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Adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (also referred to as Adult ADHD, Adult ADD or simply ADHD in adults) is the neurobiological condition of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults. About one-third to two-thirds of children with symptoms from early childhood continue to demonstrate notable ADHD symptoms throughout life.
Three subtypes of ADHD are identified in the DSM-IV (inattentive, hyperactive/impulsive, and combined). In later life, the hyperactive/impulsive subtype manifests more frequently. Symptoms include distractibility, impulsivity and restlessness, which impair executive functions – management of memory and approach to tasks, causing persistent and significant impairment among different areas of life.
Diagnosis of the condition includes assessment by clinicians, with examination of personal history, observational evidence from family members and report cards going back to school years etc., and neuropsychological tests as well as evaluation to rule out other possibilities or diagnose co-morbid (coincident) conditions.
The condition is highly heritable, and while its exact causes are not fully known, genetic and environmental factors are understood to play a part. ADHD is a childhood-onset condition, usually requiring symptoms to have been present before age seven for a diagnosis. Children under treatment will migrate to adult health services if necessary as they transit into adulthood, while diagnosis of adults involves full examination of their history.
Successful treatment of ADHD is usually based on a combination of medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, and coaching or skills training. Within school and work, reasonable accommodations may be put in place to help the individual work more efficiently and productively.