ADHD in Adults: Recognizing Symptoms & Seeking Treatment

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Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a general neurodevelopmental disorder that influences people of all ages. While ADHD is often associated with children, it is estimated that 4.4% of adults in the United States also have it.

This article will explore what ADHD is, the importance of recognizing its symptoms, how it affects adults differently, and the various treatment options available for adults with ADHD.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that changes a person’s ability to pay attention, control impulses, and regulate behavior. It is a chronic condition that can last throughout a person’s life. The three main types of ADHD include inattentive, hyperactive-impulsive, and combined.

  • Inattentive type ADHD is characterized by inattention, difficulty paying attention, and forgetfulness.
  • Hyperactive-impulsive ADHD is characterized by hyperactivity and impulsivity, such as fidgeting and interrupting others.
  • Combined type ADHD involves symptoms of both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity.
The three main types of ADHD include inattentive, hyperactive-impulsive, and combined.

Understanding Adult ADHD

ADHD affects the way the brain processes information and is known to interfere with daily functioning. While the symptoms of ADHD are usually first noticed in childhood, many people do not receive a formal diagnosis until adulthood.

Why Recognizing Symptoms is Important

Recognizing the symptoms of ADHD is important because it can significantly impact a person’s life. Without proper treatment, ADHD can lead to relationship issues, career and work issues, substance abuse, and other mental health concerns. By recognizing the symptoms and seeking treatment, individuals with ADHD can improve their quality of life and reduce the risk of developing additional problems.


ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, while ADD stands for Attention Deficit Disorder. In the past, ADD was used to describe individuals who had symptoms of inattention but did not display hyperactivity or impulsivity.

However, in the most recent version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), ADD is no longer a separate diagnosis. Instead, the term ADHD is used to describe individuals who have symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity, or a combination of these.

How ADHD Affects Adults Differently

ADHD can affect adults differently than children. While children with ADHD may struggle with academic performance and social skills, adults with ADHD may struggle with organization, time management, and maintaining relationships. They may also experience low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression.

While children with ADHD may struggle with academic performance and social skills, adults with ADHD may struggle with organization, time management, and maintaining relationships.

Causes of ADHD

The correct cause of ADHD is unknown, but it is considered a fusion of genetic and environmental factors. Research has shown that ADHD is hereditary, and certain environmental factors, such as exposure to toxins and maternal smoking during pregnancy, may increase the risk of developing the condition.

Common Symptoms of ADHD

Common symptoms of ADHD in adults include difficulty paying attention, forgetfulness, disorganization, procrastination, impulsivity, and restlessness. Adults with ADHD may also have difficulty following through with tasks, completing work on time, and maintaining relationships.

Recognizing the symptoms of ADHD in adults can be challenging because they may be mistaken for other conditions, such as depression or anxiety. It is essential to look for behavior patterns, such as consistently being late for appointments or forgetting important dates.

Distinguishing between ADHD and other conditions can be difficult because the symptoms may overlap. A healthcare expert can conduct a thorough evaluation to determine the underlying cause of the symptoms.

Effects of Untreated ADHD in Adults:

  • Relationship issues: Unprocessed ADHD can have a significant impact on relationships. Adults with ADHD may have difficulty maintaining friendships and romantic relationships due to forgetfulness, impulsivity, and poor communication skills.
  • Career and work issues: ADHD can also affect a person’s career and work performance. Adults with ADHD may have difficulty staying focused on tasks, meeting deadlines, and completing work on time. 
ADHD can also affect a person's career and work performance.

Can ADHD Lead To Substance Abuse?

Studies have shown that adults with ADHD are likelier to develop substance abuse and addiction issues than those without the disorder. It may be due to the impulsivity and risk-taking behaviors associated with ADHD.

Untreated ADHD can also increase the risk of developing other mental health concerns like anxiety and depression. These environments can further exacerbate the symptoms of ADHD and make it more challenging to manage.

Diagnosing ADHD in Adults

Diagnosing ADHD in adults involves a comprehensive evaluation of their medical history and symptoms and is usually conducted by a psychiatrist or psychologist in collaboration with other healthcare providers. To determine the underlying cause of the symptoms, various tests and assessments, such as a physical exam, psychological evaluation, and behavioral and cognitive tests, may be used. These assessments not only assist in identifying the underlying cause of the symptoms but also help rule out other conditions.

Treatment Options for Adult ADHD

  • Medications: Medications are a standard treatment option for adults with ADHD. Stimulant medications, such as methylphenidate and amphetamines, are typically prescribed to help improve attention and reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity.
  • Therapy: Therapy can also be an effective treatment option for adults with ADHD. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and psychotherapy can help individuals develop coping strategies and improve their social skills and communication.
  • Lifestyle changes: Making lifestyle changes, such as better sleep habits, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy diet, can also help manage the symptoms of ADHD.

