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ADHD is a term that grown in popularity over the past two decades. Sometimes children are labeled as having “ADHD” when they exhibit poor focus or attention. Knowing the true signs and symptoms can help you better understand if further treatment or diagnosis is warranted. Having a clear understanding of what research, studies, and real life experiences tell us about ADHD is what will enable each individual to make informed decisions on how to treat this mental health and behavioral concern.

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Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn, LMFT, MA

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) Affects People of All Ages

ADHD is a mental health condition that impacts people of all ages. Many people associate it as primarily affecting young boys, but that’s not always true. ADHD impacts children and adults. Some symptoms overlap, and others are age-specific. Many people with ADHD feel misunderstood because their symptoms make them appear careless or rude. They’re not trying to offend other people, but they often have difficulty with certain behaviors, such as waiting for their turn in a conversation or focusing on their schoolwork. ADHD is a real disability and can severely impact quality of life if left untreated, but there are support options available such as online therapy.

Common Symptoms of ADHD

Here are some signs of ADHD that you’ll notice in children:

  • Interrupting - A child will have trouble waiting for a person to finish before interjecting their opinion.
  • Waiting their turn - They’ll struggle with waiting in line for snack time or their turn to play on the monkey bars on the playground.
  • Difficulty focusing - The child might zone out, or look disinterested in what’s happening in the classroom or what another person is telling them.
  • Avoidance - A child may avoid doing a mundane task because they are not interested in it or it’s too difficult.
  • Being forgetful - A common symptom of ADHD in children being forgetful. They might not remember to take their backpack to school or to complete their homework assignment.

Adults have overlapping symptoms of ADHD with children. They too have trouble focusing and interrupting other people. Adults with ADHD often struggle with doing tedious tasks, because they are easily bored, and need stimulation. There are also some specific traits in adults that signal further research is necessary. 

Here are the Common Symptoms of ADHD in Adults

  • Driving in a reckless manner - An adult with ADHD may become restless, and not think of the consequences on the road.
  • Difficulty listening - Someone with ADHD might “zone out” in a college course or an important business meeting at work.
  • Trouble in their interpersonal relationships - Sometimes people with ADHD appear selfish in relationships. They may not seem to be listening to their partner or forget significant dates and cause their loved one to feel devalued.
  • Starting tasks and not finishing them - Adults with ADHD tend to be creative, but have difficulty following through on the ideas or activities that they start.

Misconceptions About ADHD

Some people assume that people with ADHD are rude or lazy. These stereotypes are not only untrue, but are also misleading. For example, a person with ADHD might struggle with interrupting because they’re excited about the conversation they’re having. It’s not that they don’t care about what the other person is saying. A person with ADHD isn’t necessarily lazy. There are many reasons they may not be able to complete a task. It might be their lack of focus, or not finding something interesting. It might be their fear of making a careless mistake due to forgetfulness. It’s important to remember that people with ADHD don’t intentionally want to inconvenience those around them. They’re struggling with managing their symptoms and trying to fit into a world that seems to misunderstand them. That’s why a person with ADHD might become frustrated or depressed.

Having ADHD May Result in Depression

When you feel like people don’t understand you, you might become discouraged. That’s understandable, but it can be a painful feeling. Sometimes people who have ADHD try to explain their behaviors but other people don’t understand them. This can play out throughout their life and eventually lead to them self-isolating. It’s hard to express these feelings, but they can often benefit from journaling and talking about them in counseling.

Counseling Can Help Those Living With ADHD

When you feel like your ADHD symptoms are unmanageable, or you want to learn coping strategies to stay organized, counseling can help. Maybe you want to work on interpersonal relationship, such as interrupting or focusing on the other person. You can discuss these things with a counselor. Online therapy is an excellent option to discuss the problematic behaviors that you have experienced because of ADHD. There are counselors at BetterHelp who understand your symptoms and can help you manage them. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

Getting Help

We hope that the above articles have helped you understand how some people treat ADHD. Aside from what is here, if you would like to speak with one of our licensed and accredited online counselors, please sign up today to get the expertise and support you need.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

What are some ADHD stims?
What does stimming mean in ADHD?
What does ADHD stimming look like?
What are common stims?
Is ADHD on the autism spectrum?
Can ADHD be confused with autism?
Do people with ADHD have sensory issues?
Do people with ADHD lack dopamine?
Do people with ADHD have special interests?
Are people with ADHD neurodivergent?

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