ADHD (Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) in adults

Over the next few weeks the blog will focus on mental health conditions that get less attention from the media and the general public.  Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults is something you may not know as a mental health disorder and it can affect adults not just children.   ADHD sits in the neurodevelopmental disorder category and can be quite difficult to see in adults or be very subtle day to day.


You may have said or heard the following phrases about children who display ADHD

“Boys will be boys”

“You’ll grow out of it”

“You are so naughty”

“You have ants in your pants, you can’t sit still”

This stigma in childhood is that you must be a bad parent, you have a badly behaved child and you cannot control your child.  Image what this type of response makes the parent feel.

If ADHD continues into adulthood the stigma still remains but in a different way which could relate to work, relationships, life choices and behaviours which can all affect the individual’s wellbeing.

At work

Image you are in a team meeting, you cannot sit still, you notice a light bulb flashing in the far corner, you start to concentrate on the flicker and you miss sections of the conversation.  You start tapping your pen, drawing on your notepad and finding it more uncomfortable to be in the room.  This can be what living with ADHD can feel like every day, if the structure of the meeting is more a free fall anyone can contribute format this can create anxiety.  You maybe seen as the one who doesn’t contribute, and if you do you might miss social cues and talk over or over talk about a subject. This can make you colleagues feel angry and confused if they do not understand the reason why.

In a relationship

Adults with ADHD can form and hold meaningful relationships however they may appear disinterested and distant with their loved one.  They may be forgetful about doing chores, tasks and picking up something from the shop.  Their time keeping maybe up and down and loved ones may get frustrated with them if they don’t get up and follow normal day to day rhythms.   Loved ones sometimes find it hard to read their partners behavioural and social cues which can cause tension.


Adults who have ADHD can have good and bad days, but keeping well is important, they may display impulsive and destructive behaviours and make bad choices.  Having a good support network around them can be the key to finding new ways to work, live their life and keep well.  Live with ADHD can feel like a fast-flowing river and by finding ways to dam the impulsiveness and hyperactivity can help with becoming more attentive.

Next weeks focus : Dementia

Blog Written by: Laura Nellist