Patient Comments: Adult ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) - Symptoms


What symptoms have you experienced with your adult ADHD? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: mittsmoomoo, 19-24 Female (Caregiver) Published: February 28

Life is so much more difficult for this young man with ADHD, he can"t focus, he has trouble taking simple orders, he forgets things, he needs to be reminded every day the same things that are so easy for others like take the trash out, take a shower, do laundry, etc. He has social problems, excessive behavior, impulsive behavior, many tasks sit unfinished. He feels very agitated most days, these are just a few things that he experiences in daily life.

Comment from: Carolynrmj, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 08

I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 26. It was at a routine psychiatrist visit when the doctor asked me why I was always fidgeting. He then asked me some questions about my childhood and that's when he/I realized that I had ADHD. I think that's when everything fell into place for me. I realized why I was how I was. I used Wellbutrin and it really helped me but I don’t take it religiously. It's really hard sometimes for me to focus, to finish things I start, to not get distracted by everything else besides what I should be focused on. Sometimes my thoughts loop and I can’t focus, I get thoughts stuck in my head and I repeat things over and over and sometimes its hell... But sometimes I'm ok and that's good. Most days are ok.

Comment from: benevoice, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 07

My symptoms included a constant attempt to complete tasks and continue working on them without switching to other activities. For example, I would be cooking dinner and decide to check the mail. Not only would I retrieve the mail, but I would impulsively open various pieces and read them. That same mail that was so important at that moment would then be ignored for a long time (procrastination) as my energy was scattered among my activities of life such as work, child-rearing, other family care and housework. It is said that sometimes chronic boredom is a sign of ADHD, but I felt overwhelming pressure with having so much to do and so much “unfinished business” in my home and life with what seemed like no time to do it. I have not felt bored since I can remember; just the strain to get to things. Most modern Americans seem to have much they’d like to or need to do in their lives, but my feelings of incomplete responsibilities have been for many years, very heavy. Feelings of inadequacy would dominate my emotions as I felt stupid, lazy or not motivated, yet I knew at root I was none of those. I had a low frustration tolerance with myself and others around me. Also, I would have afternoon sleepiness that was so severe that I fell asleep on the kitchen floor more than once as I worked in there cleaning and stopped to rest. I have learned to be more tolerant of my family and others, and medications have helped for me to be more alert throughout the day. All my life I've been a hard worker and although my school grades didn't show it, I was bright, achieved a college degree (took 6 years instead of 4 or 5) from a well-respected university, and have a determination that I don't see in many other people. Having been a school-aged child in the 1960’s and 70’s, there was not the recognition of ADHD the way there is currently for school children. My parents didn’t recognize any of it (behavior problems and sometimes poor grades) and chalked it up to my being a child who daydreamed and liked to talk a lot or get attention. When I finally could not take these unhelpful feelings of myself and the frustration any longer, I sought help (at around age 43) from a therapist and then a psychiatrist and received a diagnosis of ADHD (ADD). Along with a supportive doctor, family, and an empathetic and knowledgeable counselor, I have seen improvements in how I function in my life and know that I’ve achieved more in the past few years than I could have with an unrecognized diagnosis. It brings a certain amount of acceptance to one’s life when you finally see what has been happening. I try to be strong and encourage others to not have shame when it comes to this often joked-about condition. Having understanding of one’s self and educating others along the way where appropriate about this condition is important. I know there are other mental health diagnoses that have little or no effective treatment and can leave one with truly minimal or no functioning in life, so I feel thankful in a way that it is ADHD.

Comment from: Ross, 75 or over Male Published: August 28

I am 81 years old, and I have had ADHD since childhood. I have been on Ritalin for 12 years, beginning with 5 mg to 45 mg now. Each year, I discover new benefits from taking this medication. When I had high blood pressure, I would stop taking Ritalin (no problem) and would start again when I realized I was beginning to lose its benefits. There is no doubt it is a miracle drug. My bridge game improved and my golf game improved because I can practice for an hour without being bored.

