Adult ADHD: Symptoms Causes & Types

What do Walt Disney and Will Smith have in common? While both their first names start with the same letter, they also had difficulties with paying attention and impulsive behavior throughout their lives. Yes, you guessed it… both Walt and Will have experienced living with Adult ADHD.

While ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that’s commonly found in children, Adult ADHD can cause grown-ups to struggle with things like disorganization and procrastination, as well as basic time management skills. It’s a very real condition that’s actually surprisingly common, but Adult ADHD, unfortunately, is undiagnosed in many people which can lead to difficulties at work, relationship issues, and mental health problems like depression and low self-esteem.

Symptoms Of Adult ADHD

adult adhd person

While most ADHD symptoms are typically noticed during childhood, there are many adults out there who don’t even realize they have ADHD. They just know they often struggle with the same everyday tasks and other challenges.

The most common symptoms of Adult ADHD are impulsiveness, restlessness, and paying attention. Sufferers may also have difficulties prioritizing their lives and focusing on projects, which can cause missed deadlines and a variety of other issues.

Some people have fewer symptoms as they get older, whereas others have major symptoms that continually interfere with their day-to-day functioning. So because ADHD symptoms can affect everyone in varying degrees, and symptom severity can also change during their lifetime, psychiatrists will usually designate symptom severity as mild, moderate, or severe.

Causes Of Adult ADHD

Despite decades of research and studies, the causes of ADHD are still yet to be determined. That being said, scientists have discovered there is strong evidence to support that this complex disorder runs in families and is caused by multiple interacting genes. ADHD is also believed to have a strong neurological link, as research suggests it causes a reduction in dopamine.

Scientists are also continuing their research into the relationship between the disorder and a variety of potential environmental factors, such as smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol during pregnancy. But so far there’s no single environmental source that could undoubtedly explain the cause of Adult ADHD.

Types Of Adult ADHD

The official Diagnostic Criteria lists three main types of Adult ADHD presentations which differ according to the most common symptoms. Because these symptoms can often change as they age, adults can be diagnosed with different presentations of Adult ADHD over time.

Predominantly Impulsive & Hyperactive ADHD – The least common of the three, someone with this type of Adult ADHD will feel impulsive as well as an almost constant need to move. But they will have no issues with inattention or distractions.

Predominantly Inattentive ADHD – While there are no feelings of impulsivity or hyperactivity with this type of ADHD, they will have difficulties paying attention and get distracted very easily.

Combined Presentation ADHD – By far the most common type of ADHD, someone with this presentation will be hyperactive and impulsive at times, while also struggling with attention and distractions.

In The End

It’s not easy living with Adult ADHD, but there are plenty of us who’ve found ways to successfully live with the disorder. After all, Walt created the Disneyland entertainment empire and Will is one of the most successful actors ever. So there’s always hope for you too. You’ve got this!