Can ADHD Symptoms Change with Age?

Can ADHD Symptoms Change with Age?

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most common neurobehavioral disorder diagnosed and treated in children, affecting more than 9% of school-aged kids in the United States. 

By comparison, less than 5% of adults in the US have an ADHD diagnosis. This is an interesting fact because ADHD is a chronic condition. The discrepancy in the numbers is likely due to the change in ADHD symptoms that occur with age. However, when left undiagnosed and untreated, ADHD in adults may lead to other mental health problems like depression, anxiety, or substance use disorder.

At Reviv Functional Medicine & TMS Wellness Center in Fullerton, California, our experienced psychiatrist, Dr. Hina Sidhu, specializes in diagnosing and treating complex mental health conditions like ADHD. 

ADHD is a long-term condition that goes unrecognized and undiagnosed in adults because of changing symptoms. Here, we want to explain ADHD and how symptoms change with age.

What to know about ADHD

Researchers are still learning about ADHD but theorize that genetics are a significant driver of the neurobehavioral condition. If you have a sibling, parent, or child with ADHD, you may have it too. 

People with ADHD have slight differences in brain structure and function in the area of the brain that controls executive function — the part responsible for planning, attention, and self-control. 

The changes in the brain make it challenging for people with ADHD to pay attention, stay organized, and control behaviors. The symptoms that occur with ADHD can affect learning, relationships, and careers. 

Changing ADHD symptoms

If you were diagnosed with ADHD as a child, then you may have a history of some of the more obvious symptoms of ADHD: hyperactivity and impulsiveness. 

You were the child who couldn’t sit still and blurted out answers before the question was fully asked. These hyperactive and impulsive symptoms wane as you get older, becoming more of restlessness where you feel like you must always keep busy.

However, not everyone with ADHD is hyperactive or impulsive. Inattention is another symptom of ADHD, making it challenging to focus and finish tasks. 

Inattentive children are often viewed as daydreamers or slackers. They have trouble paying attention in class and turning in homework on time, and they may also lose things and show up late.

During adolescence and adulthood, you may develop strategies to help you cope with your inattentive symptoms. You use calendars to stay on top of tasks and choose a career you can easily focus on. 

However, you may hyperfocus on one activity, ignore everything else (like hunger and time), have difficulty following conversations, or frequently miss important details. 

ADHD doesn’t go away, but symptoms change over time, making life more challenging. If you’re struggling to keep up and it’s affecting your personal or professional life, it’s time to reach out for help. 

Getting help for ADHD 

Symptoms of ADHD are different in everyone and change with age. This means no single treatment works for all. 

Before making any treatment recommendations, we evaluate your symptoms and how they affect your life and formalize a diagnosis. We also look for co-occurring health conditions like depression and anxiety. 

Treatment for ADHD may include medication, talk therapy, behavior therapy, or a combination of these. Medicines for ADHD improve focus and attention, while therapy helps you understand your ADHD and develop strategies to manage symptoms.

We also treat co-occurring conditions.

We often focus on the negative symptoms of ADHD, but people with ADHD are bursting with energy, think outside the box, and have a constant flow of new ideas. 

Do you think you have ADHD? We can help. Call our office today or book an appointment online to schedule your evaluation. 

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