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Can You Develop ADHD as an Adult?

can you develop adhd as an adult

Can you develop ADHD as an adult?

The short answer is yes, adults can be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It may not always be easy to recognize adult ADHD symptoms in yourself or a loved one. Understanding how this disorder develops and how it can affect your life will help you get the diagnosis and treatment that’s right for you. 

How Can You Develop ADHD as an Adult?

ADHD is commonly known as a childhood-onset neurodevelopmental disorder, but it doesn’t necessarily have to stay there; some people don’t receive a diagnosis until adulthood. 

According to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry, the absence of a childhood diagnosis of ADHD should not preclude adults with such a disorder from receiving clinical attention from a mental healthcare provider.

[Related: When To See A Psychiatrist For Child Mental Health Issues]

childhood adhd

This could be because they weren’t aware of their condition earlier in life or because their childhood ADHD symptoms didn’t become severe enough until later on.

Adult-onset attention deficit hyperactivity disorder usually presents itself differently than childhood-onset, so medical professionals need to take into account any changes over time when diagnosing ADHD. 

Common Adult ADHD Symptoms

The common adult symptoms of ADHD include difficulty concentrating, impulsive behaviors, restlessness or hyperactivity, disorganization, forgetfulness, etc., although these are different from person-to-person depending on the severity of each symptom experienced by them individually. 

Help Is Available

If you think that something might not feel quite right about your mental health state, then seeking professional advice would certainly help. 

Like many other psychiatric disorders, speaking with your doctor about potential diagnoses should always come first before self-diagnosing as adult ADHD can be more complicated than a straightforward continuation of the childhood disorder.

can you develop adhd as an adult

Your doctor may ask questions related to both physical & emotional well-being, check related environmental factors, give tests such as memory recall & focus tasks, provide referrals for psychological assessment and behavioral therapy, and discuss lifestyle management strategies, all of which contribute towards confirming/ruling out any form of mental health problems, including adult ADHD or ADD.

So, if you or someone you know is experiencing the symptoms but still asking yourself the question… “can you develop ADHD as an adult?” Take it as a strong signal to seek professional help.

PNS Orange County Psychiatric Hospital is here to help diagnose and treat various mental disorders, including ADHD. We welcome patients of all ages — children, young adults, and even those in late adulthood. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team for your mental health needs.


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