Who can be affected by ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder occurs in both males and females and across all ages and all levels of social status, intelligence and capability.

It is estimated that around 2.5% of adults in the UK live with ADHD.

Are you affected by ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was traditionally thought to just affect children and teenagers. Now it is recognised that most people with ADHD do not ‘grow out of it’ and it can, and often does, continue into adulthood. ADHD affects and  occurs in both males and females, across all ages and all levels of social status, intelligence and capability.


Many people question their past and present behaviour, life challenges and progress for the first time in adulthood. Some wonder if they perhaps need support without realising that they might be suffering from the affects of ADHD.


Others have heard or read about ADHD and wonder if this might explain why their life has been a challenge. Sometimes this is precipitated by the realisation that one of their children has ADHD and they see similar symptoms in themselves. Looking back over their life, they may have always suffered from these symptoms but have ‘got by’.


This may have been at a significant cost. Perhaps they have not been as successful as they feel they should be able to be. Perhaps they have been successful but at huge personal cost in terms of the time and effort that this has taken compared to others.


Because ADHD can occur alongside other mental illnesses with similar behaviour traits, it may not be recognised or it may be misdiagnosed as another mental health problem.

Here are some of the types of people who can be affected by ADHD. You may recognise yourself here.

The Impact of ADHD

ADHD can severely affect an individual’s education, working life, home life, relationships and social life.

Take a simple ADHD questionnaire

ADHD affects healthy and successful people

ADHD can occur in the absence of any other mental illness and in people who are otherwise successful in their professional or personal lives. However, this success may have come at a significant cost and they may feel that they have had to work over and above their peers to achieve their success.

Healthy, successful people

ADHD affects college and university students

ADHD can cause difficulty coping at college or university and be a significant barrier to academic success. Whilst some people may be able to manage especially if they have a lot of support and structure in their lives, others may get behind on assignments, fail modules, need to repeat one or more of their college years or drop out of further education altogether, despite being highly intelligent

College and university students

ADHD affects people with addictions

It is common that people with ADHD may have higher than average rates of illegal drug use or other addictions. Some feel that illegal drugs “calm thoughts”.

People with addictions

adhd affects prisoners

ADHD is more common in prison populations than in the general population. This may be related to the impulsive nature of some people with ADHD.


ADHD affects young and old

ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder in children. However, it is now understood that children do not suddenly stop living with ADHD when they reach 18. Adults also suffer from ADHD and it is now known as a lifespan disorder as it can occur across all ages.

Young and old

ADHD affects parents

ADHD can make parenting more challenging and difficult to cope with, even if parenting is a full time occupation and the parent is not trying to juggle a working life too. ADHD may mean that a parent is disorganised and has difficulty coping with domestic life, running a home, organising meals, shopping, school runs and family life. It may be that a person coped better before they had children, but organising others and coping with their needs has been ‘the straw that broke the camels back’. If a parent has ADHD then it is more likely that their children will have it too, adding to the parenting challenge.

Home based parents


41% of those with an autistic disorder probably also suffer from ADHD.

Autistic men and women

ADHD affects people with learning difficulties

There is a greater incidence of ADHD in people of low IQ although it can occur across all levels of intelligence.

People with learning disability

ADHD affects males and females

Boys and girls as well as men and women can all suffer from ADHD. Some may suffer from the type of ADHD without hyperactivity (often called Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD). However, it is not true that ADD only affects females. Both ADHD and ADD can occur in males and females of any age.

Males and females

ADHD affects people with mental illness

It is common that people with ADHD are more likely to suffer from other mental illness. They may already be receiving treatment for anxiety or depression yet it may be that ADHD is the disorder that is driving these symptoms.

Those with mental illness

ADHD affects unemployed people

Just as some people with ADHD are hugely successful, it can also affect someone who is unemployed. ADHD may be driving some unhelpful behaviours such as sitting around at home, feeling restless and being unable to focus on tasks for more than a few minutes. It can cause extreme distractibility and loss of single-minded thought, making it hard to find pathways and plans to gain employment

The unemployed

ADHD affects people with personality disorder

ADHD can cause people to be very irritable, easily angered and their moods can be volatile. Sometimes it is misdiagnosed as having a personality disorder although it can also occur alongside a personality disorder.

People with personality disorder

How to book an assessment or appointment

If you find the information in our site useful and feel that you would benefit from a full ADHD assessment, we would be delighted to consider booking an appointment for you at one of our clinics. Please click here for more information.

Where ADHD can affect people

ADHD can affect adults in many, and sometimes all, of their daily activities and interactions with other people. Here we identify some of the places and behaviour traits that are most commonly highlighted by adult ADHD patients and their partners, families and friends.

ADHD at home

ADHD at work

ADHD in relationships

ADHD in education

ADHD in social situations

Real stories - how ADHD affects real people

josh adhd story attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Zoning out

Josh was really struggling to focus at work, in his cubicle, in an open plan office. The office floor was loud and distracting and he could not concentrate.
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mohammed adhd story attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Driving. A testing time

It had taken Mohammed four attempts to pass his driving test. He now felt that driving was a constant struggle.
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philip adhd story attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Married with children

Philip was a married man with two children. His marriage was under a lot of stress, as his wife complained that with him, she had three kids to look after not two.
Read More


As a mother of a son of 32 yrs who I have always suspected had ADHD, or if not ADHD a problem of some sort, to finally find someone not only to listen to you but also believe in what your saying, was beyond words for our family.

Extract from iwantgreatcare.org recommendation.


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