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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health disorder that includes a combination of persistent problems, including difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. Adult ADHD can lead to unstable relationships, poor work or school performance, low self-esteem, and other problems.

Adult ADHD symptoms start in early childhood. In some cases, ADHD is not recognized or diagnosed until later in life. Adult ADHD symptoms may not be as apparent as ADHD symptoms in children. Adults may not be as hyperactive but may still struggle with impulsive behavior, restlessness, and difficulty paying attention.

Treatment for adult ADHD is similar to treatment for childhood ADHD. Adult ADHD treatment includes medications, psychotherapy, and treatment for co-occurring disorders. At Atlanta Center for Mental Health, we provide you with a variety of different dual diagnosis treatments, to help you live a better life.

ADHD Symptoms

Some people with ADHD have fewer symptoms as they age, but others continue to have significant symptoms that interfere with daily functioning. In adults, the main features of ADHD may include difficulty paying attention, impulsiveness, and restlessness. Symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Many adults with ADHD aren’t aware they have it. They just know that managing everyday tasks can be complex. Adults with ADHD may find it challenging to focus and prioritize, leading to missed deadlines and forgotten meetings or social plans. The inability to control impulses can range from impatience waiting in line or driving in traffic to mood swings and outbursts of anger.

Adult ADHD symptoms include:

  • Impulsiveness
  • Disorganization and problems prioritizing
  • Poor time management skills
  • Problems focusing on a task
  • Trouble multitasking
  • Excessive activity or restlessness
  • Poor planning
  • Low frustration tolerance

Adults with ADHD have difficulty following through or completing tasks. They can have extreme mood swings and be prone to angry outbursts because of an inability to cope with stress. Many adults with ADHD have co-occurring substance use disorders.


Traditionally, inattentive symptoms of attention deficit disorder (ADD), like trouble listening or managing time, were diagnosed as ADD. Symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsiveness were associated with ADHD. Today, ADD and ADHD are considered subtypes of the same diagnosis. ADHD is the official diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), regardless of whether or not a person demonstrates symptoms of hyperactivity. ADD is an outdated term typically used to describe inattentive-type ADHD.

ADHD Tests

There is no single test for diagnosing ADHD. An ADHD diagnosis relies on observation, interviews, and questionnaires or rating scales that measure symptoms. The information gathered is compared to the American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines in the DSM-5. Common tools include:

  • The Vanderbilt Assessment Scale – This 55 question assessment tool reviews the symptoms of ADHD and screens for other disorders, including oppositional-defiance disorder, anxiety, depression, and conduct disorder.
  • Behavior Assessment System for Children – This tool screens for symptoms like hyperactivity, aggression, and conduct problems. It also screens for anxiety, depression, attention, and a lack of specific essential skills.
  • Connors rating scale – This questionnaire asks about behavior, work or schoolwork, and social life, and how these symptoms affect grades, job, home life, and relationships.

The Neuropsychiatric EEG-Based Assessment Aid (NEBA) System is a scan that measures brain waves. This scan is approved for children and teens as part of a complete medical and psychological exam. Other tests help diagnose medical conditions that mimic ADHD.

Find Healing at Atlanta Center for Mental Health

Atlanta Center for Mental Health is a free-standing, non-hospital-setting residential facility treating co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders and primary mental health diagnoses. Our goal is to transform your life and put you on the path to wellness and recovery. If you are struggling with ADHD, depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, we can help. The services we provide include:

  • Residential mental health center
  • Dual diagnosis treatment program
  • Crisis intervention
  • Medication management
  • Alumni program

If you are still asking the question, what is ADHD? Reach out to us today. The experienced staff at Atlanta Center for Mental Health facility in Riverdale, GA, can help you through crisis and into continued healing from ADHD. Call us at 833.625.0458 or schedule a call using our secure online form. Retreat, recover and restart with our help.