Comment from: CTE, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 13

Let's be real. ADD a nuisance, it's a disability, it's a pain in the butt, but it is not the end of the world. Actually, it's a lot better to be diagnosed and understand what's going on than to agonize over all the things you've forgotten that are your "fault." I will always lose my keys. I will never be able to beat myself into being "organized" enough not to lose my keys. But I can recognize that and have two sets in easy reach, two more emergency sets, and a final dig-up-the-yard set for when all else fails. I can tell myself it's a legitimate problem and ask for help. I can give more keys to the neighbors, I can hire someone to go through the mail for me. I can concentrate on my skills instead of my weaknesses. Am I easily distracted, or am I creative? As the graduate of two ivy league universities (one graduate, one undergraduate), I can assure you there are lots of smart folks out there with ADD, and lots of them deal with it just fine. Sure, ADD can make life horrendously difficult some days, but so can the weather, the stock market, and rush hour traffic. Recognize problems for what they are. Don't blow them out of proportion.


Who is at greater risk for developing ADHD? See Answer
Comment from: tyler, 35-44 (Patient) Published: January 06

Because of adult ADHD, I am mostly unable to stay on one job for 6 months. I get bored easily.

Comment from: Mellyjelly1111, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: December 18

My issues really began in high school, where I'd always hear how I was wasting my potential. I would skip school most days just because I was fascinated by some other thing. I am 28 and have had at least 30 jobs. I can't ever get caught up enough to be on time or to actually sit and study. I've always been all over the place.

Comment from: poppydog, 19-24 Female (Caregiver) Published: May 29

My beautiful 24 year old son, diagnosed with ADHD as a 6 year old by 7 consultants and a professor. Today he on a section 2 MHA where his consultant refuses to acknowledge he has ADHD and the ADHD consultant who works for the same NHS trust is far too busy to see him! I am a learning disability nurse who has always worked in psychiatry but no matter what arguments and research I present to the services they ignore. My heart is broken but I won’t give up on my son I will somehow get him the help that he needs no matter what it takes.

Comment from: 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 31

I am a 42-year-old mother of three who was diagnosed with ADHD recently. As an adopted child, I had no family medical history to pull from. After meeting my biological family, I learned of a strong genetic predisposition to ADHD. My birth mother is a pack rat/depressive/ADHD to the “nth” degree. I have a brother who was diagnosed as a child and two sisters who were diagnosed as college students. Their experiences were so similar to mine (we all completely fell apart as college freshmen without our parents to hold our lives together) that I decided to seek treatment. I went to my doctor who referred me to a psychologist. He was a bit too “New Age-y” for me, so I contacted the psychology department at the local university and found an ongoing study on adults with undiagnosed ADHD. Over a period of six months, I was questioned and tested and a diagnosis was made and passed along to my doctor. My adoptive parents were also asked to meet with the doctor conducting the study to help with childhood background details. I am now on Ritalin, and it is, quite frankly, a miracle. I have been criticized all my life for talking too much, speaking too quickly, not being tidy or clean enough, being lazy, etc. I have never achieved the level of professional success it was assumed I would achieve. I could go on forever. I urge anyone who thinks they might have ADHD as an adult to get help. And keep looking for help if anyone throws a roadblock in your way. This is difficult for people with ADHD. (Follow-through is a huge issue for us!) It took me years after knowing I have ADHD to finally get around to seeking help. My children are now being treated, and it makes a world of difference for them both socially and academically.

Comment from: skypilot, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: January 25

I'm 50 and have a wicked case of ADHD. My past family and professional life has been a mess due to this disease; I have always had great medical providers, but for some reason, I have stopped taking Ritalin on my own and this has been a disaster. I was considered "brain damaged" as a kid. How interesting that I became a USAF pilot and did quite well in grad school with a degree in plasma physics. I accomplished this while on 40 mg of Ritalin a day. I was always ashamed of this; I’m not sure why. When the USAF deployed me as a pilot in the recent Mid-East conflict, I stopped the meds just long enough to clear the drug test then resumed the Ritalin and was decorated for my service. I guess that this makes me a cheater. Anyway, I'm retired and quite "set" financially. Ritalin was/is a wonder drug for me.

