This page provides you with information about ADHD in adults.

The psychiatric services in Central Denmark Region treat ADHD in these teams:

What is ADHD?

If you have ADHD, your life is characterised by a variety of psychological symptoms. They may give you problems functioning in your daily life.

ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. In layman terms, this means that you have problems concentrating and are extremely active. Some specialists describe ADHD as a regulatory disorder. This means that you have difficulty regulating your thoughts, feelings, actions and daily rhythm (sleep-wake cycle).

ADHD occurs in childhood. There are three core symptoms:

  • Attention deficit
    This means that you have difficulty planning and working in a structured and persistent manner. You are also easily distracted by external and internal stimuli. This may, for example, be thoughts or sounds. You also tend to forget appointments and mislay your things.

  • Hyperactivity
    Manifests itself by a virtually constant external and inner agitation. For example, you may find it difficult to sit still even if the situation so requires, such as at a meeting.

  • Impulsivity
    May manifest itself by inappropriate, impulsive actions and utterances. They may have negative consequences.

Life with ADHD

Why do some people develop ADHD?

There are several probable reasons why people develop ADHD.  Particularly hereditary conditions play a big role. Environmental factors may also cause ADHD.


Twin studies have shown that approximately 80% of the causes for developing ADHD have links to heredity. The risk of developing ADHD is therefore higher if you have parents or siblings with ADHD.


If a mother smokes or drinks alcohol during her pregnancy, there is a greater risk that the unborn child will subsequently develop ADHD. Low birth weight also appears to increase the risk.

Oxygen deprivation during childbirth and brain infections in the first years of life are also likely to be contributory causes of ADHD. Distressful events such as death, abuse and bullying may aggravate the symptoms. But they are presumably not in themselves a cause of the symptoms.

Studies of the brain of people with ADHD

I didn’t learn anything at school. I couldn’t sit still and was often expelled from the classroom. I was often told: “Sit still and pull yourself together!”. I often had the impression that I was probably both stupid and lazy.
Michael, 24


Core symptoms

Attention deficit

Hyperactivity/motor agitation


Short-term memory

Sense of time

Emotional regulation

There’s never peace in my head. There are always 6-7 different traces of thought running, and I don’t manage to think one thought through before the next one pops up. I wish I had a switch where I could turn off my mind and achieve some peace – especially when I’m trying to go to sleep
25-year-old man

Racing thoughts

Sleep disorders

The effects of the symptoms on your life

Symptoms may vary in degrees of severity

Examination for ADHD

Criteria for making an ADHD diagnosis

Lægesamtale psykiatrien

ADHD is a clinical diagnosis

Information from relatives

Assessment of own difficulties

Mental symptoms that are not due to ADHD

Subtypes of ADHD

Three subtypes of ADHD

Concomitant disorders

ADHD and concomitant disorders

Treatment for ADHD

What treatment is available for ADHD?

Pharmacological treatment

ADHD medication and other types of medication

Pharmacological treatment for ADHD can be combined with pharmacological treatment for other mental and physical disorders. This may, for example, be medication against anxiety or depression.


If you have other diseases

You may need treatment for other physical or mental illness before you can get treatment for your ADHD. If you have a substance abuse, this may also need to be dealt with before you can get ADHD treatment.

Education about ADHD



Social support options

Advice for people who have ADHD

What can be done to prevent ADHD?

What can you do yourself if you are suffering from ADHD?

Advice for relatives of a person with ADHD

What can you as a relative do for yourself?

What can relatives do?

Text on this page updated October 2022.

Most recently revised by: Simon Hjerrild, Consultant, Psychosis Research Unit, Aarhus University Hospital – Psychiatry and Charlotte Emborg Mafi, Senior Consultant, Psychosis Research Unit, Aarhus University Hospital – Psychiatry.

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