What are the symptoms and impairments?

ADHD can affect people in many different ways. Some of the most common complaints in adults are difficulties with organising daily activities and forgetfulness. People with ADHD often experience physical and mental over activity, so they may feel constantly restless, on the go all the time and complain of ceaseless unfocused mental activity; these symptoms may keep people with ADHD awake at night. Sustaining attention for any length of time can cause considerable difficulties and may lead to people with ADHD feeling exhausted or worn out by the effort. Mood instability and feelings of frustration are commonly reported, especially in situations where someone has to wait such as queuing at supermarkets.

While these types of symptoms are found in many people some of the time, they are severe, persistent over time and lead to impairments in people with ADHD. Impairment from ADHD can impact on an individual in several ways including: low self-esteem, distress from the symptoms of ADHD, impaired social interactions and relationships, behavioural problems, and the development of comorbid psychiatric symptoms, syndromes and disorders.

In addition to the symptoms of ADHD comorbidities are common. These may be other neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorders and dyslexia, behavioural problems such as drug and alcohol abuse disorders, addiction and antisocial behaviour; and other common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.