Adult ADHD was once considered rare in the United States, but in recent years, the diagnosis has become increasingly common. Today, 4.4% of American adults meet the criteria for an adult ADHD diagnosis. Understanding what an ADHD diagnosis means for an adult in the United States can help reduce the stigma surrounding the condition and help those exhibiting symptoms get the treatment they need.
Learn to recognize the signs of adult ADHD, such as ADHD shivers, and find out how to get help if you receive a diagnosis.
What Is Adult ADHD and What Causes the Condition?
ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that’s usually identified in childhood but can carry on into adulthood. The causes of ADHD are thought to be primarily genetic, but some factors that can cause ADHD include:
- Brain injury
- Mother’s substance use during pregnancy
- Exposure to lead or other environmental risks at a young age
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
The signs and symptoms of ADHD share some similarities between children and adults but aren’t always the same. It’s important to know what to look for when assessing whether you’re experiencing signs of ADHD as an adult.
Recognize the Signs of Adult ADHD
Children with ADHD often outgrow some hyperactivity symptoms, but the impulsivity and short attention span can continue into adulthood. However, some individuals won’t receive an ADHD diagnosis until they’re already adults.
The most common signs of ADHD in adults are:
- Lack of focus: Lacking focus doesn’t necessarily mean trouble paying attention for long periods. It can manifest as an inability to see projects through to completion, poor listening skills or a lack of attention to details when completing a task. This may also present itself as ADHD hobby jumping or ADHD obsessive interests, where someone can’t commit to a single activity.
- Forgetfulness: Being forgetful is another symptom of adult ADHD that may be easy to overlook. Though it’s natural to forget things sometimes, being overly forgetful to the point that you appear careless or unintelligent is a problem because it can impact your career or relationships. Forgetting a partner’s birthday or anniversary despite reminders or regularly failing to meet deadlines at work are issues that can indicate your forgetfulness is a sign of a mental health condition.
- Impulsivity: Being impulsive isn’t always a negative quality, but in someone experiencing ADHD, it can become dangerous or inappropriate. Someone with adult ADHD may exhibit impulsivity by interrupting conversations, rushing to complete tasks, behaving rudely or inappropriately in public or making rash decisions.
- Being hyper-focused: A 2020 study indicates there’s a connection between ADHD and experiencing hyperfocus. The opposite of being easily distracted, hyperfocus occurs when the individual becomes so engrossed by one thing that they lose awareness of anything else going on around them. For adults with ADHD, this commonly looks like having a conversation with one person and being so focused on what they’re saying that you fail to hear someone else chiming in. This could also appear as ADHD obsessive hobbies.
- Lack of time management skills: Adults who have ADHD may find time management challenging, showing up late to events or missing deadlines at work due to procrastination.
- Anxiety or restlessness: The hyperactivity component of ADHD can appear as restlessness or nervousness in adults. They may be unable to sit still for long periods or need to tap their feet or fidget with their hands. People with ADHD may also be shaking or experience ADHD chills, where they seem to shiver from hyperactivity.
- Substance use and abuse: A 2015 study indicates that individuals with ADHD have an increased risk of developing a substance use disorder (SUD). Adults with ADHD may use substances like alcohol or drugs in an attempt to self-medicate and reduce other symptoms they are experiencing.
- Negative self-image or lack of self-esteem: People with ADHD may have a tendency to be hypercritical of themselves. A 2017 study found no link between ADHD symptoms and depression resulting from negative self-image. However, it did determine that ADHD inattention affected self-esteem in an academic and athletic context, and hyperactivity symptoms impacted self-perception in regard to behaviors, such as in social settings.
- Disorganization: Adults with ADHD may appear chronically disorganized. They’re likely to have difficulty making plans, sticking to a schedule and prioritizing how to complete tasks. ADHD and adrenaline addiction can also occur, resulting in people leaving things to the last minute to chase the thrill.
What To Do If You Are Exhibiting ADHD Shivers or Other Signs of ADHD
Untreated ADHD in adults can have a negative impact on various aspects of your life. Poor time management, forgetfulness and a lack of patience can create friction in the workplace and in your personal life. Approximately 33% of childhood ADHD cases don’t resolve themselves, requiring the person to seek treatment into adulthood.
If the symptoms are relatively mild, you can start by discussing them with your primary care physician. Explain what you’re experiencing and how it’s impacting your daily life. For the condition to be considered a serious problem, it needs to interfere with your ability to function.
In severe cases, you may want to seek inpatient treatment through a facility like FHE Health. Treatment options for ADHD range from medication and talk therapy to holistic remedies or a combination of these methods. Adults with ADHD can try CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) as a starting point for managing ADHD symptoms. CBT provides you with real-world tools to improve your response to situations and is proven to help boost self-esteem and reduce anxiety in people with ADHD.
Medications for treating ADHD can include stimulants, non-stimulants and antidepressants. These are prescribed by a doctor or psychiatrist, depending on what signs of adult ADHD you’re experiencing.
Holistic remedies refer to living a healthy, active lifestyle to reduce the instances of anxiety or depression that may result from adult ADHD. Exercising frequently, reducing sugar intake and getting a good night’s sleep are some of the best natural ways to manage symptoms of ADHD.
Seek Mental Health Treatment in Florida
If you’re experiencing signs of adult ADHD, you’re not alone. Call one of our dedicated counselors at FHE Health today at (833) 596-3502. We can take your call 24/7 and will work with you to develop a treatment plan that helps you get your life back on track.