Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Adults

What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

If you’re struggling with an inability to focus, or frustrating hyperactivity, you’re not alone. While ADHD is more common in children, it actually affects about 2-6% of adults worldwide. Generally, 38% of adults with ADHD are women and 62% are men.

ADHD is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that’s characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that interferes with a person’s daily life. Essentially, it affects the development and functioning of the brain and inhibits an individual’s ability to focus and pay attention. 

The condition can manifest in different ways, depending on the type an individual has and can vary in level of severity from mild to severe. Here are a few types:

  • Predominantly inattentive presentation: The inattentive type is characterized by symptoms of inattention and distractibility and may include difficulty focusing, forgetfulness, and disorganization.
  • Predominantly hyperactive/impulsive presentation: The hyperactive-impulsive type is characterized by symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity and may include restlessness, fidgeting, interrupting others, and acting without thinking.
  • Combined presentation: The combined type is characterized by any variation of symptoms and includes a combination of both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity symptoms.

Causes of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

The exact cause of ADHD is unknown, but research suggests that genetics, brain structure and function, and environment may all play a role in its development. Here’s how it works:

Genetics: Studies have found that the condition tends to run in families, so genetics may be a contributing factor in its development. The heritability of ADHD is approximately 74%, though according to the genome-wide association studies (GWAS), there is no single gene for ADHD. 

The GWAS is a central resource and toolkit for researchers used to increase our comprehensive understanding of disease etiology by ascertaining associations between disease variants and common genetic factors.

Brain structure and function: Research has shown that certain areas of the brain, such as the prefrontal cortex, may be smaller in people with the condition. Additionally, studies have found that people with ADHD may have lower levels of certain neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine.

Environmental factors: Exposure to environmental toxins, such as lead, may increase the risk of developing the disorder. Additionally, premature birth, low birth weight, and prenatal alcohol and smoking exposure (tobacco–even controlling for socioeconomic status and parental psychiatric history) have also been linked to it.

Brain injury: A traumatic brain injury can increase the risk of developing ADHD or worsen symptoms in people who already have the condition.

Poor nutrition: Some research suggests that a diet high in sugar and processed foods may contribute to ADHD symptoms, although this link is not yet fully understood.

Symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

So, how can you tell if you might have ADHD? Symptoms can vary depending on the type an individual has, and they can occur in different combinations and vary in severity—so you’ll need a professional diagnosis to be sure. Below are some general ADHD symptoms. If you identify with these, it may be time to seek professional help and get an ADHD diagnosis.

Difficulty paying attention: People with ADHD may have trouble focusing on tasks, listening to others, or following instructions. They may be easily distracted by external stimuli or their own thoughts.

Hyperactivity: People with ADHD may have trouble sitting still or being quiet. They may fidget, squirm, or talk excessively.

Impulsive Behaviors: People with ADHD may act without thinking. They may interrupt others, make inappropriate comments, or take risks without considering the consequences.

These symptoms can have social consequences, but they can also have a significant impact on an individual’s academic or work performance and overall quality of life. Adults with ADHD may struggle with organization and time management and may have difficulty maintaining employment or completing tasks. A professional can diagnose ADHD and get you on the right track toward treating it.

How Our Luxury Mental Health Facility Treats ADHD

At Neurish Wellness in Orange County, we offer medication, behavioral therapy, and lifestyle changes, all of which can be highly effective in treating symptoms of ADHD. It’s important to note that every individual with ADHD is different, and not all treatments will work for everyone.


The most common medication used to treat ADHD is stimulants, which can help manage symptoms of ADHD by increasing levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall are commonly used to treat ADHD. However, these medications can have side effects and should be used under the supervision of a healthcare professional. Non-stimulant medications such as Strattera and other combinations may also be used for individuals who do not respond well to stimulants.


Therapy can help individuals with ADHD develop coping mechanisms and organizational skills to manage symptoms and improve behavior. This can include cognitive-behavioral therapy, which helps individuals change negative thought patterns and behaviors, or social skills training, which focuses on improving communication and interactions with others. Other types of therapy, such as interpersonal therapy or family therapy, may also be helpful for symptoms of ADHD.

Lifestyle Changes: 

Mindfulness and meditation helps manage ADHD by focusing on the present moment and can help reduce symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity. Mindfulness meditation can help individuals with ADHD develop greater awareness of their thoughts and emotions, which can help them regulate their behavior and improve their ability to focus.

Regular exercise can also improve cognitive function and reduce symptoms of ADHD. Exercise can help increase levels of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, which can improve mood and focus, while a healthy diet can provide the necessary nutrients for brain function. Additionally, exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety, which are common in individuals with ADHD. Research has shown that outdoor activities, such as hiking and nature walks, can also be beneficial in managing symptoms.

Get Help for ADHD at Neurish Wellness

ADHD is a treatable condition, and with the right help, those with ADHD can lead healthy and productive lives. At Neurish, we treat people who are struggling with ADHD—starting with accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment options. Our therapeutic groups provide a safe and supportive environment where individuals can share their experiences and learn from others who are going through similar challenges. Through medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes, we help improve the quality of our clients’ lives. Reach out today to see how we can help.

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What is ADHD?

ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a mental health condition characterized by patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that are more severe, frequent, or debilitating than typically observed in individuals at a comparable level of development. This condition is recognized by the American Psychiatric Association and detailed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

How is ADHD diagnosed?

Doctors diagnose ADHD using guidelines established by the American Psychiatric Association in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The diagnosis typically involves a comprehensive evaluation that may include checking the child’s behavior against a list of criteria, gathering information from caregivers and teachers, and ruling out other mental health conditions.

What are common symptoms of ADHD?

Common symptoms of ADHD include trouble paying attention, frequent careless mistakes in schoolwork or other activities, difficulty in sustaining mental effort in tasks or play activities, and a tendency to interrupt or intrude on others. Individuals may also display excessive movement or fidgeting when it is not appropriate to the situation.

How is ADHD treated?

ADHD is typically treated with a combination of behavior therapy, medication, and educational support. ADHD medications, often stimulants, are widely used to help improve focus and control behavior. Behavior therapy can help manage the symptoms and improve social interaction, while accommodations through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act can support educational needs.

Are there any other mental health conditions associated with ADHD?

Yes, ADHD often coexists with other mental health conditions, such as anxiety disorders, depression, and learning disabilities. It’s important for a mental health professional to evaluate all possible co-occurring conditions to tailor the treatment plan effectively.

What are the risk factors for ADHD?

While the exact cause of ADHD is not known, several risk factors have been identified, including genetics, exposure to environmental toxins during pregnancy, low birth weight, and brain injuries. ADHD is not caused by poor parenting, too much screen time, or diet, though these factors can exacerbate symptoms.

Can adults have ADHD?

Yes, although ADHD is often diagnosed in childhood, it can persist into adulthood. Many adults with ADHD may not realize they have the disorder until they seek help for other issues such as anxiety or depression. Treatment for adults can involve medications, psychological counseling, and skills training.

How can parents and teachers help improve ADHD symptoms?

Parents and teachers can help manage ADHD symptoms through consistent routines, clear expectations, and positive reinforcement for appropriate behavior. Educational accommodations, such as extra time on tests or assignments that require sustained mental effort, can also be crucial in supporting a child’s learning and development.