ADHD, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a common diagnosis among children, and it was initially believed that kids with ADHD would eventually "outgrow" the disorder in their teens or early adult life.
Recent studies suggest that this is simply not the case for everyone. It's now estimated that of children diagnosed with ADHD, 50% continue to experience symptoms throughout their lives.
Many adults with ADHD only recognise their own symptomsonce their own child has been diagnosed with the disorder.
So, what exactly are the symptoms of adult ADHD?
1. You lack organisational skills
Are you constantly searching for something? You can never find your car keys, cell phone and important documentation. Your desk is a mountain of paperwork, you miss appointments and frequently forget to pay your bills.
If staying organised is a challenge for you, consider breaking up your tasks into smaller steps. Using reminders and calendars is a great way to stay on top of things.
2. You're easily distracted
When you're talking to someone, your mind wanders and you have difficulty focusing. You often get so caught up thinking about something else that you lose track of what's been said to you.
Your open-plan office is a nightmare. You constantly feel like you're being interrupted and wish there was a way of blocking everyone else out.
Concentration can be a major issue for people with ADHD. Try minimising other stimuli when you're working or studying. Put your cellphone on silent and avoid having the TV on or listening to music. Where possible, try to find a quiet place without distractions where you can study or get your work done.
3. You're always procrastinating
Do you always put off your deadlines, studies and other important tasks? Do you feel like you're always leaving everything to the last minute?
People with ADHD often say that they're constantly procrastinating. It's believed that this could be because the only time that they can concentrate is when they're under immense pressure or stress. This ongoing stress can have a negative effect on their health.
Try using a daily planner or schedule that can help you keep track of what you need to do. This will help you to better manage your time.
4. You struggled at school
You struggled to listen to your teacher and were often in trouble for drifting off. Reading, exams and projects were a complete nightmare for you, and your school results often reflected this.
Patterns of disorganisation and lack of concentration can often be picked up by examining a person’s school history. Adults with ADHD often report having to work much harder than their peers in order to cope at school.
5. You're a smoker
A cigarette is the only thing that keeps you calm, and it's easier for you to focus on your work after smoking.
It's estimated that 40% of people with ADHD smoke, compared to only 26% in the general population. It's often only once someone stops smoking that they realise they have symptoms of ADHD.
It's also been shown that people with ADHD have a higher chance of using alcohol and drugs than people without ADHD. Those with ADHD are also more likely to start using these substances at a younger age than the average person.
6. Relationship issues
Your partner, friends and family often complain that you don’t listen to them. They feel that you don’t care about them and may even call you self-centred.
You prefer the beginning, the "honeymoon stage" of a relationship where you're excited and full of lust. Once a relationship becomes stable and predictable, you become bored and your relationship falls apart.
Relationship problems are an extremely common feature among those with ADHD. Because people with ADHD have difficulty concentrating, their partners often feel neglected, ignored and unimportant.
Because people with ADHD are also often disorganised, they often forget simple household and family-related chores such as picking up the kids from school. This can put immense strain on family relationships.
7. You have a child with ADHD
Studies indicate that there could be a genetic component to ADHD. It's estimated that if one family member has ADHD, there's at least a 25% chance that another member may also have it.
As mentioned previously, adults often only recognise their own symptoms once their child has been diagnosed with ADHD.
8. You're extremely impulsive
You often make quick decisions without properly considering the consequences. You may have walked out of your job on the spot or bought a brand new car without allowing yourself time to weigh up the pros and cons of your decision.
Impulsivity is probably the most risky symptom of ADHD. This can lead to unprotected sex, excessive drug or alcohol abuse, and other dangerous decisions. Because of this, it's important that you seek treatment quickly if you suspect you may have ADHD.
8. You get angry easily
You lose your temper extremely quickly. Little things make you very angry. You can be screaming and shouting one moment and then laughing and smiling the next.
People with ADHD often have difficulty controlling their emotions. Minor issues are enough to trigger an angry outburst. However, the anger can fade away as quickly as it arose. This can also contribute to relationship problems as conflict isn't properly resolved.
10. You're a thrill-seeker
You enjoy driving fast, gambling and would love to go skydiving. You're keen to try anything that may give you a rush.
People who have ADHD often enjoy stimulating activities that are novel and exciting. This may be because they enjoy the adrenalin rush that comes with engaging in such activities.
This is also linked to impulsivity and, once again, can result in risky behaviour. It's important to focus this desire for adventure onto activities that won't negatively impact your life or relationships. Adventure sports such as parasailing, surfing or skateboarding are great activities for thrill-seekers.