ZocdocAnswersCan adults have ADD?

Question

Can adults have ADD?

My mother seems really scatterbrained lately. She's all over the place. I know she's a little stressed because she's working and going to school, but is it possible for adults to get ADD the way kids do?

Answer

While attention deficit disorder is most often diagnosed in kids, there is an entity known as adult onset or just adult ADD. Its diagnosis is a bit more difficult than it is in kids because there is not usually a teacher involved in the evaluation and the symptoms are often not the same. Your report of your mother being scatterbrained lately is a very vague symptom and ADD is not the first thing I think of in a middle aged women. A much more common possibility is that your mother is suffering from some depression. It sounds like she is stressed lately because of a combination of work and school. This combination can tip some people over into a mild (or sometimes severe) depression. Being scatterbrained can be a sign of this. Unfortunately, evaluating someone for ADD, depression, or any mental condition requires the one on one attention from a physician. While a psychiatrist is the type of physician that would be most likely to treat someone with ADD, we don't know for sure what she has if anything. Thus, I suggest that she schedule an appointment with her primary care physician to better assess what is going on. If her doctor feels that there is a mental issue that need to be addressed, then she may get a referral to a psychiatrist for a better assessment and treatment.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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