ADHD in adulthood

After years of struggling with symptoms such as time management issues, procrastination, low motivation, or problems with concentration, you’ve finally got an answer: it’s Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), but what now?

But isn’t ADHD only diagnosed in children?


There has long been an association between ADHD and children who were disruptive in class, mainly boys. However, many adults with ADHD were the quieter children in the class who appeared to be ‘good’ students. Read more.

Being diagnosed or recognising, you have the symptoms of ADHD in adulthood can be a confusing and overwhelming experience. Many people diagnosed later in life can struggle to accept their diagnosis and how it impacts their life.

For some people, an adulthood diagnosis of ADHD can come as a relief. However, there can be some intense emotions when reflecting on life’s difficulties and recognising that undiagnosed ADHD has played a part.

The good news is that if you are an adult who has recently been diagnosed with ADHD, resources can help you cope with the diagnosis to enable you to lead a fulfilling life.

Common Psychological Effects Of Adult ADHD

As you may have experienced, being diagnosed with ADHD in adulthood can present various psychological effects. The most common include anxiety and depression.

Another common psychological effect that comes along with adult ADHD is low self-esteem or feelings of inadequacy. This could be due to issues such as finding it difficult to meet deadlines, understand instructions in the workplace, or finding it difficult to be on time for appointments. Of course, the symptoms are not the same for everyone.

People Living With ADHD May Feel Anxious or Depressed

An adulthood diagnosis of ADHD can feel like a heavy burden; it might be that you think the difficulties you are experiencing will be lifetime struggles. However, a diagnosis means you can begin navigating life around the symptoms rather than feeling like you are constantly fighting against them. As you learn more about ADHD, it’s essential to remember that everyone has different needs and experiences and their journey in understanding and accepting their diagnosis.

You’ve Been Diagnosed, Now What?

While receiving a diagnosis later in life can be extremely helpful, it doesn’t improve the symptoms. However, recognising that many of the symptoms you have been struggling with for years are associated with ADHD can be helpful alone.

A diagnosis can help as you may feel less alone; many ADHD support groups out there can be helpful for some people.

It is common to have mixed emotions following an adulthood diagnosis of ADHD. It can be helpful to talk this through during therapy. Therapy can also help with techniques and strategies to make life easier.

Stigma and Shame

For many people, being diagnosed with any condition can be a source of shame or embarrassment. This sense of shame can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, which can further exacerbate the symptoms of ADHD.

Recognising that these feelings are normal and that you are not alone in your experience is essential. There are plenty of online resources available for adults with ADHD which can provide much-needed support during tough times.


Another common issue faced by those diagnosed with ADHD is low self-esteem. People who have struggled for extended periods may feel worthless or inadequate compared to their peers.

The key here is to practice self-compassion and remind yourself that having an ADHD diagnosis does not make you any less capable than anyone else; it simply means that you need different strategies to help you succeed in life.

Learning how to set realistic goals and take steps towards achieving them can be incredibly empowering and help boost your self-esteem over time.

The Benefits of Therapy for Adults With ADHD;

1. Provides a Safe Space

Therapy provides a safe space where adults with ADHD can openly discuss their diagnosis without fear of judgment.

2. Tips and Strategies

A therapist can provide helpful tips and strategies which will help to manage the symptoms of ADHD helpfully.

Therapy can help explore and manage thoughts, emotions, and behaviours often accompanying an ADHD diagnosis. For example, impulsivity, difficulty focusing, hyperactivity, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and problems with time management.

3. Structure and Routine

In addition to providing coping mechanisms for dealing with the emotional impact of an ADHD diagnosis, therapy can also help create structure in one’s life by assisting people to set achievable goals and prioritise tasks.

This structure helps provide much-needed stability when faced with everyday challenges associated with having ADHD.

4. Manageing triggers

Adults with ADHD can learn how to recognise triggers that exacerbate their symptoms so they can better plan for them in advance.

5. Comfort and Connection

Last but not least, therapy provides a sense of comfort which is invaluable when navigating the psychological impact of being diagnosed later in life.

People recently diagnosed often feel isolated due to not having anyone else in their lives who has gone through similar experiences or understands what they are going through.

Having an outside party willing to listen without bias or judgment provides much-needed support and comfort during this difficult time.

Wrapping it all up

Therapy can help you build the skills necessary to manage ADHD effectively so that you can lead a whole and happy life despite your diagnosis.

It may be helpful to seek professional help if you’re struggling emotionally after your diagnosis; don’t hesitate to reach out book a free discovery call here.