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ADHD in Adults

Eileen Rosewater

mount st. mary's university campus

Just like with kids, adults with ADHD have trouble with hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity. While these symptoms tend to change and/or become less noticeable as one gets older, it is still important to recognize these symptoms and seek help if needed. You can re-visit my last two posts for a quick review of common symptoms of ADHD in individuals.

By definition, ADHD is a developmental disorder that causes delays in one's ability to control and/or regulate one's emotion, behavior, and attention. Over time, individuals with ADHD become better at self-regulating, but will most likely still have some delays compared to others their age.  Teenagers with ADHD will have more self-control than they did when they were five years old. As daily expectations shift with age, individuals with ADHD will struggle to keep up with these expectations, due to their developmental delay. According to Nationwide Children's Hospital, some of these expectations are:

Academic Expectations: 

  • managing long-term and more complex tasks 
  • staying focused for extended periods 
  • keeping track of assignments 

Social Expectations: 

  • respecting personal space 
  • compromising 
  • taking turns 
  • reading social cues 
  • listening to others 

Behavioral Expectations: 

  • completing chores 
  • time management 
  • driving safely 
  • maintaining hygiene 
  • participating in extracurricular activities 
  • making safe choices 

Most kids with ADHD continue to show symptoms into adulthood. Only about 10-20% of kids "outgrow" ADHD as they become an adult. Hyperactivity in kids with ADHD often fades over time and turns into restlessness when an individual reaches adulthood. Just like with children, adults with ADHD should continue to seek help if they feel their symptoms are worsening and/or preventing them from performing daily activities. Children with ADHD often don't know the full extent of their condition and have their parents or guardians advocating for them and talking to doctors for them. Adults with ADHD have to take complete control and learn to self-advocate and have at least a basic understanding of their state of affairs. 


Eileen Rosewater