Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a developmental disorder, which affects every aspect of people’s lives. People with ADHD can seem restless, may have trouble concentrating and may act on impulse. Symptoms of ADHD tend to be noticed at an early age and may become more noticeable when a child’s circumstances change, such as when they start school.
Most cases are diagnosed when children are 6 to 12 years old.
The symptoms of ADHD can improve with age, but many adults who were diagnosed with the condition at a young age continue to experience problems.
In early adulthood, ADHD may be associated with anxiety, OCD, mood disorder or behavioural problems like anger management issues or antisocial behaviour.
Adults with ADHD often experience difficulties at work, and in their personal and family lives related to ADHD symptoms. Many have inconsistent performance at work or in their careers; have difficulties with day-to-day responsibilities; experience relationship problems; and may have chronic feelings of frustration, guilt, blame or shame. People with ADHD may also have additional problems, such as sleep and anxiety disorders.
For adults with possible ADHD, your GP will assess your symptoms and may refer you for an assessment to the Adult ADHD Service if:
- you have not been diagnosed with ADHD, but have had persistent ADHD symptoms since childhood
- you have symptoms that resemble ADHD and they significantly affect your day-to-day life – for example, if you’re underachieving at work or in education, find maintaining relationships difficult and problems with sleep. Your symptoms cannot be explained by another mental health condition.
- You may also be referred to a specialist if you had ADHD as a child or young person, and your symptoms are still causing moderate or severe functional impairment.