ADHD is not just a disorder of childhood and affects approximately 2.5% of adults. The disorder is usually picked up during childhood or adolescence, but for many adults this diagnosis has been missed.
You don’t have to be hyperactive to have ADHD
Adults with ADHD are much less likely to be hyperactive than their younger counterparts. Only a small slice of adults with ADHD, in fact, suffer from prominent symptoms of hyperactivity.
Symptoms of Adult ADHD
The main symptoms of Adult ADHD are:
- Trouble concentrating and staying focused
- Disorganization and forgetfulness
- Emotional difficulties
- Hyperactivity or restlessness
At Go Psychology, we are experts in assisting adults with ADHD. We will assist you to effectively manage the symptoms of ADHD so that you can live a fulfilling life and not affect the people around you who matter.
Call us now on (07) 55908212.
Trouble concentrating and staying focused
Adults with ADD/ADHD often have difficulty staying focused and attending to daily, mundane tasks. For example, you may be easily distracted by irrelevant sights and sounds, quickly bounce from one activity to another, or become bored quickly. Symptoms in this category are sometimes overlooked because they are less outwardly disruptive than the ADD/ADHD symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity—but they can be every bit as troublesome. The symptoms of inattention and concentration difficulties include:
- “zoning out” without realizing it, even in the middle of a conversation.
- extreme distractibility; wandering attention makes it hard to stay on track.
- difficulty paying attention or focusing, such as when reading or listening to others.
- struggling to complete tasks, even ones that seem simple.
- tendency to overlook details, leading to errors or incomplete work.
- poor listening skills; hard time remembering conversations and following directions.
While you’re probably aware that people with ADD/ADHD have trouble focusing on tasks that aren’t interesting to them, you may not know that there’s another side: a tendency to become absorbed in tasks that are stimulating and rewarding. This paradoxical symptom is called hyperfocus.
Hyperfocus is actually a coping mechanism for distraction—a way of tuning out the chaos. It can be so strong that you become oblivious to everything going on around you. For example, you may be so engrossed in a book, a TV show, or your computer that you completely lose track of time and neglect the things you’re supposed to be doing. Hyperfocus can be an asset when channeled into productive activities, but it can also lead to work and relationship problems if left unchecked.
Disorganization and forgetfulness
When you have adult ADD/ADHD, life often seems chaotic and out of control. Staying organized and on top of things can be extremely challenging—as is sorting out what information is relevant for the task at hand, prioritizing the things you need to do, keeping track of tasks and responsibilities, and managing your time. Common symptoms of disorganization and forgetfulness include:
- poor organizational skills (home, office, desk, or car is extremely messy and cluttered)
- tendency to procrastinate
- trouble starting and finishing projects
- chronic lateness
- frequently forgetting appointments, commitments, and deadlines
- constantly losing or misplacing things (keys, wallet, phone, documents, bills)
- underestimating the time it will take you to complete tasks
If you suffer from symptoms in this category, you may have trouble inhibiting your behaviors, comments, and responses. You might act before thinking, or react without considering consequences. You may find yourself interrupting others, blurting out comments, and rushing through tasks without reading instructions. If you have impulse problems, being patient is extremely difficult. For better or for worse, you may go headlong into situations and find yourself in potentially risky circumstances. You may struggle with controlling impulses if you:
- frequently interrupt others or talk over them
- have poor self-control
- blurt out thoughts that are rude or inappropriate without thinking
- have addictive tendencies
- act recklessly or spontaneously without regard for consequences
- have trouble behaving in socially appropriate ways (such as sitting still during a long meeting)
Many adults with ADD/ADHD have a hard time managing their feelings, especially when it comes to emotions like anger or frustration. Common emotional symptoms of adult ADD/ADHD include:
- sense of underachievement
- doesn’t deal well with frustration
- easily flustered and stressed out
- irritability or mood swings
- trouble staying motivated
- hypersensitivity to criticism
- short, often explosive, temper
- low self-esteem and sense of insecurity
Hyperactivity or restlessness
Hyperactivity in adults with ADD/ADHD can look the same as it does in kids. You may be highly energetic and perpetually “on the go” as if driven by a motor. For many people with ADD/ADHD, however, the symptoms of hyperactivity become more subtle and internal as they grow older. Common symptoms of hyperactivity in adults include:
- feelings of inner restlessness, agitation
- tendency to take risks
- getting bored easily
- racing thoughts
- trouble sitting still; constant fidgeting
- craving for excitement
- talking excessively
- doing a million things at once
Self Help Tips to Manage Adult ADHD
There is a lot you can do to help yourself and get your symptoms under control.
- Exercise and eat right. Exercise vigorously and regularly—it helps work off excess energy and aggression in a positive way and soothes and calms the body. Eat a wide variety of healthy foods and limit sugary foods in order to even out mood swings.
- Get plenty of sleep. When you’re tired, it’s even more difficult to focus, manage stress, stay productive, and keep on top of your responsibilities. Support yourself by getting between 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
- Practice better time management. Set deadlines for everything, even for seemingly small tasks. Use timers and alarms to stay on track. Take breaks at regular intervals. Avoid piles of paperwork or procrastination by dealing with each item as it comes in. Prioritize time-sensitive tasks and write down every assignment, message, or important thought.
- Work on your relationships. Schedule activities with friends and keep your engagements. Be vigilant in conversation: listen when others are speaking and try not to speak too quickly yourself. Cultivate relationships with people who are sympathetic and understanding of your struggles with ADD/ADHD.
- Create a supportive work environment. Make frequent use of lists, color-coding, reminders, notes-to-self, rituals, and files. If possible, choose work that motivates and interests you. Notice how and when you work best and apply these conditions to your working environment as best you can. It can help to team up with less creative, more organized people—a partnership that can be mutually beneficial.
- Pursue your strengths – find out the things that you are good at and set your life up so you can maximize your strengths.
If you or any family member need assistance or treatment we are here to help.
You can contact us 24 hours, 7 days a week on 07 5580 9212 or visit our contact us page for more information.