Signs and Symptoms of Adult ADHD

There are 18 official DSM symptoms of ADHD, but the disorder affects people’s lives in so many other ways.

Below is a master list of both clinical symptoms of ADHD as well as more general “signs” of ADHD.

Keep in mind that most people have a few of these traits, and this list can’t act as the basis for a diagnosis. But if you identify with a lot of these symptoms to the point that they cause problems in your life, it’s definitely worth looking into further — it could change your life.

If you think of any signs or symptoms of ADHD that I missed, let me know in the comments below!

1.  Having trouble sustaining attention

2. Being able to focus intensively on things that are interesting but having poor concentration on things that are routine

3. Overlooking details

4. Forgetting things

5. Fidgeting

6. Having a hard time sitting still

7. Being impatient

8. Becoming bored easily and having a low tolerance for boredom

9. Interrupting people

10. Procrastinating

11. Lacking self-control

12. Being prone to addictive behavior

13. Not listening to people

14. Getting lots of traffic tickets

15. Being disorganized

16. Making careless mistakes

17. Starting lots of projects but never finishing them

18. Thinking of yourself as lazy

19. Having trouble with mundane tasks

20. Getting distracted easily

21. Lacking motivation

22. Rushing through things

23. Self-medicating with cigarettes, alcohol or coffee

24. Having low frustration tolerance

25. Having problems with sleep

26. Being chronically late

27. Not planning ahead

28. Having time-management problems

29. Underachieving

30. Acting on impulse

31. Taking risks

32. Seeking novelty

33. Doing things to get a high

34. Craving stimulation

35. Being absent-minded

36. Being restless

37. Losing things

38. Opting for short-term rewards rather than delaying gratification

39. Having trouble switching from one task to another

40. Having trouble regulating emotions

41. Having lots of “nervous energy”

42. Having other neuropsychiatric disorders like mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders and substance abuse

43. Saying things or acting without thinking

44. Having to reread things because you read without having the meaning of the words “sink in”

45. Being unable to accurately estimate how long things will take

46. Chronically underachieving

47. Getting off track and taking much longer than necessary on simple tasks

48. Paying attention to details of your environment that are irrelevant to the task at hand

49. “Hyperfocusing” on rewarding activities

50. Not being able to summon the cognitive resources to actually do things you know how to do


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