring others that are less interesting.

Problems this ADHD Symptom May Cause

When a person hyperfocuses on one thing, they may ignore other less stimulating things. This symptom of ADHD can cause severe work problems when the ADHD sufferer hyperfocuses on an object that isn’t the job but something extraneous. Also, the ADHD sufferer may hyperfocus on a new relationship, which causes issues when the amount of attention inevitably wanes, and the partner feels abandoned.

3. Procrastination

Adults with ADHD may often have problems with putting things off. They may be focused on something else, or they may find the tasks either too difficult or too boring. For many sufferers of adult ADHD, it’s more attractive to do things tomorrow instead of today.

Problems this ADHD Symptom May Cause

Procrastination often causes people to miss deadlines, and work takes longer to get done or is left incomplete. Important tasks get put off until the last minute. This can cause issues with work, where timely completion is often essential. Procrastination can also cause problems at home, where, for example, undone chores are often left to the other person to complete.

4. Impulsiveness

Impulsiveness can manifest itself in a variety of ways for adults with ADHD. A person may jump into a new situation while leaving undone tasks in the last one, or they may make choices that prove detrimental or injurious. Impulsiveness can lead to reckless behavior, which can be serious.

Problems this ADHD Symptom May Cause

When someone acts without thinking things through, the impact can be felt throughout their life. They may make a major purchase without thinking about the economic ramifications or may quit their job without having a fallback plan. Impulsivity can easily leave a person in a worse condition than what they started in.

5. Inattentiveness

An adult with ADHD often has an inability to pay attention. They can’t focus on important objectives, or they may not pay attention to their relationship. They may drift away when someone speaks to them. Often this inattentiveness is visited upon less interesting but still important tasks.

Problems this ADHD Symptom May Cause

Inattentiveness in work means important assignments are left unfinished, which causes job performance to suffer. In a relationship, such a symptom is also detrimental as the partner may naturally feel they’re not important enough to pay attention to, which can lead to resentment.

6. Trouble Prioritizing

An adult with ADHD may have problems putting tasks in order by importance. They may be unable to understand which is the most critical task and focus on a less important ones.

Problems this ADHD Symptom May Cause

If someone can’t prioritize tasks, they often leave important work unfinished. They may focus on what is most interesting to them while ignoring what needs to be done, which can cause issues with work performance. They also may lack the ability to prioritize responsibilities in relationships, which leaves their partner having to pick up the slack.

7. Disorganization

This adult ADHD symptom manifests itself by an inability to maintain order or manage details with work or at home. The person may be unable to keep papers or notes in order or may have problems arranging files on their computer. Their home may be disorganized and messy or cluttered.

Problems this ADHD Symptom May Cause

Disorganization leads to an inability to find or produce information when it is needed. When someone can’t organize, they are less able to focus on important tasks. When someone is disorganized in daily life, they may have to deal with a messy or chaotic household, which impacts their ability to concentrate on important things.

8. Forgetfulness

An adult with ADHD is often forgetful. They may forget to do important work obligations, forget to do household chores, forget where they put their keys, or forget important dates.

Problems this ADHD Symptom May Cause

It’s obvious that if you forget to do something your boss told you to do you’ll have problems at work. If you forget where you put your keys, you’ll be late, and if you forget important dates, you’ll likely hurt people’s feelings and have relationship problems.

9. Poor Time Management Skills

Another common adult ADHD symptom is the inability to manage time properly. The ADHD sufferer might hyperfocus on something and let the day get away from them, or they may spend too much time on nonessential activities.

Problems this ADHD Symptom May Cause

Time management is essential to properly organizing one’s day. If a person spends too much time on one task, the other tasks suffer, which leaves important tasks undone and deadlines missed. A poorly planned day may have more obligations than someone can complete. Things get left undone, which can cause problems with work and relationships.

10. Problems Completing Tasks

An adult ADHD sufferer may be unable to get things done. Tasks are left partially completed, leaving nothing taken to resolution. This can manifest in both work and household situations.

Problems this ADHD Symptom May Cause

When work is left undone, it can affect the whole organization. Incomplete tasks either hold things up or are left to someone else, which causes problems with colleagues. If a person is unable to assume responsibility for tasks, it ultimately disappoints someone else, and this person could be a boss or a partner.

11. Low Frustration Tolerance

Adults with ADHD often get frustrated easily and are unable to cope. They may abandon tasks due to frustration or lack the ability to stick to obligations that they consider boring or difficult. Some amount of frustration is a natural part of life, and the inability to tolerate it can cause serious problems.

Problems this ADHD Symptom May Cause

If someone is frustrated easily, they often have trouble completing tasks. They walk away from frustration rather than digging in and working things through. It can be easy to become frustrated, but if you can’t handle the situation, this ADHD symptom can impact work performance and relationships.

12. Quick Temper

This symptom of adult ADHD is one of the most serious. ADHD sufferers can be quick to anger, often in situations that don’t warrant it. This anger may manifest itself at work, where frustration leads to outbursts, or it may occur in relationships where the ADHD sufferer lashes out at their partner for seemingly no reason.

Problems this ADHD Symptom May Cause

Anger is often inappropriate but is especially so in a work environment. Angry outbursts focused on one’s coworkers or boss are often not tolerated and can lead to discipline or dismissal. A hot temper directed at one’s partner can lead to the dissolution of the relationship.

Get Treatment for Your Adult ADHD Symptoms

By understanding the common signs and manifestations of adult ADHD, you can take proactive steps to manage your neurotype more effectively. If you resonate with the symptoms discussed in this guide and suspect that you may have adult ADHD, it’s essential to seek professional help to find relief as soon as possible.
Take the first step on your journey toward better mental health and improved overall well-being. Schedule an appointment on Klarity today and get connected with a licensed ADHD medical provider who will collaborate with you to create a personalized treatment plan tailored to you.

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