Common ADHD Symptoms in Adults and How to Treat Them

Common ADHD Symptoms in Adults and How to Treat Them

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is most commonly known to affect children. However, it can impact the lives of adults, too. Indeed, as an adult ADHD can be a life-altering condition to live with if the correct help is not sought. It affects millions of people. Recent statistics show that around 4 to 5% of adults in the United States deal with symptoms of ADHD.

Many ADHD symptoms in adults were misdiagnosed in their childhood. Common ADHD symptoms in adults include a tendency to become overly emotional as well as signs of hyperactivity. Adults with ADHD are also likely to struggle with:

  • Following directions
  • Concentrating
  • Any tasks that require organization
  • Remembering key information
  • Finishing work on time

Those struggling with adult ADHD might even experience some negative emotions as a result of their condition. These may include anxiety, perpetual boredom, bouts of depression, difficulty controlling anger, forgetfulness, problems at work, low self-esteem, mood swings, procrastination, relational issues, substance abuse, addiction, and a low level of motivation.

An adult struggling with ADHD might find that their issues of low self-esteem stem from being labeled as an “underachiever” throughout their schooling years. The result may be an inability to hold down a job, an attitude of self-criticism and a depressive outlook. There can also be a tendency to rely on substances such as nicotine and alcohol in order to cope with these emotional difficulties.

Why Therapy is so Important for Treating ADHD Symptoms in Adults

Therapy is absolutely essential for an adult struggling with ADHD. Yes, medication can be helpful. However, the only way you will see a true and lasting difference is to combine this with the expertise of a professional therapist.

Therapy will help the person develop the tools and skills needed to manage their disorder, and will help them begin to organize their life in a way which will improve their overall emotional well being.

It can be incredibly frustrating not being able to achieve what you know you are capable of as a result of a disorder like ADHD. Therapy can help change this.

An open, safe and disarming environment will provide the person with the opportunity to get to some of the roots of their disorder and will ensure that they are given great encouragement as they progress.

Accurate diagnosis

When it comes to ADHD, it is absolutely essential that a correct diagnosis is given. Due to ADHD being partly genetic, it is common for someone with the disorder to be surrounded by others who exhibit similar symptoms, and thus do not believe there is anything fundamentally “wrong.” Therefore it is important for an external, independent medical professional to conduct a thorough assessment and assign an accurate diagnosis.

Behavior modification is an absolutely essential element of any therapy that is offered to someone dealing with ADHD, as they will likely struggle with their emotional response to certain situations. A therapist will help them unpack their thinking and will assist them in developing reactions that are more appropriate to the given situation.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) will help the patient hardwire new patterns of thinking into everyday lives, and will seek to replace unhealthy thought habits. This type of therapy will also help the person put their worries and problems in context, and will ensure they do not blow things out of proportion. When dealing with ADHD and its accompanying anxieties, this can be a very important thing to work on.

In conjunction with CBT, traditional talk therapy can also help the person develop a greater understanding of their own anxiety and emotional fluctuations. Suffering from ADHD can bring with it a whole host of emotional, relational and spiritual issues. Talk therapy can help relieve some of that burden.

Remember the precious scripture:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7

Raising self-esteem

Low self-esteem is one of the most common things that affect those who are dealing with ADHD. A person struggling with the disorder may have spent years being told they are “lazy” or “unmotivated,” when in reality they are battling with ADHD. These labels may cause them to feel very low. They might lack confidence and struggle to dwell on things that they are good at.

Therapy will help the person regain control over their thought patterns, and assist them in developing a positive view of themselves.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.2 Timothy 1:7

There is a powerful spiritual element to all of this. A Christian therapist will ensure that God’s view of the person becomes rooted in the foundations of their thinking. God loves us unconditionally and has placed a call on each and every one of us. He is always for us and never seeks to tear us down. He is always calling us forward.

Through the right therapy, the truth about God’s heart towards you can become intrinsic to your daily thinking. With the assistance of Christian therapy, this fundamental shift in perspective has the potential to transform the life of someone struggling with ADHD.

“Lost in my Mind”, Courtesy of Hailey Reed,; CC0 License; “Cartwheel”, Courtesy of Pedro de Sousa,; CC0 License; “Agitation”, Courtesy of GoaShape,; CC0 License; “Comfort Therapy”, Courtesy of Mindy Jacobs; CC0 License


Articles are intended for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice; the Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All opinions expressed by authors and quoted sources are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors, publishers or editorial boards of Newport Beach Christian Counseling. This website does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site. Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk.