Suffering in secret – Adults suffer from ADHD too

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ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADD normally occurs in children. However, if you’re an adult and have not been diagnosed as a child, it doesn’t mean you’ve necessarily dodged a bullet. Many working adults may be suffering from ADHD without realising it.

ADHD in adults reaches far beyond fidgeting and the inability to focus on tasks for long periods on end. In today’s rushed and stressful corporate environment, ADHD can have a devastating effect on a grownup’s quality of life.

Below you’ll find a rough checklist to determine whether you may be suffering from ADHD. It is by no means a clinically approved checklist and should be used merely as a guideline to determine whether you need to see a medical professional.

Side-effects of ADHD in adults in the workplace

When a child misses a couple of homework assignments or fails a test, the situation is still salvageable. However, when you miss a deadline at work or fail to complete a project, the consequences may be severe.

Underperformance is never tolerated in the workplace. As an employee, your work performance is constantly monitored which greatly adds to stress and anxiety. Chances of getting that promotion becomes slimmer and slimmer by the day.

Adults suffering from ADHD are constantly under pressure to perform and that stress coupled with the feeling of failure is a combination that leads to a low self-esteem – toxic in the workplace. Adults with ADHD tend to drift off or fidget during meetings, appearing unprofessional or uninterested. Team work and relationships with co-workers also suffers.

Symptoms of ADHD in adults

  • Have a lack of focus
  • Have difficulty paying attention during long periods of time
  • Find it hard to listen in a conversation and tend to overlook important details
  • Experience lapses of hyperfocus
  • Find it difficult to prioritise tasks
  • In a hurry most of the time
  • Forgetful
  • Impulsive
  • Poor self-image
  • Lack of motivation
  • Restless and constantly anxious
  • Poor health. Compulsive eating or neglecting to eat, take medicine, exercise

If you think you may be suffering from the above mentioned symptoms, consider the following questions.


Do you find it difficult to wrap up/complete a difficult project?

Do you often misplace objects/forget about important tasks or meetings?

When faced with a task that demands a great amount of mental effort, do you put it off?

Do you fidget or squirm in your seat often/feel the need to walk around?

Do you find that your tendency to make careless mistakes increases when faced with a boring project?

Do you often drift off during important conversations or conversations that you find uninteresting?

Do activity and sounds around you distract you easily?

When was the last time you met a deadline?

Do you procrastinate to the point of breaking emotionally?

Do you complete tasks one-by-one or do you tend to jump around between various tasks?

Are you quick to accept new tasks even though your schedule is already overflowing?

Do you start projects off enthusiastically but end up unable to complete it?

Do you tend to focus on the unnecessary details of a project until you forget about the bigger picture, making it difficult to complete projects on time? (hyperfocus)

Do you know someone in your family who suffers from ADHD?


If you’ve answered yes to most of these questions, we would advise you seek a professional opinion. Psychiatrists can diagnose ADHD or your GP can refer you to a professional. Ask a close family member or friend to accompany you to the consultation to provide a different perspective on the situation.








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