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What Are the Signs of ADHD in Adults

Most people associate ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) with young children who can’t seem to sit still in class. However, many people with ADHD remain undiagnosed until adulthood. 

ADHD is a condition that can impact multiple areas of your life. It can cause learning challenges, restlessness, and other side effects in children. ADHD in adults presents similar issues. 

According to the American Psychiatric Association, approximately 2.5% of adults have ADHD. However, the National Institute of Mental Health estimates higher numbers.  

Diagnosis is crucial to addressing and learning how to manage ADHD. Below are ten common signs of adult ADHD and how to seek proper treatment from a neurologist.

Impulsivity and Hyperactivity

Hyperactivity and impulsivity are common signs of ADHD in adults. Although they can manifest in multiple ways, these are the most prevalent:

  • Inappropriate social behavior
  • Acting hastily without considering the consequences
  • Constantly fidgeting by tapping hands or feet while sitting down
  • Excessive talking
  • Frequently interrupting another person during conversations

These signs are common among children and adults. However, adult shopping habits can also indicate ADHD symptoms. 

For example, a study from 2015 found that impulsively purchasing expensive items, typically outside of one’s budget, was a common adult ADHD symptom.

Inability to Pay Attention or Focus

Many adults with ADHD struggle to pay attention or focus on certain tasks. A lack of focus is one of the most apparent signs of ADHD in adults and often causes the following problems:

  • Being easily distracted
  • Missing or overlooking important details
  • Struggling to listen to others during conversations
  • Failing to complete projects
  • Being reluctant to start activities or tasks

Memory Issues

Everyone has moments of forgetfulness. However, adults with ADHD can be more forgetful. 

Occasional forgetfulness is little more than an inconvenience, but it can cause problems when it becomes more frequent. Unfortunately, constant forgetfulness can impact a person’s professional and personal life.

Poor Motivation

A lack of motivation can prevent you from accomplishing important tasks or doing things you enjoy. Poor motivation is a common symptom of ADHD in adults and children.

This is an especially challenging symptom for adults as it can impact job performance. In addition, an unmotivated person often procrastinates and struggles to focus, making it even more difficult to finish projects.

Lack of Organization and Poor Time Managing

Everyone comes across disorganization in their lives, but it can be a constant struggle for adults with ADHD. 

Consistent disorganization makes it difficult to keep things in the right place or remember where you put certain items. A lack of organization can also mean issues with prioritizing tasks or keeping up with various responsibilities.

Concerns About Relationships

Relationships require work, attention, and effective communication. Adults with ADHD often struggle with this due to inattentiveness and constantly talking over people. As a result, others typically see them as insensitive or irresponsible. 

These issues can contribute to relationship problems or concerns, whether romantic or platonic.



Anxiety or restlessness can make you feel like you are constantly running. In addition, restlessness can cause frustration when you cannot immediately do something, often leading to anxiety.

Anxiety is a common mental health concern among adults, especially those with ADHD. It can cause you to constantly worry about the future or replay events in your mind.

Common signs of anxiety in adults with ADHD include:

  • Constantly moving around
  • Inability to sit still
  • Frequently tapping hands or feet

People can have anxiety without it accompanying ADHD or other conditions. If you notice any of these symptoms or otherwise suspect that you may have anxiety, seek help from a neurologist to discuss treatment options.


ADHD in adults can cause a wide range of symptoms. For example, while some adults struggle to pay attention, others hyperfocus. 

Hyperfocusing causes you to focus so hard on something that you become unaware of your surroundings. While this can be beneficial for accomplishing tasks, it can also make it easy for you to lose track of time. In addition, it can cause you to ignore others, further impacting relationships.

Chronic Fatigue

As previously mentioned, ADHD in adults can cause restlessness, but it can also cause fatigue. 

Fatigue can lead to numerous other problems, such as feeling tired or unmotivated throughout the day. It can result from various issues, including:

  • Sleep struggles
  • Side effects of ADHD medications
  • Hyperactivity or hyperfocusing

Poor Self-Esteem

ADHD in adults can cause poor self-esteem due to intense and negative self-criticizing.

Being hypercritical of yourself can lower your self-esteem and confidence, affecting other parts of your life. This self-critique can be due to your career, relationships, concentration issues, or other concerns. 

In addition, people with ADHD may see themselves as failures, furthering their negative self-image. If you have these thoughts, seeking professional help can prove highly beneficial.

Diagnosing Adult ADHD: Find ADHD Treatment for Adults Near Me

If you are looking for “ADHD doctors near me,” it is essential to understand how physicians diagnose ADHD in adults. 

Typical ADHD testing involves detailed interviews that help the doctor understand your symptoms better. You can expect your neurologist to look for the following during an appointment:

  • Symptoms that satisfy ADHD criteria
  • Evidence of ADHD symptoms during your childhood
  • Other mental conditions displaying similar symptoms

To receive an ADHD diagnosis, your doctor must find a minimum of five symptoms. In addition, they must determine that you had these symptoms before turning 12 years old. 

Schedule an Appointment with an ADHD Doctor in NYC

ADHD Doctor in NYC

ADHD impacts multiple areas of your life and can strain your personal and professional relationships. At Neurodiagnostics Medical P.C. in New York, we understand how frustrating it can be to deal with ADHD symptoms as an adult. That’s why our board-certified neurologists work hard to deliver knowledgeable and compassionate help to adults struggling with ADHD symptoms. 

Our goal is to help you better understand the symptoms of ADHD in adults and how to manage them. If you feel like ADHD is impacting your life, let our team of caring neurologists help. 

Book an appointment!

About The Author

Picture of Ashwin Malhotra, M.D.

Ashwin Malhotra, M.D.

Ashwin Malhotra, M.D. is a highly respected neurologist based in New York City. With over 20 years of experience in the field of neurology, he has earned a reputation as a leading expert in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders and traumatic brain injuries. In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Malhotra is also a dedicated educator and researcher. He has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed medical journals and has presented his research at national and international conferences.