9 Adult ADHD Symptoms That Aren’t as “Weird” as You Think

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Last Updated on

April 19th, 2024 11:23 am

Did you know that 2.8 percent of adults in the world have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)? Then again, remember that one kid with extreme restlessness always swinging on their chair in the classroom? If that sounds like you, then you’re in the right place!

But even if that doesn’t sound like you and you’ve never quite fitted in, you might still have ADHD.

So here are 9 core symptoms of adult ADHD that may indicate you have adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and aren’t so “weird” after all!

1. You’re Easily Distracted by Noise or Other Stimuli Around You

Do you find yourself easily distracted by noise, movement, or other stimuli? Do you have difficulty focusing on tasks that require sustained attention if you’re not interested in them?

Adults with ADHD often have inattentive symptoms and lose track of tasks requiring sustained focus. They find it difficult to follow directions when working on a project for more than 5 minutes. In fact, many college students report having difficulty completing assignments because they cannot stay focused on them long enough.

Sustained attention is critical for success in school and work. Without this skill, your chances of getting into trouble, dropping out of high school, or even losing your job increase dramatically.

As we age, our brain differences become more noticeable; we naturally lose some mental abilities, making symptoms worse. This can include memory, language processing, reasoning, judgment, and problem-solving. It also includes cognitive processes such as paying close attention and following instructions.

Most importantly, it includes executive functions — like planning, organizing, prioritizing, focusing, and staying organized.

2. Your Memory Isn’t Great

Do you forget names, dates, appointments and phone numbers? Do you make careless mistakes because you misplace items you were looking for? Or do you simply not understand why someone would want to talk to you after forgetting how to say hello?

These classic symptoms of inattention in adult ADHD may also include problems remembering conversations you had recently. These types of lapses in short-term memory could be due to poor organization skills, brain injury, or comorbid sleep disorders such as Sleep Apnea.

Many adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder become overwhelmed and stressed when faced with too much information coming in all at once.

For example, they may get so excited about an idea that they end up talking non-stop without taking notes. When asked later to explain their thoughts, ideas, or plans, they may not recall any details. Instead, they’ll likely tell you something completely different.

Student with glasses and long hair looking confused

ADHD causes many issues with short-term memory and distraction

3. You Feel Restless All Day Long.

Are you constantly fidgeting? Are you unable to sit still even though there is nothing else to do? People with adult ADHD move more than others. They may tap their feet, pace back and forth, click their fingers, drum their hands on desks or tables, or chew gum excessively. These behaviors can be distracting to others and make it difficult for them to concentrate.

Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder often feel restless all day long. They may have difficulty sitting still for even short periods of time and may be constantly moving around, looking for something to do or some way to release their energy. This can make it difficult for them to focus on tasks that require sustained attention, such as reading or studying.

It can also make it hard for them to stay in one place for too long, such as in a classroom or at work. That’s because they’re trying to get Dopamine into their brains. Think of it like an itch that always needs scratching to relieve the pain.

4. You Have Trouble Organizing Daily Tasks, Projects or Activities

When it comes to adult ADHD symptoms, one of the most common signs is difficulty with prioritizing tasks, setting goals, and following through on them. This can lead to procrastination and a feeling of being overwhelmed. It can be easy to mistake this for someone simply “being weird” or not taking their responsibilities seriously.

You may spend hours planning out everything you need to accomplish before leaving home. But then leave half-finished lists lying about the house until you realize you never did anything. Organizing tasks, projects, and activities can be difficult for adults with mental disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

They may have difficulty prioritizing tasks, setting goals, and following through on them. This can lead to procrastination and a feeling of being overwhelmed. So when it comes time to work on something, you’ll likely become overwhelmed with too much information and end up doing little. As a result, you may not finish tasks or projects on time.

5. You Frequently Miss Deadlines or Fail to Meet Goals

When given a project deadline, you may start working on it right away without thinking through every detail first. As soon as you finish writing, however, you may notice that you forgot some important points.

You may also find yourself procrastinating when it comes to completing tasks, even though you know that the deadline is looming. This can be especially true if the task is complex and requires a lot of focus. You may feel overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to be done and put off starting until it’s too late.

You may also find yourself setting unrealistic goals for yourself, such as trying to finish a project in one day when it would normally take a week. This can lead to frustration and feelings of failure when you don’t meet your own expectations.

Or maybe you spent so much time trying to complete a task that you didn’t actually achieve very much. Either way, missing deadlines or failing to meet goals is another indicator of adult ADHD.

