These adults may have a history of failure at school, problems at work, or difficult or failed relationships. Many have had multiple traffic accidents. Like teens, adults with ADHD may seem restless and may try to do several things at once, most of them unsuccessfully. They also tend to prefer "quick fixes," rather than taking the steps needed to achieve greater rewards.
ADHD has three subtypes:1
• Most symptoms (six or more) are in the hyperactivity-impulsivity categories.
• Fewer than six symptoms of inattention are present, although inattention may still be present to some degree.
• The majority of symptoms (six or more) are in the inattention category and fewer than six symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity are present, although hyperactivity-impulsivity may still be present to some degree.
• People with this subtype are less likely to act out or have difficulties getting along with others. They may sit quietly, but they are not paying attention to what they are doing. Therefore, ADHD may be overlooked.
Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive
• Six or more symptoms of inattention and six or more symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity are present.
How is ADHD assessed and diagnosed in adults? Like children, adults who suspect they have ADHD should be assessed by a licensed behavioral health professional. The practitioner will need to consider a wider range of symptoms when assessing adults for ADHD because their symptoms tend to be more varied and possibly not as clear cut as symptoms seen in children.
To be diagnosed with the condition, an adult must have ADHD symptoms that began in childhood and continued throughout adulthood.15 Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity (over-activity).
The practitioner should use a multi-disorder behavioral health assessment tool to assist them to reach a differential diagnosis that takes into account their overall behavioral health status as well as their history of childhood behavior and school experiences. The practitioner should also interview spouses or partners, parents, close friends, and other associates. The person could also undergo a physical examination.