Comment from: MC-rider, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: June 08

I am 40+ and was diagnosed with ADHD two years ago. I was suffering from depression. I had a hard time admitting I needed help and asking for help. My psychiatrist helped me stabilize the depression first (with CBT and fluoxetine). Then he told me he wanted to address my attention problems. At first I thought, "What attention problems?" I thought, "How can I have ADHD? I am a grown man?" Then I had a lot of learning to do! Problems I had as a child (constant daydreaming, chronic procrastination, grades that went from A to F overnight) all seemed to make more sense when looking at them through the ADHD lens. My mind is constantly frantically going and going. I thought everyone thinks that way. But I can't sit and read for more than 10 minutes at a time. Speeding down a highway or racetrack on my motorcycle was the only time I could relax and clear my mind. (Relaxing at 110 mph ... that should have been a clue.) I am still very frustrated trying to manage my ADHD. I am struggling to finish a college degree. I've tried Ritalin, Dexedrine, Focalin and Adderall. They help but I metabolize them quickly and so my attention goes up and down and up and down. I wish I could smooth it out more. Friends tell me to try other drugs. There is also a trade off; my most creative ideas come when I am not on the drugs. The drugs help me live in a world dominated by people with Attention Surplus Disorder, but I feel like I am just playing their game until I figure out something else to do. Nonetheless, my life is *definitely* better than when I was undiagnosed and untreated.

Comment from: EMM, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: May 28

I am a teacher and a mother of 2 young girls. I was diagnosed with adult ADHD at age 27 after several years of counseling for anxiety and depression. I tried many medications for depression and anxiety, and then my therapist recommended that I tried Ritalin because much of my depression and anxiety seemed to stem from feelings of disorganization and being overwhelmed by everyday life. I tried Ritalin and I will never forget how it felt like I suddenly had a glimpse of how other people's minds work: I found it easier to prioritize so I could finally use all of the "to do" lists I had made all my life; I was less angry because I was less frustrated with myself all the time; I no longer felt like time was my ever-present enemy because it seemed like the clock had finally slowed down and allowed me to actually accomplish tasks; and most importantly it allowed me to do things for myself that had apparently taken a back burner to other thought impulses that normally stole all of my time and energy; it helped me to see that life is actually manageable, not some crazy race that I was perpetually losing. I was able to go off medication for a few years while I was pregnant and nursing my 2 kids, and I did fairly well with the strategies and insight that I had gained while on Ritalin; but I slowly started spiraling back out of control and recently have started to take Ritalin again. I was hesitant to find a new doctor because I had moved and I was so embarrassed to admit to anyone (especially to myself) that I had ADULT ADHD. My current doctor has really helped me to understand and accept it and I am now more willing to talk to others about it because it has improved my life so immensely. I am so thankful that my original therapist was open-minded enough to consider adult ADHD. I was very lucky and I hope there are more doctors out there who are willing to learn more about ADHD in adults.


ADHD/ADD in Adults: Symptoms & Treatments in Pictures See Slideshow
Comment from: hopefulstudent, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 13

Hello I was recently diagnosed with ADD while attending dental school. The overwhelming amount of material made it extremely difficult to concentrate and I am now working with a psychologist with Cognitive Training. Although helpful, I am still opting to take some form of medication. I am your non-traditional student so I have lived all my adult life not knowing I had this condition. I have six years of college prior to being accepted into dental school. I always had to study 24-7, I was told people with ADD can compensate, which I had done in college. It was not until I was having difficulty with keeping up with the vast amount of material did I realize the possibility of having ADD. I watched my three children struggle in college with this condition, once diagnosed and on medication, all three children's lives had changed for the better, they are successful and productive. Many people do not understand this condition, including myself until recently diagnosed. Now everything is clear in regards to my symptoms. I just wish my professors were as in tune with students and ADD. This could have a very negative and positive effect on the students and their goals to succeed.

Comment from: JustMe, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: December 15

I'm a classic case. Every symptom but (thank God) substance abuse. I don't pay attention unless I'm interested. If I try to focus, I am only focusing on my focusing, which doesn't help at all. I don't read fiction because I can't keep track of what's going on. Even while watching movies, I have to ask my wife to explain plot developments. I was clueless in grade school and high school. All the other kids would show up with some required, signed paper (they seemed to have gotten the memo) and I didn't even know what the paper was. I daydreamed nearly all day long. Despite being intelligent and creative, I have lagged all my life in areas of achievement. At 56, I'm working alongside 30-year-old peers. I have trouble following directions and I can't -- honestly can't -- keep up an attention span during business meetings. When someone asks me for input, I don't know what to say because I haven't been listening (very humiliating). I also hyperfocus: When I do develop an interest, I immerse myself in it wholly and develop expertise in a short span of time. My tolerance for frustration has always been abysmal. I don't know how other people manage to face frustrating stimuli and NOT curse, grumble and fly off the handle -- such a state of mind seems utterly unreachable. My self-esteem is poor, even at an age when I should have dealt with all my childhood demons. I'm unassertive most of the time and apologize constantly. I've struggled with anxiety, irrational fears, marriage problems and depression. Often I've hopped from job to job. During my 32 years of marriage, we've moved (sometimes cross-country) 14 times. Despite having a blessed life in general, I feel life is passing me by. I worry that when my time comes to a close, I will have terrible regrets about all I haven't done, despite being gifted on many levels. I'm haunted by Oliver Wendell Holmes' statement that most people go to the grave "with their music still in them." In short ... this problem is a drag.

Comment from: tootie, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 07

My symptoms include severe anxiety, I tend to isolate myself when faced with issues and don't want to offend or challenge. I have started college 3 times and have yet to fininsh. I was diagnosed after my 2 youngest daughters were in 3rd and 4th grade, and weren't learning very well at school as well as basic life skills at home. So once the physician diagnosed them, I started to remember some of my childhood issues and how they affected how I never felt like I fit in anywhere or had a clue of what was really going on. Even after medication, I finished my first quarter of college as a medical assistant with a GPA of 3.57 but couldn't handle all the pressures of being a mom, wife, student and was so focused on studies that everything else was falling to the way side. So I took a leave. I felt like I was about to have a nervous breakdown, which wouldn't be the first time. I am very smart and literate but stink at math. I am very creative but seem to get so close to finishing a project. When painting for example, I will decide why finish? I think by the time I'm almost done, I've already decided that I want a new style or color so why finish that top corner anyway? I am highly disfunctional and the meds seem to intensify my concentration which doesn't help much if I'm concentrating so much on one task that nothing else gets done. Organization is a huge issue. I do not work, I could get hired for alot of jobs but then there would be expectations and I would have to deal with the pressure of always living up to them. Hard to cope with the fact that I have never finished anything as far as self worth goes, and maybe even am bipolar and undiscovered because I avoid situations that set me off.

Comment from: amsel10, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 26

I was diagnosed with ADHD as a child. Once I turned age 11 they had to take me of Ritalin. They said it would have a reverse reaction from what it was meant to do. I went on with my life as an adult without medication. I noticed at the age of 40 that I was having problems. These problems consisted on not being able to sleep, irritability, concentration problems. I seek medical advice. Now I am having problems finding a drug that will, help me sleep and get rid of my depression, anxiety, etc. I am so hyper. I feel like the energizer bunny. I have no desire to do the things I need to do, like clean my house, car, and such. I just wish I could sleep like a normal person. That would make my moods better with the right amount of good sleep.

Published: August 17

I am a nurse and it became a joke among me and the other nurses that I had ADHD. I had a difficult time sitting still, concentrating on charting and writing care plans. I rarely could sit at a desk long enough to complete a task, which made me wildly popular with the aides, I was always helping them. When I changed jobs and was required to sit for long periods of time to write reports I became keenly aware of my inability to concentrate on the task at hand. I took some online quizzes which suggested I speak to a Physician; I did and was officially diagnosed.

Comment from: Daily process, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 02

My partner's friend was a counselor and told her it sounds like your partner might have ADHD. My partner found a web site that had some questions on it and out of 17 questions I had 17 indications that I did have ADHD. I went to my doctor and took tests and the results along with discussions proved I in fact do have ADHD.

Comment from: RockBandRainMom, 25-34 Female (Caregiver) Published: May 13

I disagree that focusing in school/possible learning disabilities/etc., can be the only reasons for ADHD. My IQ is through the roof, but I can concentrate on nothing. I read like I talk, which is fast. I never did homework; I just whizzed through everything. I was reading on a 9th grade level in third grade, but my parents refused to let me skip grades because of my "immaturity." Well, I never outgrew the immaturity, only to now have social anxiety and panic attacks. I am a failed perfectionist! Now, I have children and I can see the genetics being passed down from my mother's OCD side and my father's Asperger's side -- and I can only take pride in that. At least, I've already been through what they will go through! I'm one step ahead of the ADHD game. It's amazing that, had I been medicated on Ritalin, perhaps my younger sister's hair wouldn't have been set on fire by my first flaming marshmallow. (I still think she deserved it though!) Vyvanse has worked a miracle in my 6-year-old son with mild autism and severe ADHD! Disorders overlap!

Comment from: Karen, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 11

I am 50-year-old female and just this week learned that I have ADD and probably have been since childhood. Funny enough, I own two businesses (successful) and somehow managed to channel my energy into them. Yes, I struggle with focus, listening, reading, etc., but I still have done what only about 3% of the population of women has done (start and maintain successful businesses). I have been put on Adderall and Pristique for depression. I surely hope I am doing the right thing because for years, I have just managed it.

Comment from: Jan, 35-44 Male (Caregiver) Published: February 17

I suspected that my son had ADHD throughout childhood, but when he was tested on two separate occasions at my request by psychologists, they determined he didn't have it. I always thought they were mistaken. I observed him in all sorts of situations and always thought he exhibited all the symptoms. He is 38 now and struggles daily with every one of the symptoms mentioned. He is on Prozac for depression and is a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. He is in a methadone program for his addiction to oxycontin and is doing well. However, he still has problems organizing his time, focusing, remembering to do things, switching from one activity to another, memory, following directions, social anxiety, self-esteem, employment, underachievement, etc.

Published: February 17

I have had problems all my life, and I was 58 when it was discovered I had ADD. A neurological test found I had problems with the usual distractions, focus, forgetfulness, daydreaming, etc. The test showed I had poor organization, working memory, and slow processing time. Although I have a couple of college degrees, I still feel as if I'm in a fog, sometimes in everyday life. And I've pretty much had to give up any expectations for keeping friends, even relatives, and jobs.

Comment from: concerned4others, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: November 17

Well, it was very hard for me to admit that I had a problem because my brother and mother were both diagnosed with ADD, and I didn’t want to be like them. I had to work very hard in school, and I still had my failures. But I made it. Later in life, as I had children and a career, I noticed that I was unable to perform tasks, and I couldn’t focus. Sometimes the multi-tasking lifestyle brings it out. I went for about two years looking for help, thinking I was depressed or something. I came to find out though, after reviewing deep family history patterns, I have ADD, and that’s why I wasn’t functioning as I should. I had an MRI confirm as much as could be confirmed. And now, my twin children also were diagnosed. So, we deal and cope together on a daily basis. With medication though, we are able to live practically normal lives. I hope this helps someone out there to challenge the depression diagnosis and see if there could be something underlying, especially if there is a family history.

Comment from: sallie, 45-54 Female Published: March 12

Unable to concentrate on daily tasks, easily distracted from things I began, difficulty staying focused on conversations and I’m having, racing thoughts.

Comment from: huguenot, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 02

My therapist mentioned that he thought I had ADHD when I was telling him a story about having sex with my boyfriend and right in the middle of it, I said, "Did you get my email?” I also have the messiest, most unorganized desk in the world. I always underestimate how long it will take to get something done. I interrupt in meetings, had problems controlling my impulse to comment, etc. My brain was always active. I could not stand to be trapped in a line or a car without a crossword puzzle book or something to read. I lose my car keys almost every other day. Lose my wallet about every 3 months. I never know exactly where my debit card is.

Comment from: oohshiny, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: August 17

I quit drinking because it was finally affecting my ability to perform at work. Self medicating with alcohol was how I dealt w/ADHD I didn't know I had. I mentioned the way my brain felt like a blender without a top mixing idea puree and my doctor tested me for symptoms of ADHD. I always thought I had it but only joked about it, when I started treatment it was like I finally felt like normal people, it was amazing. Since I was diagnosed I have been on non-stimulant and stimulant meds, currently trying my 3rd medication in 12 months and I'm not feeling all that great because I just started it.

Comment from: Core2009, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: June 04

Others react to this condition, negatively. However, throughout my life I have preferred following my own inner direction rather than the manipulation of what others think are right for me. Most motivator’s gear us into a direction that is part of a plan that improves his or her own situation. I am a person who is keen on sensing what is right for me and what is not right for me. Therefore, what may appear as ADHD in essence is an intelligence and keen sensitivity of "To Thine Own Self be True." Maybe we fail more than others. Perhaps it is because we have the confidence and strength to follow our own inner core.