6. You Struggle With Decision Making

When faced with choices, you usually ask yourself “What am I going to do?” rather than asking “Which option should I choose?”. This is because adults with ADHD often struggle to make decisions.

While it seems obvious which choice is best, you probably won’t decide based solely on logic. Instead, you’ll weigh options according to whether you prefer them over the others.

For example, if you’re deciding between two jobs, you may take into account factors like pay, benefits, location and commute time.

You may find yourself second-guessing every decision you make, or you may take too long to make a decision. This can lead to feelings of frustration and confusion, as well as difficulty in completing tasks on time.

Young girl with pink hear and heavy quirky blue makeup looking anxious

Your quirky, impulsive personality isn’t weird – And if is, then so what? Embrace it!

7. You Struggle Controlling Impulsive Behaviors

Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder have impulsive behaviours such as symptoms of hyperactivity that cause them to engage in risky behavior without realizing the potential negative outcomes. What’s more, they often don’t seem bothered by this type of behavior. In fact, many find it exciting as it stimulates the brain.

Impulsive behaviors in social interactions include interrupting conversations, blurting out inappropriate comments, or making rash decisions.These behaviors can be embarrassing and may even lead to social rejection.

However, impulsivity can also cause problems in relationships and at work and lead to more severe implications. Disruptive behavior, if not channeled and nurtured into creativity and innovation, can turn into antisocial behavior. Even worse, it could lead to a life of crime and substance abuse thanks to the inability to regulate Dopamine in the brain.

8. You Experience Mood Swings

Do you find yourself getting angry or frustrated easily? Do you have difficulty controlling your emotions and reactions to situations? People with adult ADHD often struggle to regulate their emotions. They may become overwhelmed by negative feelings and react impulsively without thinking through the consequences of their actions.

This can lead to outbursts of anger, frustration, and even depression. Your emotions swing wildly throughout the day: happy one minute, sad the next, angry the next, depressed the next. If you have difficulty maintaining consistent feelings, it could mean you have adult ADHD. It’s normal to go through ups and downs in life, but if your mood changes often, you may have mental health conditions like mood disorders or anxiety disorders.

Relationships can be difficult for anyone, but people with adult ADHD typically experience problems relating to other adults. Often, they struggle to maintain friendships because it requires a mental effort unachievable with the overwhelming demands of modern living.

If your relationship has recently ended, chances are good that you were having difficulty focusing on the person. And since your brain isn’t processing things clearly enough, you weren’t able to communicate effectively either.

9. You Lack Motivation

It doesn’t matter how motivated you are, you simply cannot motivate yourself to begin certain types of tasks. It could be homework, daily activities around the house, exercise, hobbies or socializing with friends. What’s more, you may find yourself procrastinating on tasks that you know need to be done.

Whatever it is, you’ll put off starting until you absolutely must. Meanwhile, you’ll forget why you wanted to start in the first place.

In extreme cases, this can lead to development of social phobia and agoraphobia, where someone’s too scared to leave the house. For others, the challenge of wanting to do something but avoiding it at all costs may be a sign of Pathological Demand Avoidance. Thus, in most cases, a psychiatric evaluation and treatment for Adult ADHD and Autism is well worth considering.

Asian woman at desk with head on hand looking bored and daydreaming

Many people might see daydreaming as rude, when in reality you’re struggling to process the world around you.

Adult ADHD Symptoms Are a Blessing and a Curse

The good news is that there is hope for managing adult ADHD symptoms. There are many effective treatments available today. Treatment options include medication and behavioral therapy.

Medication can help reduce levels of anxiety and depression, while also improving concentration and attention span. Behavioral therapies target specific problems such as impulse control issues, poor organizational skills and difficulties making decisions. Both types of treatment will improve your quality of life.

If any of these adult ADHD symptoms sound familiar, it’s time to talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. Adult ADHD is a real disorder and can be managed with proper treatment. Don’t let the fear of being labeled “weird” stop you from getting the help you need. After all, being “weird” is something to embrace!

Keep reading our awesome content on ADHD (but only if you’re hyperfocusing!).


Q: What is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, formerly Attention Deficit Disorder, is diagnosed by primary care providers in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5 by the American Psychiatric Association.

There are three common types of this developmental disorder (inattentive type, hyperactive type, or combined type). So it’s possible you have ADHD without that desire to bounce around the room aimlessly.

Q: What are the symptoms of Adult ADHD?

