What is ADHD in Adults?

Many of us struggle to pay attention at times or may act before thinking in certain situations. But adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) suffer from a serious condition that may cause persistent inattention, impulsivity or hyperactivity.

ADHD isn’t just a children’s disorder—many people carry symptoms into adulthood. Others go undiagnosed as children or may develop ADHD later in life. Mercy’s behavioral health experts specialize in diagnosing and treating ADHD in people of all ages. They can help you effectively manage adult ADHD and minimize its impact on your life. 

What Causes ADHD in Adults?

While the exact cause of adult ADHD is unknown, several factors can contribute to the disorder, including:


ADHD can run in families. Differences in certain brain genes can be inherited.

Developmental Issues

ADHD is thought to be a lack of full development of the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for focus, attention, and planning and carrying out tasks.


Exposure to lead, smoking or having a traumatic brain injury can cause ADHD.


For some people with ADHD, certain foods like sugar, dyes or additives may make symptoms of ADHD worse. A healthy diet that includes Omega-3 fatty acids and is complete in vitamins and minerals may have a positive effect on ADHD symptoms.

Adult ADHD Symptoms 

For both adults and children, ADHD is characterized by inattention, impulsivity or hyperactivity. People with ADHD may not have all the symptoms or experience them the same way. Adults with ADHD may exhibit behaviors such as:

  • Being disorganized
  • Having trouble remembering things
  • Displaying poor planning and time management skills
  • Finding it hard to focus on, prioritize or complete tasks
  • Having difficulty multitasking
  • Being excessively restless
  • Becoming very easily frustrated
  • Having frequent mood swings
  • Displaying a “hot temper”
  • Having trouble coping with stress

Many adults face significant difficulties at work and in their personal lives because of their symptoms. When these symptoms are long-lasting and disrupt your life, it’s time to talk with your Mercy doctor. He or she will meet with you to rule out other medical issues and may refer you to a Mercy behavioral health expert for evaluation.

Diagnosis & Treatment for Adult ADHD

If you or a loved one is experiencing signs of adult ADHD, Mercy's behavioral health specialists are here to help.

Learn about diagnosis and treatment options for adult ADHD here.

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