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ADHD in Adults

ADHD is a mental health disorder which stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. This disorder impacts a person’s brain development and causes a person to struggle with attention issues as well as compulsive behaviors. Although there is no cure for ADHD, there are ways to manage symptoms and treat the disorder in an effective way for children and adults.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, this disorder affects 8.4% of children and 2.5% of adults. However, this number may be higher as many people live with this disorder undiagnosed. ADHD can impact a person’s daily life. Identifying the symptoms can help them get the treatment they may need. For adults ADHD can look different in each person. Some symptoms may include:

Struggles with organization. Whether it be disorganized, or overly organized. For a person who struggles with organization they may experience feelings of hecticness and that keeping track of things is a challenge. This may include remembering where you put something or what time you are supposed to be somewhere. For someone who is overly organized they may be hyper focused on a specific thing. This may include focusing in on one thing which may consume all your attention.

Lack of focus. This may include finding it difficult to listen to others in a conversation, overlooking details, as well as being easily distracted, and unable to complete tasks.

Difficulty managing time. Whether it be putting off a task, showing up late for things, or ignoring duties or assignments they aren’t interested in. It can be easy to put off a task that you know needs to get done, but you aren’t sure how to easily complete the task.

Impulsiveness. A person may find themselves interrupting others during conversations, rushing through tasks, and not considering consequences in certain situations. An example of this could be impulsive shopping when you don’t have any money.

Other symptoms may include difficultyfinding motivation, struggles with multitasking, mood swings, low self-esteem, boredom, and getting easily frustrated.

Treatment is available for adults with ADHD. It may look different for everyone in how they need support to overcome the difficulties they face with their condition. For someone who has mild ADHD, doing cognitive behavioral therapy may benefit you in staying organized, keeping plans, as well as completing tasks you have started. Finding a plan that works for you to focus on stress management, eating a balanced diet, and keeping a healthy sleep routine can help with treatment as well. Another option is to consult with your doctor to determine what potential medication options are available.

Getting the support you need is very important. Some other things that may help someone struggling with their ADHD are the following:

Setting a timer. Setting a timer can help a person stay focused on completing one task. Then allow yourself a short break once the time goes off.

Eliminate multitasking. Studies show that multitasking isn’t a productive way to work. This is because you are using more energy to do more than one thing at a time.

Set realistic expectations. Often, we find ourselves easily overcommitting to things in life. Be realistic with your time and your ability to balance things. It’s okay to say no to things.

Create a system. Using a planner may help with this but having a system in place for daily responsibilities can help keep you focused on accomplishing everyday tasks and completing long term goals for yourself.

Recognizing the signs of ADHD and knowing what works to manage it for yourself or someone else, can help make your daily life a little less overwhelming. If you aren’t sure where to begin, talking to a friend or loved one or your primary physician is a great place to start.


Jill Haupts, Outreach Coordinator for The Kim Foundation

Jill Haupts is the Outreach Coordinator at The Kim Foundation. She received her bachelor’s degree in Child, Adult, and Family Services from Iowa State University in 2016. Jill joined the Kim Foundation in January of 2020, coming from Des Moines, Iowa. Her previous experience includes volunteer recruitment and fundraising, as well as experience coordinating services and providing resources to adults who have a mental health diagnosis. Jill’s role in the foundation is coordinating event logistics, presenting and attending community fairs, as well as volunteer coordination and recruitment. She enjoys working in the nonprofit field and has a passion for advocacy and helping others.