While ADHD is often associated with children, it is a lifelong condition that can persist into adulthood. In fact, many adults with ADHD may not even realize they have it because their symptoms may have been overlooked or attributed to other causes. Here are 9 common symptoms of adult ADHD:

  1. Difficulty staying organized: Adults with ADHD often struggle with organization and time management. They may have difficulty keeping track of their belongings, forget important appointments or deadlines, and struggle to prioritize tasks.
  1. Poor concentration and attention: Adults with ADHD may have difficulty focusing on tasks, often getting easily distracted. They may find it challenging to concentrate for extended periods of time and may frequently switch between tasks.
  1. Impulsivity: Impulsive behavior is a hallmark symptom of ADHD. Adults with ADHD may find it difficult to think before acting or speaking, frequently interrupting others in conversation. They may also engage in impulsive and risky behaviors without considering the consequences.
  1. Hyperactivity: While hyperactivity tends to decrease in adults with ADHD compared to children, some adults may still experience restlessness and a constant need to keep moving. They may also have difficulty sitting still for long periods of time.
  2. Chronic lateness: Adults with ADHD often struggle with time management, which can result in chronic lateness. They may underestimate the time it takes to complete tasks or underestimate how long it will take to get ready for appointments or events.
  1. Poor impulse control: Impulse control is a common challenge for adults with ADHD. They may struggle to resist immediate temptations or impulses, leading to impulsive spending, overeating, or engaging in risky behaviors.
  1. Difficulty with relationships: Adults with ADHD may have difficulty maintaining healthy relationships. They may struggle with listening, empathizing, and paying attention to their partner or friends. This can lead to misunderstandings, frustration, and conflict in relationships.
  1. Mood swings: Adults with ADHD may experience frequent mood swings. They may feel overwhelmed, frustrated, or irritable, and these mood shifts can occur without any apparent trigger. The intensity and duration of these mood swings may vary from person to person.
  1. Chronic procrastination: Procrastination is a common struggle for adults with ADHD. They may have difficulty initiating tasks and struggle to stay motivated to complete them. This can lead to a cycle of stress and frustration as deadlines approach.

Q: How is ADHD treated?

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that requires a multidimensional approach to treatment. The management of adult ADHD typically involves a combination of medication, therapy, and lifestyle modifications.

  1. Medication: Stimulant medications such as methylphenidate (Ritalin) and amphetamines (Adderall) are commonly prescribed to manage ADHD symptoms in adults. These medications work by increasing the levels of certain chemicals in the brain that help regulate attention and impulse control. Non-stimulant medications like atomoxetine (Strattera) may also be prescribed if stimulants are ineffective or not well-tolerated.
  1. Therapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is often recommended as a part of treatment for adult ADHD. CBT focuses on helping individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and develop effective coping strategies to manage symptoms. This therapy can also assist with improving time management skills, organization, and emotional regulation.
  1. Lifestyle modifications: Making certain lifestyle modifications can also be beneficial in managing adult ADHD symptoms. This includes creating structure and routines, setting realistic goals, and using visual aids or reminders to stay organized. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and adequate sleep can also contribute to overall well-being and improve symptoms of ADHD.

Q: How do I get an ADHD diagnosis?

To get an ADHD diagnosis as an adult, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional who specializes in mental health or ADHD. Here are the general steps involved in the diagnostic process:

  1. Initial assessment: The first step is a comprehensive clinical interview with a healthcare provider. They will ask about your medical history, symptoms, and any difficulties you may be experiencing in different areas of your life, such as work, relationships, or daily tasks.
  1. Screening tools: To aid in the diagnosis, the health care provider may use specific screening tools or questionnaires designed to assess persisiting childhood symptoms and their impact on your life. These tools can help provide objective information and assist with making an accurate diagnosis.
  1. Careful observation: The health care professional will observe your behavior and assess if your persistent symptoms align with the criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which is the standard reference used by healthcare professionals to diagnose Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in adult patients.
  1. Rule out other conditions: It is important to rule out other potential causes of your symptoms in everyday life, such as physical health, depression, anxiety, or other issues such as substance misuse that can mimic ADHD. This may involve further testing or collaboration with other specialists, such as psychologists or neurologists.
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Rob Butler
30-Something Millennial with ADHD and suspected Autistic and Dyspraxic. Thought leader behind this website. Big visions of a better future for everyone, but forgets where he is half the time.Loves Rugby, his kids, and anything silly. Hates U2 and Marmite.

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