Can You Develop ADHD as an Adult?

Is it possible to develop ADHD in adulthood? This article will explore the possibilities. 

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Can You Develop ADHD as an Adult?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition characterized by an inability to pay attention, low impulse control, and excessive energy. It develops in childhood, and someone may even suffer from ADHD in adulthood.


You can be diagnosed with ADHD in adulthood. However, if you have adult ADHD, symptoms will need to have appeared before the age of twelve. 

Evident Symptoms Before Age Twelve

Here are symptoms of ADHD to look out for in children under the age of twelve.1

  • Making careless mistakes
  • Not paying attention to details
  • Not focusing on tasks
  • Failing to complete tasks
  • Not following instructions
  • Difficulty becoming organized
  • Trouble keeping track of belongings
  • Becoming easily distracted
  • Being forgetful
  • Fidgeting and squirming
  • Talking excessively
  • Interrupting others when they are speaking
  • Excessive energy
  • Having trouble waiting their turn
  • Being unable to play quietly 

How Symptoms Change Over Time

Symptoms of ADHD can change over time. Here is what you can expect as people with ADHD signs move from childhood to adulthood.


During childhood, children with ADHD may be hyperactive and unable to pay attention exhibiting many of the symptoms of ADHD listed above. However, these symptoms can be easy to miss since many children have excessive amounts of energy as it is.


It can also be difficult to diagnose ADHD if the child is quietly unfocused or tends to do well without paying a lot of attention. 

Teenage Years

During teenage years, individuals with ADHD will gain more self-control, but they will still be lacking in comparison to their peers. What’s more, symptoms will be even more noticeable as they will be required to increase their organizational skills to manage added responsibilities. 


Adult ADHD symptoms can be even harder to manage. Self-control may continue to increase, but so will responsibilities. Adults with ADHD will be expected to hold down a job, possibly take care of children and get housework completed. This can cause anxiety that can make the condition worse. 

Challenges for Adults with ADHD

ADHD in adulthood can present various challenges including the following: 

Time Management

Adult ADHD can cause individuals to lose track of time, so they are unable to get tasks completed efficiently. 


Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and ADHD (3) have similar symptoms and can occur simultaneously making both conditions more pronounced.

Personal Relationships

Adult ADHD can make it difficult to maintain healthy personal relationships. It can be hard for the individual to focus on the relationship, and they may also be dealing with anxiety that gets in the way of pleasurable experiences. 

Work Environment

Adult ADHD can make it difficult for individuals to complete tasks at work. This can make for difficulties in their professional lives. 

Impulsive Behavior

ADHD in adulthood can lead to impulsive behavior that can endanger the individual and those around them. 


The lack of focus ADHD causes makes it difficult for individuals to prioritize so they may be unable to reach their personal and professional goals. 

Co-existing Conditions for Adults with ADHD

It is not unusual for people with ADHD in adulthood to experience co-existing conditions. These issues can be caused by ADHD. Some issues may even produce ADHD symptoms or both disorders may occur separately. Here are some to look out for.

  • Mood Disorders: Several mood disorders can occur alongside ADHD including depression and bipolar disorder.4
  • Anxiety Disorder: When people with ADHD are unable to keep up with daily tasks, anxiety may develop.
  • Learning Disabilities: Research indicates that 30 – 50% of children with ADHD also have a specific learning disability that makes it extremely difficult for them to get by in school.

Therapy for ADHD

ADHD is not easy to deal with, but fortunately, there are several types of ADHD treatment available. These include the following:

  • Psychoeducation: Psychoeducation is a type of therapy provided to patients and their families so they can better understand their symptoms.
  • Behavior Therapy: Behavior therapy helps patients control their reactions to stimuli so they can integrate healthy coping mechanisms.
  • Parent Training: Parents are brought into sessions to learn the best ways to deal with children with ADHD.
  • Social Training Skills: Children and adults with ADHD can be taught social training skills so they can healthily interact with their peers.
  • CBT: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) helps patients understand their negative emotions and improve their behavioral skills.
  • ADHD Medication: ADHD medication, including stimulants and non-stimulants, is often used to control symptoms. 

Brain Mapping for ADHD

Brain mapping has been shown to be effective in ADHD treatment. It involves software that is used to monitor activity in the brain lobes to identify sources of abnormal behavior. Once this factor is determined, providers can come up with the best strategies for management. 

Types of Brain Scans

There are three types of brain scans used in a neurofeedback brain mapping ADHD test. These include:
  • CT scans, which are x-rays that do not use contrast dye.
  • MRI scans use magnetic field radio waves to produce images.
  • Unlike CT scans and MRI scans that just look at brain structure, PET scans look at actual brain function.

Why Choose J. Flowers Health Institute for Brain Mapping

If you or a loved one is dealing with ADHD, J. Flowers offers superior brain mapping services that can make the condition more manageable.


J. Flowers Health Institute offers brain mapping neuro-engineering used by NASA and Olympians. Our systems provide diagnostics and treatments and measure your healing and growth through the process. Therapy is available in-house, so you don’t have to go from clinic to clinic for various procedures.


ADHD in adulthood is not easy to deal with. Don’t let it interfere with your ability to enjoy the things and people you love. Reach out to J. Flowers today and take the first step in achieving a higher quality of life.