How can adults develop ADHD?
Adults with ADHD are neurodivergent – they have always had ADHD – it may have gone unrecognised throughout childhood. This was especially common in the past, when others may have labelled you as a day-dreamer, a lazy kid, a troublemaker, forgetful, disorganised – or just as a bad student. It is estimated that up to 30-40% of people may be neurodivergent, with the rest of the population neurotypical. ADHD is a form of neurodivergence. It has a genetic component.
There is also the possibility that you may have been able to mask or compensate for the symptoms of ADHD when you were young. As demands increase – through primary into secondary school, and then into pursuing a career, raising a family, running a household, the greater the demands on you become. These demands are made on your abilities to organise, focus, and remain calm. Although this can be challenging for anyone, if you have ADHD it can feel almost impossible.
The good news is that, no matter how it feels, many challenges of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can be overcome.
With education, support, and a little creativity, you can learn to manage the symptoms of adult ADHD—even turning some of your weaknesses into strengths. ADHD neurodiversity often requires people to work harder to manage their emotions, or to manage their attention. It’s never too late to turn the difficulties of adult ADHD around and start discovering strategies that can help you succeed.
Neurodiversity isn’t the same thing as disability. Neurodiversity means that you process information differently. People who have neurodivergent features may need to make accommodations at work or school.