It may make you think of kids who have trouble paying attention or who are hyperactive or impulsive. Adults can have ADHD too. About 4% to 5% of U.S. adults have it. But few adults get diagnosed or treated for it.
Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health disorder that includes a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. Adult ADHD can lead to unstable relationships, poor work or school performance, low self-esteem, and other problems.
Almost everyone has some symptoms similar to ADHD at some point in their lives. ADHD is diagnosed only when symptoms are severe enough to cause ongoing problems in more than one area of your life. Many adults with ADHD aren't aware they have it — they just know that everyday tasks can be a challenge.
Adults with ADHD may find it difficult to focus and prioritize, leading to missed deadlines and forgotten meetings or social plans. The inability to control impulses can range from impatience waiting in line or driving in traffic to mood swings and outbursts of anger.
Standard treatments for ADHD in adults typically involve medication, education, skills training, and psychological counseling. A combination of these is often the most effective treatment. These treatments can help manage many symptoms of ADHD, but they don't cure it. It may take some time to determine what works best for you. Counseling for adult ADHD generally includes psychological counseling (psychotherapy), education about the disorder, and learning skills to help you be successful.