What Does Undiagnosed ADHD Look Like In Adults?

What Does Undiagnosed ADHD Look Like In Adults

If you wonder about what undiagnosed ADHD in adults might look like, read this guide from Mental Health Haven.

How Does Undiagnosed ADHD Show Up In Adults?

Adult Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a mental health disorder that is characterized by persistent issues, such as difficulty concentrating, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. It is called adult ADHD, though its symptoms can start in early childhood and continue into adulthood. In some cases, the disorder is not diagnosed until the person is an adult, and the symptoms may not be as visible as in children. For some people with ADHD, the symptoms decrease as they get older, but for some adults, the major symptoms remain and interfere with their daily activities.

It is estimated that approximately 5-7% of adults in the United States have ADHD, however, it is thought that the majority of these individuals do not receive the appropriate treatment or assistance. While children with undiagnosed ADHD may be able to cope better with the condition, it may present greater difficulties as they progress into adulthood, such as in their relationships, educational pursuits, and professional roles. Adults with undiagnosed ADHD may demonstrate the following:

  • Poor listening skills, such as zoning out during meetings, can lead to misunderstandings or arguments with a spouse.

  • Distractibility can lead to difficulty concentrating during class or work, and even while driving.

  • Issues with organization, like being physically untidy or unable to meet deadlines, can further complicate matters.

  • Procrastination, or trouble getting started on tasks, can be a major source of stress in school, work, or relationships.

  • Lateness, which can be attributed to getting easily distracted or misjudging how long tasks take.

  • Restlessness, as someone with ADHD may have difficulty settling down and may appear to be tense or agitated to their peers.

  • Poor anger and emotional management as they experience difficulty managing their emotions, leading to outbursts over minor matters.

  • Issues setting priorities, leading to the neglect of important tasks in favor of less pressing ones.

What Is Executive Dysfunction?

Executive Dysfunction is a phrase used to refer to a collection of symptoms connected to ADHD. This neurological condition affects an individual’s ability to focus, think flexibly, remember information, stay organized, and manage their time. People with ADHD may experience executive dysfunction, and it can also be an issue for those with autism. It is important to note that not everyone with executive dysfunction necessarily has ADHD.

Executive functioning is a set of cognitive and mental skills which enable us to take action towards achieving a goal. Through executive functions, a person can plan out what to do to complete a task, create a timeline for it, modify any steps if required, and see the task through to the end. Many of the signs of undiscovered ADHD in adults (mentioned above) can be related to executive dysfunction. Someone struggling with executive dysfunction may have difficulty concentrating, ranking tasks in order of importance, dealing with frustration, or managing multiple responsibilities.

What Is Time Blindness?

People with ADHD often experience a symptom called time blindness, which is an inability to perceive the passage of time. This can lead to lateness or poor time management, as previously mentioned. Someone with time blindness may misjudge the length of time that a task will take, or how much time has passed or is left before an upcoming event. It may feel as if time is passing quickly, and it may look as though they are constantly losing track of time to those around them. Setting timers and listening to music can be helpful tools to help them stay on top of time.

Mental Health Haven has successfully provided integrative and holistic psychiatry services for many years to Stuart, FL, and the surrounding communities. With a focus on promoting overall mental health, nurse practitioner Chambers can help you find understanding and relief in person or through virtual appointments. Schedule your appointment and find out more by calling or texting 772-302-4352.