Signs of Adult ADHD vs. ADHD in Children

In children, some of the most noticeable ADHD symptoms involve intense hyperactivity and impulsivity. Kids with the disorder may seem to be constantly in motion and unable to wait their turn. Their struggles to pay attention and sit still are most noticeable in a school environment.

Adults, on the other hand, typically have less noticeable hyperactive and impulsive symptoms. They may feel restless or make risky decisions in their personal life, but others may not connect these behaviors with ADHD. Generally, ADHD in adults typically involves more of a struggle with inattentive symptoms, like losing things, being forgetful, and not paying attention to detail. These challenges can have an impact on performance at work and can affect someone’s relationships with friends and family.

Why Are Adult ADHD Symptoms Different?

If someone is diagnosed with ADHD as an adult, most experts believe that they likely had it as a child. An adult ADHD diagnosis indicates that the patient’s childhood ADHD simply went undetected, or was possibly misdiagnosed as something else, such as a learning disorder.

There are a number of reasons that symptoms of ADHD in adults can look somewhat different than those in kids. In many cases, adult ADHD symptoms are less noticeable because people with the disorder develop coping skills that allow them to manage or mask their symptoms. Some of their symptoms may have improved in adulthood, or they may have simply become more adept at hiding them.

Some ADHD adults may also experience co-occurring conditions that didn’t pop up during their childhood years, such as anxiety, depression, or substance abuse disorders. These conditions can complicate things when diagnosing ADHD in adults.

Adult ADHD Treatment vs. ADHD Treatment for Children

Medications are considered the first-line treatment for ADHD regardless of whether someone is diagnosed with ADHD as an adult or as a child. There are stimulant and non-stimulant ADHD medications for adults and kids, both of which can be very effective at helping to minimize symptoms.

Therapy is also recommended alongside medication. For children, behavior therapy is recommended to help build life skills for managing ADHD symptoms. Treatment for adult ADHD, on the other hand, should include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is focused more on changing negative thought patterns associated with the disorder.

How to Test for ADHD: Adults and Children

Think you or your child might have ADHD? Done offers a simple, affordable way to get a child or adult ADHD screening. After completing a one-minute online assessment, we’ll set you up with a same-day or next-day appointment with a licensed ADHD clinician. Patients diagnosed with ADHD get ongoing care through online visits, worry-free refills, and access to a 24/7 care team. Start your assessment now to get help from Done.