ADD/ADHD-Psychology Adults with ADD/ADHD

Attention Deficit Disorder, with or without hyperactivity, is characterized primarily as having an inattentive and impulsive nature. Those who suffer from ADD or ADHD are extremely active, fidgety, talkative, and restless. They have difficulty paying attention, forget things easily, and interrupt others. Often, they must contend with the consequences of acting without thinking things through first.

Problems in the Workplace for Adult ADD/ADHD Sufferers

According to CHADD, or Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, adult ADD/ADHD sufferers often contend with numerous problems in the workforce. Some have difficulty achieving progress in high school or college and must accept low-paying positions. Others have difficulty finding or keeping a job. Other problems in the workforce for sufferers include:

  • Excessive distractibility due to external noise and internal daydreams
  • Difficulty starting and completing tasks
  • Poor organization and time management
  • Inattention to detail
  • Careless mistakes
  • Inability to follow through on instructions
  • Losing things necessary to complete tasks
  • Financial trouble due to impulsive spending or job loss
  • Failure to pay bills timely
  • Temper outbursts in the workplace
  • Failure to remember deadlines and other responsibilities
  • Becoming easily bored at work
  • Inability to locate paperwork

Workplace Tips for Adult ADD/ADHD Sufferers

Read On

There are several things adult ADD/ADHD sufferers can do to ease workplace anxiety:

  • Request a quiet space to work in
  • Use white noise like classical music to drown out noise
  • Jot down irrelevant ideas in a notebook and come back to them later
  • Perform one task at a time
  • Practice appropriate responses to frustrating situations
  • Practice relaxation techniques
  • Take short breaks between tasks
  • Take notes and write checklists
  • Use a day planner
  • Break up long tasks into shorter ones
  • Use watch devices or timers to regulate activities
  • Set personal deadlines
  • Develop a catchy filing system to easily locate paperwork
  • Ask for permission to work from home part-time
  • Bring a lunch to leave break time free for exercise or leisure
  • Team up with others during large projects
  • Make a list of everything that needs to be organized, and prioritize it.
  • Learn about the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 through CHADD and how it applies to the individual working situation

Choosing A Career

Adults with ADD/ADHD should make a list of their interests and skills and consult a career counselor. With the counselor they can assess if they do better working with people, with objects, or with data. The counselor can help prioritize the individual’s preferred subjects, personality type, and workplace habits and history. Once the person considers a specific job, he can interview others in his chosen field to ensure that the career change would be a wise one. Once hired in a new position, he can make a commitment to himself to hold the job for at least one year.

Problems in Relationships and Marriage for Adult ADD/ADHD Sufferers

Adults with ADD/ADHD often have difficulty in relationships and marriages. They may forget important details, and are disorganized and distracted. They may say things without thinking, “zone out” during conversations, and get upset over minor things. It may be difficult for them to sit still during concerts, religious ceremonies, or other events. There may be chronic stress in the family over job difficulties. They may be perceived as irresponsible and as poor communicators.

Socially, adults with ADD/ADHD have trouble taking turns in conversations, and their thoughts may appear scattered. They may miss normal social cues and share inappropriate information. They may stray off topic and show poor manners. They may be perceived as ignoring others, or as being rude, uncaring and negative.

All of these symptoms coupled together can leave adult ADD/ADHD sufferers with intense feelings of stress, conflict, anger and guilt. Their self-esteem may be exceptionally low. They may make reckless decisions concerning their career or family, including financially overspending or participating in an affair.

Relationship Tips for Adult ADD/ADHD Sufferers

There are many things adult sufferers of ADD/ADHD can do to strengthen their relationships and social ties. These include:

  • Being aware of other people’s body language
  • Looking at others when they are speaking
  • Mirroring what the person said right after he said it, to ensure correct information
  • Practicing positive skills with a trusted friend or spouse
  • Concentrating on personal positive social skills like being honest, loyal, trustworthy, kind and intelligent
  • Undergoing marital therapy
  • Working towards goals together as a family


Whether an adult has been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD since childhood or more recently, he should continue to consult with a qualified professional or physician. Professionals can help the individual assess any difficulties in relationships or the workplace, and form a plan of action before problems get out of hand. Whether an adult decides to take medication for ADD/ADHD is his individual, personal decision. In any case, working to ease the symptoms of ADD/ADHD requires a comprehensive, lifelong approach and the assistance of everyone involved.

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