Attention deficit hyperactive disorder, or ADHD, is a condition characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, impulsiveness, or a combination. Less than 20 percent of adults with ADHD have been diagnosed or treated, and only about one-quarter of those adults seek help. Thought to be biological and most often genetic, ADHD takes place very early in brain development. Adults with ADHD may exhibit the same symptoms they had as children, and although hyperactivity often diminishes by adulthood, inattentiveness and impulsivity may persist.
Many children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD continue to experience symptoms after reaching adulthood. However, symptoms of ADHD tend to evolve and become more subtle with age. If overtly hyperactive behavior is part of the picture — for example, running around or having trouble sitting still — it usually emerges in childhood and is most noticeable during elementary school. By adolescence, hyperactivity often subsides or is manifested in less obvious ways, such as fidgeting or restlessness. By adulthood, the primary difficulty is with memory and attention see "Diagnosing ADHD in adults" — causing problems not only at work, but also with personal relationships and finances.
The disorder interferes with the quality of life by intruding on day-to-day functioning. These are:. Adults who have significant problems with inattention, but exhibit few or no symptoms of hyperactivity, are said to have the predominantly inattentive presentation of ADHD.
Adult ADHD can lead to unstable relationships, poor work or school performance, low self-esteem, and other problems. Though it's called adult ADHD , symptoms start in early childhood and continue into adulthood. In some cases, ADHD is not recognized or diagnosed until the person is an adult. In adults, hyperactivity may decrease, but struggles with impulsiveness, restlessness and difficulty paying attention may continue. Adult ADHD treatment includes medications, psychological counseling psychotherapy and treatment for any mental health conditions that occur along with ADHD.