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ADHD in Adults

What is ADHD? 

ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder) is a label used to describe individuals whose early brain development and overall brain style appear - from a neurotypical viewpoint – to: 'show persistent patterns of inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity which interfere with development and functioning.'

ADHD is most often identified in children, but that doesn't mean that children are the only ones with ADHD. In fact, ADHD is life-long - so if you are born with it, it’s here to stay and that’s okay!

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Can you be diagnosed with ADHD as an adult?

Yes. You’d be surprised how many ADHDer’s are not identified in their school years. Most often, this is because they possess more inattentive signs of ADHD and were not highlighted for being 'disruptive' to other people in school. Or, it’s because they have gone through their entire lives consciously and/or subconsciously masking all possible signs of being different (aka: having an ADHD brain). These people have had ADHD all along but just haven’t known it.


It's never too late to be identified.

What are the signs of ADHD?

ADHD is diagnosed in individuals who possess traits classed as ‘inattentive’ and/or ‘hyperactive’ by the DSM 5.

In the following table, we list the ADHD traits mentioned in the DSM 5, with some examples on how they may present in adults who mask.

Innattentive ADHD

DSM ‘Inattention’ Symptom

How it might present in adults

Making careless mistakes/lacking attention to detail

Difficulty sustaining attention

Not seeming to listen when spoken to directly

Failing to follow through on tasks and instructions

Exhibiting poor organization skills

Avoiding/disliking tasks requiring sustained mental effort

Losing things necessary for tasks/activities

Easily distracted (including unrelated thoughts)

Forgetfulness in daily activities

Excessive checking to prevent mistakes

Needing coffee, music, or distraction to focus

Mentally finishing people’s sentences

Pulling all-nighters to ‘keep up’ with work

Obsessively writing to-do lists

Painful agitation at check-outs or in traffic

Asking “where’s my …?!” all the time

Telling multiple side-stories within one main story

Setting alarms for every 5 minutes in the morning

Want to find out more?

To learn more or to enquire about our ADHD assessments, contact us at:, or give us a call on (02) 9555 4810.

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Impulsive ADHD

DSM 5 ‘Hyperactive/
Impulsive’ symptom

How it might present in adults

Fidgeting with or tapping hands or feet, squirming in seat

Leaving seat when remaining seated is expected

Experiencing feelings of restlessness

Having difficulty engaging in quiet, leisurely activities

Being “on-the-go” or acts as if “driven by a motor”

Talking excessively

Blurting out answers

Having difficulty waiting one’s turn

Interrupting or intruding on others

Looking around, fidgeting in subtle ways

Staying seated and feeling uncomfortable

Using substances to dull discomfort

Going out every night/constant productivity

Needing a fast-paced work environment

Being overly anxious about over-sharing

Focusing on not interrupting & forgetting to listen.

Waiting while feeling tense and uncomfortable

Excessive apologizing/extreme independence

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