Ask The Therapist? What Does ADHD Typically Look Like in an Adult?

By Concentric Counselor Ashley Allis, LCPC, NCC

We continue the Ask The Therapist? series for people who attended a Small Business & Eco Fair and popped by our table to meet us and write down an anonymous question related to mental health and well-being issues that they or a loved one may be facing.  Over the next weeks, we will continue to post anonymous questions and our answers. So, feel free to re-visit this blog to see what others had to write.

Ask The Therapist? is to provide some helpful information, guidance, and resources only.  This information is not intended to give a diagnosis, provide treatment recommendations for a mental health disorder or to replace individual therapy. Make sure you see your doctor or mental health provider if you think you or a loved one may have symptoms of a mental health disorder which warrants professional help.


Many are surprised to hear that adults can be diagnosed with ADHD.  ADHD symptoms can look (or manifest) different in adults than in a child where usually the underlying causes (etiology) are similiar. Some typical symptoms for adults are:

Disorganization:  Someone diagnosed with ADHD may struggle with time management and staying on top of certain tasks.

Forgetfulness: We can all be a bit forgetful at times; however, adult with ADHD forgetting routinely happens. 

Lack of focus:  Being easily distracted, difficulty listening to others in conversations and work settings, and overlooking details.

Hyper-focus:   On the flip side of ‘lack of focus’, there is hyper-focus. Sometimes a person with ADHD can be engrossed in an activity that is of interest to them. 

Poor listening skills:  It is not uncommon to hear reports from their partner or family member that they have to repeat themselves often. 

Impulsivity:   This means interrupting others, blurting out thoughts without thinking, and suffering from addictive tendencies. 

ADHD in adults

Emotional problems:  Adults with ADHD can feel their emotions are up and down. This can be caused by feeling bored by a lack of stimulation, sense of underachievement, and/or trouble staying motivated. 

Restlessness and Anxiety:  Feeling like you can’t shut off your motor or constantly feeling you need to move or be on the go.  Difficulty staying still in meetings, at work, dinner, or other situations which may require sustained sitting. 

For more information on Adult ADHD, check out: and

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