The Difference Between Childhood, Adolescent, and Adult ADHD

16 Apr

ADHD is still pretty poorly understood, and the limits of scientific and medical consensus on the condition are often very apparent. For example, there is no agreement regarding what actually causes ADHD, though it’s considered to be a combination of brain biology, genetic factors, and environmental factors.

It is also broadly agreed that it affects people in differentage groups differently. Though there are many reasons why this is the case, which again,span those three causative factors.

There are also just as many myths and misconceptions about ADHD, and plenty of them concern how it affects individuals of different ages. For example, there is still a pretty widespread ignorance that ADHD is largely a childhood problemassociated with hyperactive kids.

However, the precise way to deal with ADHD differs a lot amongthe three age groups. The brain develops throughout the first part of one’s life, and only settles in adulthood. This means that, theoretically, if you have a genetic or cerebral predisposition to the condition, it could well develop at a specific age of your life.

Next Level Daily, producers of a handy ADHD day planner, note that the different responsibilities one has at various stages of life can make ADHD more apparent in people of different ages. For example, the feeling of being overwhelmed is naturally dependent on the things in life that are actually overwhelming you. You can manage these, but it is naturally different for children, teens, and adults.

A Word About Diagnosis

The point of diagnosis is also of vital importance. You might not “develop” ADHD at all; you might simply have it diagnosed at a later stage in life. This naturally affects how ADHD is dealt with in children, adolescents, and adults. If it’s diagnosed in childhood, plans can start being put in place to manage the condition early. If not, it could be time for a real turnround in life later on – but things are sure to improve.

Kids, Teens, and Adults

So, how can we properly set out the differences between ADHD between the age groups.Let us look at each in turn:


ADHD is most associated with children (erroneously, as it happens). Nevertheless, dealing with ADHD in children is perhaps the best understood. The crucial factors here are that the brain is still developing, and so kids with ADHD do have a chance of “outgrowing” the condition.

Another key point is that kids have a limited ability to apply the mental discipline needed for things like planning and time management, both of which are vital to help with ADHD. For this reason, medication is more often prescribed.


Teens with ADHD still have developing brains, and so “outgrowing” the condition is still possible. This is the time when you attend school, which is an especially crucial time in life. For this reason, the feeling of being overwhelmed becomes much more of concern.

Planning and time management becomea possibility, and diagnosis at this stage of life is still early enough to really help sufferers manage the condition through life.


Adulthood is when ADHD sufferers have the most important responsibilities, and it can be very easy for them to get overwhelmed. The brain is also no longer developing in the same way, and so managing the condition becomes a lifetime concern. Nevertheless, planning techniques and lifestyle changes can still be put in place – and there’s real potential for dramatic improvement.

We still understand relatively little about this condition, but it’s clear that dealing with it differs between the age groups. Luckily, there isspecialized help for people of all ages.