Is it possible to develop ADHD in adulthood?

How does an adult who is new to feeling distracted, inattentive, irritable, or at a loss know whether attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the culprit? This is a particularly challenging problem for adults who do not feel that they are showing symptoms when they are young, because in most cases, ADHD is diagnosed in childhood.

Does this mean they developed ADHD as adults, did they miss it when they were children, or did other things work? Through this overview, learn more about what ADHD is, the occurrence and progression of the disease, and what it means to have ADHD-like symptoms later in life.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that occurs in childhood. The main symptoms of the disease may include difficulty concentrating, difficulty controlling impulses, difficulty organizing, difficulty concentrating, and/or hyperactivity.

The exact cause of ADHD is unclear, but many medical studies have shown that a strong genetic component and developmental disorders of brain executive function are a key component.Therefore, this situation often occurs in the family. Environmental factors and family life may worsen (or improve) symptoms, but they will not cause ADHD. Rather, it is considered a disease based purely on the brain.

There is no “cure” for ADHD, but treatments including medications, behavioral therapy, and other support can help a lot. Although some people have ADHD, most people don’t. A few people have seen their symptoms decrease with age.

According to the ADHD advocacy and support organization “Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD)”, 11% of school-age children have ADHD, and this disorder persists into adulthood in 75% of cases.For most people, ADHD is a lifelong disease.

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Will you develop ADHD as an adult?

The short answer is, no, adults do not suddenly develop ADHD. In order to meet the criteria for the diagnosis of ADHD, several injury-causing symptoms must appear in childhood. Specifically, signs of ADHD need to be obvious before the age of 12.This means that, technically speaking, ADHD does not develop in adulthood.

In other words, if you have ADHD as an adult, you also suffered from ADHD as a child. Therefore, some people may not be diagnosed with this disease until later in life. On the contrary, if you did not experience these symptoms when you were a child, then your current symptoms may be caused by other reasons, such as depression, anxiety or other mood disorders.

ADHD is sometimes difficult to diagnose because the symptoms may vary from person to person and are diagnosed mainly through observation rather than more specific methods (such as blood tests or other physical markers).

As an adult seeking a diagnosis, no one may know to look for ADHD, and you may have been suffering from this disease all the time. As we age, symptoms of ADHD can also manifest in different ways. For example, in young children, ADHD may manifest as the inability to sit still, while adults may simply appear restless.

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In addition, some people with ADHD have found coping methods that can mask their symptoms, such as using restlessness, using organizational support, incorporating a lot of physical activity into their schedule, or consuming large amounts of caffeine, which are similar (although to a greater degree). Low) prescription stimulant drugs, such as Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine).

How symptoms change over time

The symptoms of ADHD may appear as early as preschool age, especially if the child shows symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity.These behaviors tend to be noticed earlier because they tend to be more destructive. However, signs of inattention are easy to overlook, because these children may be quietly inattentive or be able to do well without paying close attention.

When children grow up, the symptoms of inattention tend to become more obvious, especially after entering elementary school, which requires more and more sustained concentration.

Although very young children are encouraged to walk around in the classroom environment and learn through physical activities and games, it is hoped that older children sit quietly, listen attentively, maintain stronger self-control, and respond quickly to questions raised by teachers respond.


As adolescents become more responsible for self-management, and expectations, responsibilities, and academic and social pressures increase, adolescence may bring a whole new set of challenges.

When adolescents need to schedule their own time, plan ahead for larger projects and tasks, and carefully consider potentially dangerous behaviors, ADHD symptoms often become more pronounced.

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Impulsivity, inattention, and poor self-esteem can lead to more obvious negative results, including drug use, teenage pregnancy, and reckless driving.


As adults, some people will notice a reduction in symptoms, while others still have similar symptoms. However, the symptoms of adult ADHD usually do not look like a child who seems to be driven by a motor, but rather a person who is forgetful, irritable, easily distracted, and/or overreacting to frustration.

Similar treatment options, including medication and behavioral therapy, are suitable for adults and provide good results for many people with ADHD. The key is to ensure that you get an accurate diagnosis by consulting a doctor with experience in treating patients with ADHD.

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If you suddenly develop symptoms similar to ADHD as an adult but you have never experienced it before, then ADHD is unlikely to be the problem. Be sure to discuss your concerns about memory, inattention, or other troublesome symptoms with your doctor. Certain conditions in adulthood may look a bit like ADHD, including depression, anxiety, trouble sleeping, and even menopause.

Once you get an accurate diagnosis, you may feel a better understanding of the real situation, and then you can devote your energy to finding an effective treatment plan.


Is it possible to develop ADHD in adulthood?
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