ADHD in adults

Dr. med. Johannes Pichler - Translation from German: Evgeny Sheronov

Unchecked emotions

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is often mistakenly considered a disease that only affects children and adolescents. The disorder that develops in childhood and adolescence persists in about 60 percent of those affected until adulthood.

People with depression, addictions, anxiety disorders and personality disorders are often not examined for ADHD. These typical complications are common in adult ADHD patients.

All in all, adults with ADHD react much more emotionally than other people and experience feelings “unchecked”. This can also have advantages: Some succeed in creatively using their chaos of ideas for their professional success.

Change with the years

The symptoms of ADHD do not remain the same at every age, but change with age. Overactivity and impulsiveness often give way to a general lack of performance and concentration. Almost all adult ADHD patients feel restless and driven internally. In professional and private life, they often do not achieve the goals they originally set for themselves. Many suffer above all from the social consequences of ADHD:

Poor education and career path than the talent
Difficulties in professional life with frequent job changes
Increased divorce rate
Many changes of residence, moves


People with ADHD often have significant difficulties in everyday life. Examples are:

Organization / thinking structure at ADHD

  • Lack of time sense, delays and hectic pace before appointments
  • Boring everyday tasks are put on the back burner or not done at all
  • Noticeable disorder or overcompensation due to compulsive perfectionism
  • Disorganization – especially when several tasks are pending at the same time


Attention disorder in ADHD

Inconsistent work with inexplicable break-ins
Forgetting parts of tasks with incomplete work results
Lack of attention, especially in group situations
Reluctance to read due to difficulties in understanding the overall content
ADHD and working memory

  • Forgetfulness, cannot recall memories, for example “I know it, but I cannot say it.”
  • Careless mistakes, twisting letters and phone numbers
  • The person concerned constantly keeps diaries, index cards, notebooks and pieces of paper with him
  • Increased awareness of ADHD

Very strong sensitivity for certain sensory impressions (e.g. smell, taste, noise), but also for atmospheric tensions in all interpersonal relationships
Often gifted intuitively, creatively and intelligently
Mood and performance are particularly dependent on external factors
Outbursts of temper in every direction
Low stress and frustration tolerance in ADHD

Exaggerated need to rest when overwhelmed
Problems adjusting to new situations
Persistent brooding, also with difficulty falling asleep
ADHD and addictive and compulsive behavior

Many compulsive behaviors
Try to improve performance with high amounts of chocolate, coffee, cola, energy drinks and nicotine
Some “treat” their inner tension with alcohol, cannabis or cocaine, making the situation worse
High impulsiveness in ADHD

Act first, then think
Provoking others through verbal derailments
Increased accident tendency
Disregard of rules, laws, regulations
Can’t brake well: shopping frenzy, risky driving
ADHD and overactivity / inability to relax

Inner restlessness, physical urge to move (a lot of sport)
Can’t sit still (e.g. at the dentist, food, on a plane)
Drums his fingers, plays with pencils, fiddles with himself
Rocks back and forth rhythmically while sitting
Strong urge to speak, digressing from the subject, difficult to interrupt
Boredom in rest situations with artificial overactivity
Female peculiarities

Women suffer from ADHD much less frequently than men and also show a slightly different complaint pattern. This is why ADHD is less often recognized in women. Girls with ADHD are less hyperactive, but tend to have long-lasting daydreams and are quickly distracted. From the time of puberty, there are particularly pronounced symptoms before menstruation with strong mood swings. Adult women with ADHD have a very self-conscious, anxious personality with a strong tendency to depression.

The treatment

Adults diagnosed with ADHD do not necessarily need to be treated. However, if the disorder is very pronounced and affects several areas of life (work, leisure, couple relationships), a combination of medication and psychotherapy makes sense.

According to current knowledge, ADHD cannot be cured. Sometimes the disturbances form