While greater problems with distractibility, procrastination, organization etc. affect self regulatory and self motivating capability in adults afflicted with ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, their learning ability and overall intelligence level are not at all different from those of adults who do not suffer from it. ADHD is a chronic condition which usually sets-in in early childhood and persists throughout a person's lifetime. Roughly 70% of the children afflicted with ADHD go on to have significant symptoms related to the disorder going into adulthood, majorly affecting their educational and employment opportunities, as well as interpersonal relationships.

While private or school teachers and nannies/caretakers assigned to children suffering from ADHD, are well acquainted with the disorder's symptoms, employers of adult ADHD patients and others who interact with them usually have no clue as to the true cause of the associated symptoms, mainly because symptoms are highly variable going into adulthood and a lot different from those in childhood. Adults with ADHD are a lot less likely to show hyperactive behavior comparable to that in childhood. According to research, ADHD severely inhibits educational progress, employment and competence as automobile drivers.

The common perception of ADHD adults is that they are abnormally chaotic and disorganized, with greater stimulation required for staying focused on a specific task. Reduced ability to tolerate stress in ADHD adults leads to habits like smoking, alcohol consumption or drug abuse. As a consequence, these adults more often than not suffer from associated psychiatric problems such as depression and anxiety apart from learning disabilities, like dyslexia leading to further problems for the patients.

While many ADHD suffering adults can perceive their behavior to be "different", they can't remedy their symptoms. Getting professional psychiatric help, apart from treatment for associated problems, does lead to significant improvement in the condition of ADHD adults.

While a large majority of ADHD adults suffer from the inattentive type of the disorder, males show an increased tendency towards the hyperactive type and have very often the combined type of the disorder. The specific symptoms vary widely between individuals and over the life of an individual. Advances in neurobiology have led researchers to a malfunction associated with a specific aspect of the brain's functioning known as executive functioning.

All these symptoms associated with ADHD can be summarized as a deficiency in self-regulation and self-motivation, especially in case of the impulsive/hyperactive type of the disorder. Since adults have a greater understanding of their own condition as compared to children suffering from ADHD, the diagnosis and treatment are easier and much more effective. However, many individuals, especially high intelligence individuals, are able to mask the associated symptoms well and refrain from professional diagnosis and treatment.