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Getting the Right Diagnosis: Why Adult ADHD Often Goes Unnoticed

by Melissa Bell
3 minutes read

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a condition that is often diagnosed in children. Although this disorder has received a lot of attention and is now better understood, there is one group that is not being given the same consideration as children. Adults suffer from this condition just as much as children, but they often are not diagnosed for many years or at all. Understanding why this condition often goes unnoticed in adults is essential.

Many Adults Do Not Know They Have ADHD

According to Len Adler, M.D., a psychiatry professor at New York University, around 75% of adults with ADHD do not know they have the disorder. Even though three million adults are diagnosed with Adult ADHD each year, this disorder is still considered primarily a childhood condition. Many believe Behavioral Healthcare Mattresses should be a part of treatment for patients of all ages.

This disorder typically begins in childhood and continues through adulthood. Many sufferers have never been diagnosed with this disorder. Even though ADHD was discovered back in 1978, there is still much misunderstood surrounding the symptoms adult ADHD sufferers face.


ADHD Symptoms Change in Adults

In childhood, ADHD is characterized by frequent bouts of hyperactivity. Children often cannot sit still and have trouble following directions. In adulthood, hyperactivity starts to fade, but adults still face problems with paying attention, recklessness, and impulsiveness. The symptoms of Adult ADHD include the following.

  • Impulsiveness that interferes with making sound decisions;
  • Issues staying focused on tasks at school or work;
  • Poor time management skills and poor planning;
  • Low tolerance for frustration;
  • Frequent difficulty controlling mood and emotions;
  • Disorganization and issues with prioritizing tasks;
  • Anger issues and outbursts;
  • Problems coping with stressful situations.

The above can vary in intensity and sometimes interferes more with some adult’s lives than others. Knowing the causes of this disorder and seeking medical help can assist adults in finding treatments and therapy that can help them better manage their symptoms.

What Causes Adult ADHD?

As research continues, scientists are learning what causes ADHD so it can be treated more effectively. The primary cause of this disorder is more genetic than environmental. People who have a relative with ADHD are more likely to be diagnosed with the disorder. Environmental factors, such as lead exposure, can also cause the condition to develop. Those who were born prematurely are also at a greater risk of developing ADHD.

See the Doctor for a Diagnosis

If someone is experiencing the above symptoms, it would be wise for them to seek a medical diagnosis right away. This disorder is highly treatable with medication and therapy. No one should have to continue suffering from a disorder that can interfere with their daily lives. Seeking treatment as soon as possible will allow for better management of the unwanted symptoms.

A diagnosis of ADHD is reached via a physical exam, to rule out any other health concerns. The individual will also undergo psychological tests to determine if they have the disorder.


ADHD is still thought to be more of a childhood disorder than one affecting adults. Clearly, this is an issue that needs more attention so adults understand the symptoms to look for so they will know if they need medical intervention. While early intervention in childhood offers highly effective treatment, even adults who begin therapy and medication report improvements in their symptoms.

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