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ADHD

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Lesser-known adult ADHD symptoms

Written by Klarity Editorial Team

Published: Apr 22, 2024

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Zoe Russell

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Adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may exhibit a wide variety of symptoms, some more well-known than others, which can make receiving a diagnosis difficult. Recognizing some of the lesser-known adult ADHD symptoms helps you better understand your own experience and empowers you to take action to get the treatment you need.

In this article, we dig into the lesser-known symptoms of ADHD. While most people are familiar with the core symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention, there are other symptoms that often go unrecognized. These lesser-known symptoms can significantly impact your daily life and shouldn’t be ignored.

There are many symptoms of ADHD that are easily recognized, but you should never try to self-diagnose or self-medicate through the internet. If you suspect that you have ADHD, speak to a medical professional on Klarity today. Klarity connects patients with healthcare providers for simple, accessible, and convenient online ADHD treatment

Find a provider today to discuss your symptoms and receive a diagnosis or personalized treatment plan for your ADHD. 

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

Types of ADHD

ADHD presents differently in each individual. Some may have a high concentration level with things that interest them, while others have a hard time concentrating regardless of interest. Some people may be highly social, while others are withdrawn. 

Just as no 2 people with adult ADHD experience the disorder the same, there’s also no one-size-fits-all treatment. A majority of patients benefit from a multiple-phased treatment plan consisting of diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, counseling, behavior modification techniques, and ongoing care from an experienced provider.

There are 3 main types of ADHD, each with its own associated symptoms: inattentive, hyperactive/impulsive, and combination.

Let’s explore each 1 below.

Inattentive type ADHD

Below are the most common symptoms associated with inattentive type ADHD. 

  • Carelessness resulting in mistakes
  • Inability to stay on task
  • Inattention/Not appearing to listen/Mind wandering
  • Inability to follow or comprehend instructions
  • Task avoidance, especially for tasks that require sustained attention
  • Distractedness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Procrastination
  • Difficulty in organizing tasks (i.e., poor time management)

Hyperactive-impulsive type ADHD

Those with this type can have any combination of the following symptoms and more.

  • Inability to remain still, i.e., fidgeting/squirming
  • Getting up often when seated, i.e., moving away from the workplace
  • The necessity to “burn off” excess energy/restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Inability to work quietly
  • Talking too much, inappropriate conversation patterns
  • Interrupting
  • Often “on the go” as if “driven by a motor.”

Combination type ADHD 

As the name suggests, individuals with combination ADHD display a combination of both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms. One of the challenges with diagnosing combination type is that the symptoms may not always be obvious. This can make it difficult for healthcare professionals to differentiate between a combination of ADHD and other conditions, such as anxiety or depression.

Combination ADHD isn’t the same for everyone who has it. Some people may experience more symptoms of inattention, while others may struggle more with hyperactivity and impulsivity. However, combination ADHD is characterized by a relatively equal amount of both hyperactive and inattentive symptoms, which can significantly impact daily life.

Common ADHD Symptoms

There are certain groups of ADHD symptoms that are more common than others, including:

  • Concentration and focus-related
    • Being easily distracted
    • Inability to stay on task
    • Hyperfocus – the ability to remain laser-focused on a task while shutting out everything going on around you
    • Daydreaming
  • Disorganization and forgetfulness
    • Constantly losing items
    • Procrastination
    • Chronic lateness, missing appointments
    • Messiness, clutter
  • Impulsivity
    • Inability to wait your turn
    • Interrupting others
    • Abruptly stopping or starting a task
    • Saying things before they are thought out
  • Emotion related
    • Anger Management Issues
    • Depression
    • Lack of Motivation
    • Low Self Esteem
  • Hyperactivity and restlessness
    • Inability to fully relax
    • Constant Fidgetiness
    • Need to be constantly “on the go”
    • Racing thoughts

Lesser-known signs of adult ADHD

While the common symptoms mentioned above are more common, there are also lesser-known symptoms. Below are some of the less obvious signs that may help you decide whether you should seek a medical professional’s opinion on an ADHD diagnosis. 

Sleep problems 

Trouble falling asleep and staying asleep could be connected to ADHD. According to the Sleep Foundation, both types of ADHD can manifest in different sleep disturbances. For example, people with inattentive symptoms are more likely to get less sleep because they often go to bed later, while those with hyperactive-impulsive symptoms are more likely to suffer from insomnia. Those with combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive ADHD experience both difficulty sleeping and reduced sleep quality.

Time blindness

“Time Blindness” is a term used to describe the way people with ADHD process time. In some cases, you may find that you’re so hyperfocused that you lose track of time, or in other cases, you fail to notice when you need to transition to another task. The inability to properly manage time affects every aspect of your life.

Severe mood swings

Abrupt changes in mood for seemingly no reason can be related to impulsivity and other behavior-related symptoms of ADHD. If you have regular mood swings, it’s important to mention that to your medical professional. 

Impulsive shopping

Impulsive shopping or overspending is being recognized more and more during ADHD diagnosis, but it is a less common symptom. The inability to control “wants” is connected to impulsivity symptoms of ADHD and can also manifest as substance abuse issues and chronic overeating.

Difficulty forming and maintaining relationships

If you’re having difficulty forming or maintaining relationships, it could be a result of adult ADHD. Inattentiveness to your partner, forgetting important dates and details, low self-esteem, and inability to relax are all symptoms that can take a toll on your relationships. 

Low tolerance for boredom

Boredom is a definite trigger for many of the more well-known symptoms of ADHD, such as hyperactivity and lack of attention to detail. Having a low tolerance for boredom can also trigger emotions related to impulsivity, such as anger. 

Anxiety

Anxiety is increasingly connected to adult ADHD. Feeling constant unease, racing thoughts, distraction, and missing details are hallmarks of anxiety as well as ADHD.

Hypersensitivity

People with ADHD may feel hurt, offended, or suspect malintent more readily than someone without this condition. Along with hypersensitivity, low self-esteem is seen in individuals with ADHD, which goes hand in hand with how they may process criticism. 

Working memory deficit

People with ADHD sometimes fail to process stored information correctly. Working memory helps you to complete tasks that are a struggle for many people with ADHD.

ADHD diagnosis and treatment has never been easier

At Klarity, we connect you with a licensed medical provider to further discuss your symptoms, provide a diagnosis, and prescribe treatment if applicable. 

Find a provider for an online or in-person appointment today.

Sources

Onebright. “Undiagnosed ADHD? Lesser-Known Symptoms of ADHD.” https://onebright.com/advice-hub/news/undiagnosed-adhd-lesser-known-symptoms-adhd/

ADDitude Magazine. “10 Ways ADHD Can Hide in Plain Sight.” Dara Abraham, D.O. Oct. 23, 2023. https://www.additudemag.com/adhd-signs-hidden-overlooked-symptoms/

ADDitude Magazine. “Are You Time Blind? 12 Ways to Use Every Hour Effectively.”  Ari Tuckman, Psy.D., MBA. Jan. 21, 2023. https://www.additudemag.com/slideshows/stop-wasting-time/

PyschCentral. “What the ADHD Iceberg May Reveal About Your Symptoms.” Morgan Mandriota. March 11, 2022. https://psychcentral.com/adhd/the-adhd-iceberg

Healthline. “Symptoms of Adult ADHD” Rena Goldman. Feb. 16, 2024. https://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/adult-adhd

Sleep Foundation. “ADHD and Sleep.” Danielle Pacheco. Nov. 16, 2023. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/mental-health/adhd-and-sleep

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