Illustrationsfoto Psychiatrie

Attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adulthood

Attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects about five to ten percent of all children and adolescents and is thus one of the most common mental illnesses at this age. For a long time, it was assumed that the symptoms would disappear by adulthood. It is now known that adults in Germany also suffer from this mental disorder at an estimated frequency of one to two percent.

What is ADHD?

Difficulty concentrating, lack of impulse control, and increased activity are the core symptoms defining ADHD. The symptoms persist throughout childhood, adolescence, and in up to 60 percent of patients until adulthood.

However, as the symptoms develop in many different ways, adults are often not diagnosed at all. The cause of ADHD is believed to be a transmission disorder of the messenger substances dopamine and noradrenaline in the brain, triggered by a complex interaction of heredity, neurobiological and psychosocial factors.

Symptoms in adulthood

In adults, the symptom of hyperactivity usually turns into a feeling of inner restlessness. This is why the term ADD is more commonly used in adults.

The following symptoms are frequently described:

  • Mood swings
  • Excessive emotional reactions
  • Lack of control and chaos in all areas of life, especially difficulties in planning and organizing everyday affairs
  • Difficulties in managing one's imagination
  • Impaired social behaviour, particularly as a result of lower frustration tolerance and increased aggression


Affected adults frequently exhibit other mental disorders such as anxiety disorders, depression, or addiction disorders. These must be treated beforehand in order to be able to assign the symptoms correctly. The diagnosis is a time-consuming standardized procedure and is often very difficult. Evidence of symptoms in childhood facilitates this process. School reports and information from parents also play an important role. It is typical for the disease that the symptoms do not disappear completely at any time in life. A thorough neuropsychological test determines the current impairment.


It is not always necessary to undergo treatment. Many patients have developed strategies over the years to master everyday life. However, if several areas of life are considerably affected, therapy based on medication and psychotherapy is recommended, in particular:

  • Psychoeducation, in order to better understand the symptoms and their effects on one's life and to develop strategies towards organizing life
  • Teaching individual strategies of coping
  • Disorder-specific psychotherapy, sometimes in groups, to teach skills to cope with the symptoms and to manage everyday life better

In the case of severe forms of the condition, inpatient treatment is
possible - depending on accompanying illness, such as depression, anxiety, or addiction.

If necessary, we also offer socio-educational support.

Making an appointment

Appointments for ADHS consultations can only be made at the registration desk in the outpatient clinic.

Phone: +49 931 201-77800



Mediation and information

Phone: +49 931 201 76050
Fax: +49 931 201-77550


Phone: + 49 931 201-77800
E-Mail: ep_poli@ 

In-patient care
Phone: +49 931 201-76050
E-Mail: ep_poli@ 

Clinic directorate

Prof. Dr. med. Jürgen Deckert

Secretary´s office
Phone: +49 931 201-77010
Fax: : +49 931 201-77020
E-Mail: ps_sekr@ 


Klinik und Poliklinik für Psychiatrie, Psychosomatik und Psychotherapie des Universitätsklinikums | Margarete-Höppel-Platz 1 | 97080 Würzburg | Deutschland