What Does ADHD Look Like in Adults?

Few adults with ADHD are diagnosed and treated for it. A psychiatrist in Gaithersburg, MD offers guidance on detecting ADHD in adults.

When people think of ADHD, they typically envision unruly children who have trouble sitting still and paying attention. But adults can also have ADHD. Unfortunately, very few of these adults are diagnosed and treated for it. 

All adults with ADHD have had it since they were a child. But for whatever reason, they were not diagnosed with it at the time. If you think you might have ADHD, there are numerous treatment options available for you to try. 

In our latest blog post, a psychiatrist in Gaithersburg, MD examines ADHD in adults and how they can receive treatment.

ADHD in Adults: Signs and Symptoms

A psychiatrist in Gaithersburg, MD reviews the most common signs of ADHD in adults.

An old woman with headache.
Adults with ADHD may struggle with restlessness, anxiety, and forgetfulness.

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), 2.5% of adults have ADHD. However, the National Institute of Mental Health believes that the actual numbers might be higher than those reported. Many people of all ages with the condition go undiagnosed. Untreated ADHD can cause significant social and educational problems for people. That’s why it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the common symptoms of ADHD

  • Inability to stay focused on tasks
  • Getting distracted easily
  • Troubles with time management
  • Acting impulsively like rushing through tasks or acting without thoroughly thinking of the consequences
  • Constantly forgetting tasks or important dates
  • Restlessness and anxiety

Let’s take a closer look at them.

Trouble Focusing

Having a lack of focus is often associated with ADHD. But this impairment in concentration skills goes beyond simply zoning out or losing focus during a boring lecture. ADHD patients can easily get distracted, have trouble listening to others, overlook details, and struggle to complete tasks. 

On the flip side, someone with ADHD may have hyperfocus. This occurs when someone becomes so engrossed in something that they lose awareness of their surroundings. During hyperfocus, a person can easily lose track of time and accidentally ignore people around them.

Time Management Issues

Time management and organization issues can also be a sign of ADHD in someone. Adults with ADHD have trouble managing tasks. As a result, they may consistently procrastinate on tasks, show up late to meetings, or even put off assignments that don’t interest them. This can cause numerous problems in both their personal and professional life. 

Acting Impulsively

Impulse control may also be a problem in adults with ADHD. They may be prone to interrupting people during conversations, rushing through tasks, and acting before thoroughly thinking about the potential consequences of their actions. Impulse buying is another common symptom of people with ADHD. 


People with ADHD may have memory problems. While it’s normal to forget tasks or dates every once in a while, people with ADHD may forget important dates and events. They may also forget things so much that it begins to disrupt their everyday life. People may no longer see this person as trustworthy or reliable. In the long run, this can harm one’s personal and professional relationships. 

Restlessness and Anxiety

For some adults with ADHD, it feels as if they can’t turn off their internal motor. They can’t stop moving, and may even get frustrated when there’s nothing for them to do. Signs of restlessness may manifest in constant fidgeting, tapping, and moving around.  

Treatment Options for Adults with ADHD

Adults with ADHD are typically treated with a combination of therapy and medication.

two women are discussing
In order to get the most from your treatment, you need to assess how ADHD affects you.

Most adults with ADHD are treated with talk therapy and medication. Not all treatments are the same and are typically tailored and adjusted according to the individual patient. Your doctor will conduct a thorough assessment to determine how ADHD affects you in particular. Maybe you have trouble communicating with your partner. Or you feel that you are falling behind at work. Your therapist can help you address these specific problems.

As for finding the right medication, it often includes some trial and error before you and your physician finds one that works for you. Some medications may work at first, but lose their effectiveness over time. Others may cause severe and unpleasant side effects. That’s why it is important to stay motivated and engaged in trying out new treatments during this sometimes long process.  

Living with untreated ADHD can cause significant issues in a person’s personal and professional life. But it is never too late to diagnose and treat ADHD. If you or someone you know may have ADHD, it’s crucial to reach out to a physician for assistance. They can diagnose you and get you the help and treatment you need.

If you are looking for a psychiatrist in Gaithersburg, MD, consider reaching out to the Psych Associates of Maryland. Our expert therapists can help you get back on track to living a healthier and more fulfilling life. Contact one of our team members today to get started!


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