Managing ADHD Symptoms at Home

  • Organization and time management strategies: Individuals with ADHD can benefit from developing organization and time management strategies, such as creating a schedule and breaking tasks into smaller, manageable steps.
  • Stress management techniques: Stress management abilities like meditation and deep breathing exercises can help individuals with ADHD manage their symptoms and improve their overall well-being.
  • Exercise and diet: Routine exercise and a healthy diet can also help manage the symptoms of ADHD by improving mood and reducing impulsivity.
Individuals with ADHD can benefit from developing organization and time management strategies, such as creating a schedule and breaking tasks into smaller, manageable steps.

Supporting Someone with ADHD:

  • Understanding the challenges: It is essential to understand the challenges individuals with ADHD face to provide adequate support. These challenges may include difficulty with organization, time management, and communication.
  • Communication strategies: Effective communication is vital when supporting someone with ADHD. Using clear and concise language, active listening, and providing positive reinforcement can help improve communication and strengthen relationships.
  • Helping with treatment and management: Supporting someone with ADHD may involve helping them adhere to their treatment plan and develop coping strategies to manage their symptoms.

ADHD Treatment at Launch Centers

If you’re struggling to manage ADHD or know someone who could benefit from treatment, contact Launch Centers in Los Angeles. Our healthcare professionals specialize in creating customized treatment plans to address your unique needs and challenges, which may include medication management, therapy, and lifestyle changes. We closely monitor medication to ensure its effectiveness and minimize side effects.

About Our Founder

Jose Hernandez, for over a decade, has been involved in alcohol and addiction recovery helping people succeed in overcoming substance abuse and regaining control of their lives. He has experience in all aspects of the recovery world, from facilitating entry into treatment as an intervention specialist to counseling and case management at rehabilitation facilities. Jose has worked one-on-one with individuals as a sober companion and with groups as a resident counselor at addiction treatment centers and is certified by the California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC) to practice as a substance abuse counselor.

Through his professional experiences in crisis intervention, drug and alcohol detoxification, substance abuse counseling, and relapse prevention, Jose has developed a unique plan for case management that bridges the gap between a person’s painful past of substance abuse and a future of sobriety.

At Riviera Recovery, a sober living facility with multiple locations, clients continue their transition from the supportive environment of a treatment center to living well and happily in the “real” world. The program he designed at Riviera Recovery personalizes treatment plans that enable clients, including those with a single or dual-diagnosed mental health disorder, to embrace a satisfying life.

His greatest endeavor has been establishing LAUNCH, a Los Angeles-based life skills intensive outpatient program for young adults. LAUNCH works with recovering men and women to establish personal vocational and educational goals and develop the tools to successfully meet them. His mission is to ensure that no one stands alone in his or her recovery.

Meet Our Clinical Team

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Jess Beck, LCSW

Clinical Director

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Eric Chaghouri, MD


chloe kruskol los angeles rehab team

Chloe Kruskol, LCSW

Family Program Manager

Our Testimonials

Clients and Professionals Share Their Experience

  • HO

    Launch provided care on multiple levels. The highly skilled therapist coupled with the focus on purpose and long-term goals refocused my recovery from what previous treatment centers pushed onto me. I went from believing that I needed years of treatment to believing I needed years happiness and success. I began to focus on what I wanted to accomplish with my life. I came to realize all the things my addiction and mental illness had taken from me, and I used my future goals as a reason to never pick up again. Due to the passion that Launch instilled in me, I have pursued my future with excitement and dedication.

  • Nicole

    This place changed my life! I’ve had good laughs, good cries, shared a lot of heart to heart moments and grew a loving bond with everyone at Launch Centers. I will always be grateful!!! I really do miss it time to time. I highly recommend Launch Centers!

  • Joey

    The staff and clinicians are amazing and make you feel right at home from the second you walk in the door. I would absolutely recommend this place for a family member or close friend.

  • Ben

    This treatment facility has changed my life. I have always struggled with my mental health and this young adult program provided me with the necessary skills to launch to adulthood. I commend anyone who struggles with mental health or substance use (which was not me) to try this program out. It will change your life.

  • Conner

    Launch Centers Treatment was a major help to me. The therapists and staff genuinely cared about me and truly helped me to make a plan for my future. My personal therapists helped me to discover where some of my deeper issues came from. All of the staff worked tirelessly with me to talk through my issues, or just about life, and offered realistic solutions to my current problems and situation. All of the staff went above and beyond and advocated relentlessly for me. I am very grateful that I was able to have such a wonderful experience with Launch.

  • Adam

    In no uncertain terms Launch Centers changed my life. The staff at Launch are professional, knowledgable and relatable. They keep the format diverse and interesting which kept me engaged in the process. The greatest thing we can do in life is seek to improve ourselves. Launch gave me a skill set I consider to be invaluable in the journey of becoming the best version of myself. I would implore anybody considering Launch to step outside their comfort zone and go, you will not regret it.


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