What is ADHD?
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is a neurodevelopmental disorder, characterized by inattention, hyperactivity/impulsivity, or both. It is typically diagnosed in childhood; however, many people get diagnosed for the first time as adults.
What are the symptoms of ADHD in adulthood?
The symptoms of ADHD can include some or all of the following:
- Not paying close attention to detail or making careless mistakes
- Difficulties sustaining attention (e.g., remaining focused during class, meetings, or conversations)
- Not listening when spoken to (e.g., daydreaming)
- Not following instructions or finishing work/duties
- Difficulties with organization
- Avoiding tasks that require sustained mental effort (e.g., homework, completing forms, reviewing papers)
- Easily distracted
- Misplacing belongings (e.g., wallet, glasses, phone)
- Often forgetful (e.g., forgetting appointments, returning calls, paying bills)
Hyperactivity and Impulsivity
- Fidgets with or taps hands or feet
- Often leaving seat in situations when remaining seated is expected
- Difficulties relaxing/restlessness (e.g., feeling tense or wound-up)
- Often unable to engage in leisure activities quietly
- Often talking excessively
- Often interrupting or intruding on others (e.g., butting into conversations, take over what others are doing)
- Difficulties waiting in line
There are various symptoms associated with ADHD that you may or may not experience:
- Low self-esteem
- Low tolerance for boredom
- Difficulties regulating emotions such as anger
- Problems in interpersonal relationships
ADHD can change how it presents over the lifespan, so the symptoms you experience as an adult may be different than the symptoms you experienced when you were a child. As people get older, signs of hyperactivity are less common and often present as fidgetiness, restlessness, or impatience. Impulsivity may remain problematic throughout adulthood.
Why should I get an ADHD assessment?
ADHD is a common diagnosis which can leave you feeling frustrated and lead to difficulties in daily functioning as an adult. Experiencing difficulties with paying attention, organization and planning, and impulse control can negatively impact your life, including work, relationships, and leisure. Getting a diagnosis of ADHD can be a first step to learning what changes you can begin making to improve your daily functioning.
What can I expect during an ADHD assessment at OCCT?
Typically, assessments take 5-7 hours, which includes 2.5-3.5 hours of in-person time with the psychologist. The additional time is reserved for reviewing records, scoring tests, report writing, and providing feedback.
An assessment consists of several parts that help the psychologist to accurately assess your symptoms:
- Clinical interview – to gather information about your development, family, physical and mental health history, life history (e.g., school, job, relationships), and current concerns
- Assessment measures – to highlight your strengths and needs on a variety of tasks related to attention, memory and cognitive processing.
- Questionnaires and self-report rating scales for ADHD
- Supplemental information from a partner, parent, or another family member, if possible – via a brief interview or completion of a questionnaire
- Review of report cards, if possible
How can the team at Oakville Centre for Cognitive Therapy help?
At Oakville Centre for Cognitive Therapy (OCCT), we have a number of highly skilled and experienced clinicians who can provide assistance to those who may be experiencing difficulties with attention, hyperactivity, and/or impulsivity. To arrange an appointment for an ADHD assessment please call us at 905-338-1397 or email us via the Contact Us page of our website.
*Information on this page is obtained from:
American Psychiatric Association. (2022). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed., text rev.).