Adult ADHD is slightly higher amongst males over females and often leads to relationship failure, but it’s also largely misunderstood.
One of South Africa’s leading experts in ADHD - and author of New Hope for ADHD in children and adults: a practical guide - Helena Bester, said a lack of concentration, absentmindedness, leaving jobs incomplete, starting things and not finishing them and disorganization are among the symptoms of ADHD in adults.
There are 18 symptoms of ADHD, with the three main symptoms being inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.
Bester has summarized some of the main symptoms to look for:
Some Inattentive ADHD Symptoms:
- Typically one would see carelessness, like regular mistakes, are made at work.
- A lack of concentration, absentmindedness: jobs are not completed, start things and don’t finish (this is a major issue as it also causes problems in relationships)
- Disorganised: desks are messy, deadlines are not met. But the disorganization can also be a right brain issue so you can’t diagnose as ADHD if people are just slightly disorganized.
- Easily distracted, forgetful, hyperfocus on inappropriate things: In adults, there's a tendency to hyper-focus. For example, setting out to complete a tax return, but then you come across an email about a trip and then research this in the greatest detail. Three hours later nothing is done on the tax return and they are not aware that they are off path either.
- Inattentiveness in adults also presents in poor time management and that causes severe problems in the work environment. It also presents in that they have difficulty prioritizing tasks.
- Procrastination (in the work environment and also in their relationships): Often get into difficult situations and wait until it is far beyond any rational, reasonable time to start on a task. So normally because of that, they are always late for appointments etcetera.
Some Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD Symptoms:
- Fidgetiness: Struggle to be still for long. Don’t do well in a meeting. Always find a reason to just get up and move a bit. Constantly on the move, always looking for what’s next to do.
- Restlessness and talkativeness, talking excessively: blurt out responses, you often complete people's sentences for them.
- Can’t wait your turn in queues, very impatient.
- Often interrupt others and take over what other people are doing.