Understanding ADHD in Adults: Questions and Answers

Polygon
3 min readApr 17, 2023

What is ADHD in adults?

ADHD stands for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, a condition that affects an individual’s ability to focus, control impulses, and regulate behavior. It is a condition that can continue from childhood into adulthood, and recent data suggests that roughly one-third of children with ADHD continue to meet diagnostic criteria through adulthood, while around 65% still experience significant symptoms.

What are some reasons why ADHD in adults is often undiagnosed?

There are several key reasons why ADHD in adults often remains undiagnosed. Firstly, hyperactivity and impulsivity tend to naturally decrease with neurocognitive maturity, and thus adults are more likely to display features of the inattentive subtype of ADHD. Secondly, while environmental demands during school years are relatively consistent among children and young adults, they vary enormously in adulthood as individuals enter the workforce. Lastly, the symptoms of ADHD can be difficult to understand and identify in adults as they are both nonspecific to ADHD (i.e., other things can cause these symptoms) and they may be masked by coping mechanisms developed over many years.

What are some symptoms of ADHD in adults?

Symptoms of ADHD in adults include trouble completing tasks, restlessness, excessive talking, needing drugs or alcohol to relax, health problems, divorce, and poor career outcomes. These symptoms can be difficult to understand in adults as they are both nonspecific to ADHD and may be masked by coping mechanisms developed over many years.

What are some negative outcomes associated with untreated ADHD in adults?

Adults with untreated ADHD are more likely to suffer from mood disorders, health problems, divorce, and poor career outcomes.

What are some treatment options for adult ADHD?

There are a variety of treatment options that have been proven effective for managing adult ADHD, including cognitive behavior therapy and stimulant medication. Therapy is particularly important in newly diagnosed adults as they often have experienced considerable interpersonal dysfunction and emotional distress secondary to years of untreated ADHD.

What is cognitive behavior therapy?

Cognitive behavior therapy is a type of talk therapy that helps individuals identify negative thoughts and behaviors and learn coping skills to change them. It is an effective treatment option for managing adult ADHD.

What are stimulant medications used in the treatment of adult ADHD?

Stimulant medications are commonly used in the treatment of adult ADHD to help improve attention and control impulsivity.

Is there a cure for adult ADHD?

Currently, there is no cure for adult ADHD, but effective management strategies can significantly improve quality of life.

Can adults with ADHD achieve high levels of functioning?

Many adults with ADHD can achieve high levels of functioning, but it often requires immense effort and can be an emotional burden that may cause anxiety or depression.

Is it ever too late to get diagnosed with ADHD as an adult?

It is never too late to get diagnosed with ADHD as an adult. While diagnosis of ADHD in adults is challenging, seeking treatment can significantly improve quality of life.

Looking for an ADHD test? Check out Polygon — we offer remote evaluations and support for ADHD, dyslexia, and other learning differences.

--

--

Polygon

Polygon is a new kind of psychology practice specializing in online testing and support for dyslexia, ADHD, and other learning differences.