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Looking Ahead

Teen girl in waiting room
ADHD is sometimes a lifelong condition. About one-third of children with ADHD continue to have ADHD in adulthood. Another third of children with ADHD continue into adulthood with some attention problems but not enough to qualify for a clinical diagnosis of ADHD. The remaining third of children with ADHD outgrow their symptoms by the time they reach adulthood.

Compared with their non-ADHD counterparts, adults with ADHD tend to:

  • have difficulty sticking to routines and schedules
  • have more problems with work-related issues, although this varies from study to study
  • have lower self-image and greater emotional and social problems
  • have higher divorce rates
  • have more difficulty with parenting, especially if one or more of their children also have ADHD
  • have a tendency towards dangerous driving

However, while ADHD is a long-term condition for some adults, this does not necessarily mean it will be disabling. Many people with ADHD become very successful in work and in life. Adults with ADHD are attracted to careers that are exciting and busy. They may prefer a job that has an element of risk. They tend to enjoy activities that are very absorbing or stimulating.

As your child approaches adulthood, it is important to begin transitioning to adult care. Speak with your doctor to make sure a plan is in place for adult care, ideally well before your child turns 18 years of age.

The following pages provide information about the effects of ADHD on college and university, working, relationships, and driving.

Tara McAuley, PhD, CPsych

Peter Chaban, MA, MEd

Rosemary Tannock, PhD