Understanding ADHD in Adults – Common Symptoms and Challenges

Many adults who have undiagnosed ADHD struggle to keep up with daily demands. They may be left with unfinished tasks and missed appointments that stress them out.

They may have been labeled a dreamer, goof-off or slacker throughout their childhood and feel like they’re not living up to their potential. Their challenges could extend to their careers and household responsibilities.


People with ADHD are often distracted and have trouble staying focused. They may be easily distracted by something interesting or exciting, such as a video game, social life, or work. This can lead to a loss of focus and cause misunderstandings in their relationships, says CHADD.

Distractions in adults don’t usually manifest as the more overt hyperactivity seen in children, but they can still be disruptive to their daily lives. For example, they may fidget with their hands or feet, have trouble sitting in a classroom or work meeting, or quickly explode in anger.

Women who struggle with ADHD can be particularly challenging for others to understand, leading to misdiagnosis and lack of treatment. They might be labeled as dreamers, goof-offs or slackers instead of seeing their challenges as symptoms of their condition.


For people with ADHD adult, restlessness can become a major cause of stress. As adults, we often have more responsibilities than in childhood, including career pursuits, raising children and running a household. If you have difficulty maintaining a steady schedule, find that your attention wanders during conversations and feel overwhelmed by everyday stresses, it could be time to talk to a counselor about getting help for your ADHD symptoms.

Symptoms of ADHD adult are often more subtle than in children, but they can be just as challenging to deal with. For example, you get so absorbed in a task that you forget to pay attention to others or misunderstand what is being said. These behaviors can be difficult for your significant other to handle.


When adults with ADHD are not diagnosed or properly treated, it can lead to chronic stress and feelings of failure. These feelings can impact self-esteem and confidence.

For example, impulsive behaviors like blurting out answers before questions are finished or making decisions without considering the consequences can cause relationship conflict. Adults with ADHD may also have trouble sustaining focus during conversations. That can lead to miscommunication and misunderstandings, which can cause problems in marriages, friendships and the workplace.

Additionally, daydreaming or zoning out can occur in conversations or when they’re working. This can make it difficult to follow instructions, complete tasks, or remember appointments. Adults with ADHD must try strategies such as requesting quiet workspaces, listening to music or using noise-canceling headphones to help maintain focus.


People with ADHD often find themselves bored and distracted. For example, they may put off a project requiring extended attention or hyper-focus on something else—like an adrenaline activity or a video game—that diverts their energy.

These behaviors can be a big problem, especially when they impact your relationships. Your partner may need help to talk to, or you might need to be more active at work. You could even have difficulty understanding why someone is upset with you.

It is important to recognize boredom symptoms, like daydreaming or zoning out, so you can replace them with more productive activities. Your therapist will also help you identify and address emotional triggers through mindfulness and other techniques. Find an experienced therapist near you on the world’s largest therapy service.


A person with inattentive ADHD has trouble focusing on a task, paying attention to details and remembering important information. These issues often lead to problems at work, home or school.

People with inattentive ADHD are prone to misplacing things like keys, phones or papers. They may also forget about appointments and responsibilities or have trouble judging how long it will take them to do a task.

If you notice yourself frequently forgetting appointments, putting off tasks or failing to follow through on commitments, you should speak with a healthcare provider or mental health professional about ADHD. A full evaluation is necessary to rule out other conditions or illnesses that can cause symptoms that resemble those of ADHD. In addition, the evaluating professional will consider your mood and medical history.