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What Is Adult ADD?

ADD in adults is an increasingly significant concern in the health and medical fields. ADD, or attention deficit disorder, is a condition primarily diagnosed in school-aged children and, though to a lesser degree, in adolescents. It is estimated that anywhere from one-third to three-quarters of people who have ADD as children will continue to exhibit symptoms into adulthood; however, a growing number of people are being handed their first diagnosis of ADD as adults.

Experts believe that attention deficit disorders always begin in early childhood, so a diagnosis of adult ADD does not occur because someone has developed ADD later in life, but rather because their lifetime of symptoms up to that point had not been properly identified.

Adult ADD is commonly considered part of the broader term adult AD/HD, which includes attention disorders that both do and do not feature hyperactivity as one of their prominent symptoms.

Adult ADD Tests Online

Online questionnaires can be the first step in identifying the possibility that you have adult ADD, but these types of questionnaires are for informational purposes only, and it is still extremely important that you see your doctor to get a proper confirmation of diagnosis and treatment plan. Here are links to a couple of ADHD tests:

Adult ADHD Self-Report Scales (ASRS): Downloadable 6- or 18-question tests from Harvard Medical School.

WebMD Health Check: Questionnaire that can be used by adults with AD/HD or parents of children with AD/HD.


Common symptoms of ADD in adults are very similar to those in children, and include:

  • Restlessness; inability to concentrate or focus on task at hand
  • Disorganization
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Lack of coping mechanisms when faced with stressors; high anxiety and loss of temper
  • Mood swings

Additionally, their symptoms often lead adults with ADD to have negative factors in their lives such as:

  • Strained, unstable or unsuccessful personal relationships
  • Poor performance in school or at work
  • Low self-esteem and poor self-image


For adult ADD, medication and counseling are usually recommended to help control symptoms. Adult ADD treatment might also include additional psychotherapy for other emotional or social issues or conditions that have arisen as a result of the patient’s having lived so long with an undiagnosed disorder. Family therapy can help improve the patient’s relationship with their spouse and children, and help family members to better understand how ADD impacts their loved one’s behavior.

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