Diagnosing ADHD in adults

ADHD Diagnosis in adults


In children and adolescents, a proper diagnosis takes time and effort from parents, doctors, and specialists. As an adult, you may find diagnosis especially frustrating. You may not have your complete medical history from your previous doctors. You are not getting school reports anymore. No one is keeping a close eye on your development. You may have to rely on family and friends to attest to your behaviour, and the specialist diagnosing you may even want to interview people close to you. A lot of parents also just recognise symptoms of ADHD in their own behaviour when they were younger after their children are diagnosed.

Getting diagnosed in adulthood can be very hard as some doctors may see ADHD as a childhood condition. A lot of symptoms also evolve over time; e.g. signs of hyperactivity, which are very obvious in children, become less visible in adults. It may be helpful to write down notes when you notice behaviour changes. If you are comfortable doing so, ask a friend to share some of the things he or she has noticed, so you can get a better idea of how your symptoms may affect your day to day life.

As an adult, colleagues or loved ones may notice the following symptoms:

  • Inattention or problems concentrating
  • Disorganisation and failing to plan ahead
  • Difficulty initiating and completing projects
  • Shifting activities suddenly or prematurely
  • Misjudging available time
  • Forgetfulness, often losing things
  • Impulsive decision making

These symptoms alone are not a diagnosis of ADHD, but if you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself, you should document the incidences and discuss them with your GP.

Stay Informed