Your wired younger cousin isn’t the only who struggles with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Though a childhood condition that often subsides as individuals grow older, ADHD can continue to affect people well into adulthood. In fact, about one third of those who have ADHD continue to deal with the disorder’s symptoms—think: impulsivity, poor time management skills, trouble focusing or multitasking—as they age.
And while the causes of the condition aren’t fully understood, there are known factors that contribute to the likelihood of an ADHD diagnosis, including one’s genetics, environment (including lead exposure early in life), and developmental problems, like abnormalities in the central nervous system.
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Timing: Though it’s called adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, symptoms start in childhood and continue into adulthood.
Awareness: Many adults with ADHD aren’t aware they have it.
Symptom prevalence: Some adults with ADHD have fewer symptoms as they age, while others continue to have major symptoms that can make it hard to function day to day.
Symptom type: ADHD symptoms tend to look different in adults than in children. In adults, symptoms may include fidgeting, forgetfulness, difficulty completing tasks and maintaining relationships.
Medications: The same kinds of medications used for childhood ADHD tend to work in adults.