What are the symptoms of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)?

ADDAttention Deficit Disorder (ADD) also known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a psychiatric disorder that is commonly diagnosed at a young age of seven years, and in approximately 60% of this cases carry on into adult hood. However, some individuals get diagnosed at adulthood. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 39 million people suffered from ADD/ADHD globally as at 2013. Adult Males are three times more likely to suffer from ADHD as compared to adult females. In a lifetime 12.9% of male adults will be diagnosed and a corresponding 4.9% of female adults (Source: Health line, Facts-Statistics)

If not diagnosed or left untreated ADD/ADHD can lead to a number of mental and physical problems that include:

  • Difficulty in carrying out aspects of day to day activities
  • It leads to strains in relationships

There are a number of symptoms to watch for in diagnosing ADHD/ADD in adults though, symptoms are unique for each individual. The symptoms to watch out for can be categorized into six groups and are discussed in the following paragraphs.


At times a person with ADHD can concentrate so much in activities they presume to be interesting that they become oblivious of their environment. They put so much focus in their work. This can be a plus when channeled into productive activities. Such focus often leads to:-

  • Misunderstandings in relationships as individuals become so engrossed in what they are doing that they often lose track of time and/or often ignore those around them
  • Work problems

Trouble focusing

This is opposite to hyperfocus. Such individuals have trouble staying focused and easily distracted. They also have trouble completing everyday tasks. This particular symptom often goes ignored since ADD is associated with hyperactivity. The main signs to look at include:

  • Lack of focus
  • Difficulty completing even the simplest of tasks
  • Easily distractible or high distractibility
  • Often overlooking details
  • Difficulty in listening to others talk and recalling conversations


People with ADHD struggle with being organized. Life being chaotic and stressful makes it hard for them to cope. The main issues are time management, logical prioritization of issues, and keeping track of activities. Common symptoms of disorganization:-

  • Constantly procrastinating
  • Poor organizational skills (Having a messy environment)
  • Tendency to procrastinate
  • Trouble starting and finishing projects
  • Chronic lateness
  • Underestimating the amount of time required to do a particular activity.  


Impulsivity is basically not being in control of ones behaviors, emotions, comments, and responses. An individual may react without thinking, such individuals lack patience. The main signs to look at include:

  • Often making inappropriate or rude remarks (Blurting out comments)
  • Constantly interrupting others while they are talking
  • Generally having poor self-control
  • Spontaneity, often acting with disregard to consequences
  • Addictive tendencies such as impulse buying
  • Being socially inappropriate
  • Hastily rushing through tasks


Forgetfulness is a common sign seen in people with ADHD. Yes, it is human to forget things but, occasionally. Persons with ADHD have a habit of constantly forgetting things. They forget the simplest of things, such as where they put house keys, and others are often serious. This is often associated with carelessness and can be damaging to persons with ADHD.

Emotional Problems

Being able to manage ones emotion is critical to healthy living. Adults with ADHD have difficulty having their emotions under control especially anger, boredom, and frustration. Their emotions seem to be a constant roller coaster. Symptoms to look at while looking at emotional problems include:

  • Low self esteem
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty coping with frustrations
  • Constantly irritable
  • Hot tempered
  • Issues with staying motivated
  • Easily stressed out
  • Frequent bouts of depression
  • Sensitive to any form of criticism

Untreated emotional problems can have a polarizing effect, which can add complications to personal and professional relationships.

Since each adult individual has symptoms unique to him/her, the symptoms vary from one person to another.

Other symptoms to look for would include:

  • Hyperactivity or restlessness
  • Health Problems, since an individual may neglect their health
  • Restlessness and Anxiety
  • Constantly having feelings of underachievement

However, it is important to note that adults with ADHD/ADD portray less hyperactivity as compared to their young counterparts. Thus, as long as individual portrays any of the above symptoms, seeking medical attention is important. 

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