March 01, 2019

Adult ADHD

Underrecognized in older adults

You're always starting new house projects. In fact, your spouse often complains that you never sit still. However, finishing them is often a different story — you just seem to get easily frustrated or distracted.

Once again, that "honey-do" list has become a looming nightmare and a source of discord. On top of that, you've misplaced your wallet for the third time this week.

While everyone has these struggles from time to time, long-term difficulties that disrupt your life may point to adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Although ADHD is most often associated with children, increasing numbers of adults — including older adults — have been identified as having the condition. Still, the condition continues to be underrecognized.

Adult signs and symptoms

ADHD manifests in adulthood in a number of ways:

  • Emotional dysregulation — This may include irritability, outbursts of anger, a low tolerance for frustration and difficulty with motivation.
  • Inattention symptoms — These include procrastination and poor time management, difficulty with decisions, and difficulty organizing activities.
  • Sleep difficulties — Adults with ADHD are often chronically sleep deprived. They struggle to fall asleep, and while they may sleep deeply, the short amount of time makes it difficult to rise in the morning.
  • Hyperactivity symptoms — These may involve feeling restless or being especially talkative or in a constant state of activity. Adults with ADHD tend to choose very active jobs.
  • Impulsivity symptoms — Examples may include a greater...