ADHD and emotions

By Thomas E. Brown, PhD

At a glance

  • Trouble managing emotions is a common ADHD symptom.

  • Emotions can feel more intense with ADHD and get in the way of everyday life.

  • There are ways to help get control of and manage emotions.

Many people know about the main symptoms of ADHD. Trouble with focus and impulsivity are the most common. But one challenge that isn’t mentioned as much is trouble managing emotions.

People with ADHD have the same emotions as other people. What’s different is that they often feel these emotions more intensely. These emotions also last longer and can get in the way of everyday life. 

Because of that, people with ADHD may:

  • Be overwhelmed with discouragement, frustration, or anger
  • Give up too quickly on whatever they’re doing
  • Avoid interacting with others

People with ADHD often get better at managing their emotions as they get older. But some continue to struggle with it as adults. Still, there are skills people of all ages can learn to help manage emotions.

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    About the author

    About the author

    Thomas E. Brown, PhD is a clinical psychologist and clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.