Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Adults

  • Medical Author:
    Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD

    Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

ADHD in Adults: Diagnosis, Treatment

Quick GuideADHD in Adults: Signs, Cause, and Management

ADHD in Adults: Signs, Cause, and Management

What is the prognosis of adult ADHD?

The prognosis for ADHD adults seems to be influenced by the severity of symptoms, scores on intelligence tests, whether the person with the condition has other mental-health problems, as well as if there are family issues, such as parental mental-health problems, family problems, socioeconomic challenges, and if the individual with ADHD receives treatment. Studies show that stimulant treatment of this condition often improves the prognosis for adults, decreasing the risk for developing other psychiatric problems and for failing in school.

Is it possible to prevent adult ADHD?

Research indicates that breastfeeding up to 6 months of age may help prevent the development of ADHD. Since environmental and social problems like drug use in the mother, medical, and emotional challenges increase the likelihood of developing this condition, prevention or treatment of those issues can help prevent ADHD. In addition, early treatment of children with ADHD can decrease the impact the illness has on the individual's life into adulthood.

Are support groups available for those living with adult ADHD?

ADHD and You

CHADD (Children and Adults With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

Daily Strength

Where can people find additional information on adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?

American Counseling Association

American Psychiatric Association

American Psychological Association

National Association of Social Workers

National Mental Health Association


American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Arlington, Virginia: American Psychiatric Association, 2013.

Arnold, V.K., D. Feifel, C.Q. Earl, et al. "A 9-Week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, dose-finding study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of modafinil as treatment for adults with ADHD." Journal of Attention Disorders May 2012.

Baker, A., Lee, N.K. & Jenner, L. (Eds) (2004). Models of intervention and care for psychostimulant users, 2nd Edition, National Drug Strategy Monograph Series No. 51.

Biederman, J., M.C. Monuteaux, T. Spencer, et al. "Do stimulants protect against psychiatric disorders in youth with ADHD? A 10-year follow-up study." Pediatrics 124.1 July 2009: 71-78.

Bussing, R., D.M. Mason, L. Bell, P. Porter, and C. Garvan. "Adolescent outcomes of childhood attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in a diverse community sample." Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 49.6 June 2010: 595-605.

Clay, R.A. "Easing ADHD without meds." Monitor on Psychology 44.2 Feb. 2013.

Conners, C.K., D. Erhardt, J.N. Epstein, et al. "Self-ratings of ADHD symptoms in adults I: Factor structure and normative data." Journal of Attention Disorders 3.3 Oct. 1999: 141-151.

Curatolo, P., E. D'Agati, and R. Moavero. "The neurobiological basis of ADHD." Italian Journal of Pediatrics 36 (2010): 79.

Hines, J.L., T.S. King, and W.J. Curry. "The adult ADHD self-report scale for screening for adult attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)." Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine 25.6 Nov.-Dec. 2012: 847-853.

Ingram, S., L. Hechtman, and G. Morgenstern. "Outcome issues in ADHD: Adolescent and adult long-term outcome." Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews 5.3 (1999): 243-250.

Lake, J. "Integrative management of ADHD: What the evidence suggests." Psychiatric Times July 2010.

Millstein, R.B., T.E. Wilens, J. Biederman, and T.J. Spencer. "Presenting ADHD symptoms and subtypes in clinically referred adults with ADHD." Journal of Attention Disorders 2.3 Oct. 1997: 159-166.

Mimouni-Bloch, A., A. Kachevanskaya, F.B. Mimouni, et al. "Breastfeeding may protect from developing attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder." Breastfeeding Medicine May 2013.

Quintero, J., M. Loro, B. Jimenez, and N. Garcia Campos. "Evolutionary issues in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); from risk factors to comorbidity and social and academic impact." Vertex 22.96 Mar.-Apr. 2011: 101-108.

Sagiv, S.K., J.N. Epstein, D.C. Bellinger, and S.A. Korrick. "Pre- and Postnatal Risk Factors for ADHD in a Nonclinical Pediatric Population." Journal of Attention Disorders 17.1 Jan. 2013: 47-57.

Taylor, F.B., and J. Russo. "Efficacy of modafinil compared to dextroamphetamine for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults." Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology 10.4 Winter 2000: 311-320.

Thapar, A., and M. Rutter. "Do prenatal risk factors cause psychiatric disorder? Be wary of causal claims." The British Journal of Psychiatry 195 (2009): 100-101.

Weiss, M., and C. Murray. "Assessment and management of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults." Canadian Medical Association Journal 168.6 Mar. 2003.

Wilens, T.E., S.V. Faraone, J. Biederman, and S. Gunawardene. "Does stimulant therapy of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder beget later substance abuse? A meta-analytic review of the literature." Pediatrics 111.1 Jan. 2003: 179-185.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/8/2016

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Newsletters

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

  • Adult ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) - Symptoms

    What symptoms have you experienced with your adult ADHD?

    Post View 27 Comments
  • Adult ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) - Treatment

    What adult ADHD treatments have you tried?

  • Adult ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) - Diagnosis

    Please describe how you came to be diagnosed with adult ADHD.

    Post View 2 Comments
  • Adult ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) - Home Remedies

    What home remedies help your adult ADHD?


Health Solutions From Our Sponsors