8 Workplace Issues for People with Untreated ADD

Untreated ADD

Are you chronically late for meetings, have difficulty getting your projects completed, or have a hard time sitting at a desk for any length of time?

If so, ADD may be the driving force.

While most often diagnosed during childhood due to school and behavior issues, ADD/ADHD doesn’t just disappear in adulthood. Thus, having untreated ADD can cause some problems in the workplace for many people.

ADD brains work differently in certain respects, and while there are several potential challenges, there are also some amazing gifts. On the bright side, people with ADD can be:

  • Energetic and spontaneous
  • Full of ideas
  • Enthusiastic
  • Creative
  • Really fun to be around
ADD brains work differently in certain respects, and while they have several challenges, there are also some amazing gifts, such as spontaneity, enthusiasm, creativity, and the ability to generate new ideas. Click To Tweet


If people with ADD are able to surround themselves with support staff who manage the details of their projects and help keep them organized, they can be very successful. However, not everyone has that luxury. Research has found that it is not unusual for many with ADD to struggle with a number of challenges at work, particularly the following ones:

1. The Harder You Try, the Harder it Gets

And it isn’t exactly your fault because it’s actually how your brain works. When people with ADD concentrate, blood flow decreases in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), the part of the brain that is vital for staying focused. This makes it harder to stay on task.

Helpful hint:  Set a timer for every 60 or 90 minutes and take a quick break to move around a little and get your blood flowing again. Then get right back to the project you were working on.

2. Procrastination

Do you wait right up until the deadline to get started on a project? Sometimes projects can seem really overwhelming, so people may put them off as long as possible. On one hand, that shortened timeline gets the adrenaline flowing to help motivate you, but on the other hand, waiting until the last minute can cause problems for yourself and others. You’re more likely to make mistakes when rushed and if you’re working on a team project it can interfere with the productivity of others.

Helpful hint: Break up your project into smaller tasks and focus on one at a time, rather than feeling like it’s a giant ball of twine you have to untangle all at once.

3. Distractibility

It can be very challenging for ADD brains to filter out voices, noise, and other things going on around them—including what’s happening on their smartphone. They also have a tendency to daydream and get caught up in their own busy mind. These distractions interfere with the ability to pay attention and follow directions, which of course are detrimental to productivity.

Helpful hint: Try using a white noise machine or earbuds to minimize distractions from the sound around you. Also, turn off the notification beep for your email and set a timer to check and respond to your inbox once per hour instead.

4. Impulsivity

The PFC is supposed to function as the brakes of the brain, but with ADD, this part of the brain tends to be underactive, and your brakes don’t work as well as they should. Often, this lends itself to interrupting others or speaking before thinking—and in the workplace that can be problematic. Blurting out something without taking a moment to process the thought can offend or irritate coworkers, customers, or even the boss.

Helpful hint: Start paying attention to how your body feels when you have the urge to respond instantaneously to something and practice counting to 10 before responding. This can help you get control of your mouth, so you don’t put your foot in it.

5. Forgetfulness

When you have a busy and spontaneous brain, memory can be an issue. Missed deadlines, forgotten reports, and steps not completed because you didn’t remember how to do them or even that you were supposed to do them, all can adversely impact your success at work.

Helpful hint: When you’ve been assigned a new task or project, write out all the necessary steps and use your computer or phone reminder functions to help you stay on track.

6. Disorganization

This is one of the hallmarks of ADD. Does your office have piles of stuff that make others wonder how you can find anything at all? This can be very challenging for your work because of how easy it is to lose track of important papers you need and the excessive time it takes to find things—both of which can lead to being inefficient at your job. In addition, a messy workspace is very distracting and can make it even harder to focus.

Helpful hint: Shred or recycle papers you don’t need—as soon as you are finished with them—so they don’t end up in a pile. For all others, scan and file documents electronically, or if appropriate, put them in clearly labeled file folders in your desk drawer.

7. Chronic lateness

Losing track of time can cause big problems at work. Not making deadlines, regularly showing up late to meetings, and not getting to work on time are red flags for many supervisors. Whether it’s due to disorganization, overscheduling yourself, or not getting up early enough, a lack of timeliness can lead to job loss.

Helpful hint: Set meeting reminders to beep 10 minutes and 5 minutes prior to when you need to depart for each meeting and give yourself adequate time to get there. Even if it’s an online meeting, use the same reminders to get logged in before the start time. Also, set your alarm clock so that you have plenty of time to get ready for work and prepare any lunch food the night before, so you don’t waste time in the morning.

8. Restlessness

Many (but not all) people with ADD are naturally restless or hyperactive. It can be very hard to sit still and do desk work or stay in one place for any length of time. This urge to move around can be difficult to harness, so if you can’t switch careers to one that offers more movement and novelty, try building more motion into your day.

Helpful hint: To avoid being fidgety during meetings, take notes to keep your mind focused and your hand busy. Also, schedule short intermittent breaks throughout the day to get some quick exercise, such as a power walk around the block or a few laps up and down the stairs to help burn off some of that excess energy.

Job problems are quite common in people with untreated ADD; however, with some natural solutions, you really can improve the behaviors and habits that keep getting in your way at work. Depending on which of the 7 Types of ADD a person has, the proper diet, adequate exercise, simple supplements, and other lifestyle changes can make a huge difference in getting control of your brain, so you can be successful in your career and the goals that lay ahead!

ADD and other mental health issues can’t wait. During these uncertain times, your mental well-being is more important than ever, and waiting until life gets back to “normal” is likely to make your symptoms worsen over time.

At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.


  1. This is a great article! Thank you for pointing out the subtle symptoms that can be associated with adult ADD. I’m grateful for the description of symptoms and tips to combat them.

    Comment by Cynthia Krismer — May 14, 2021 @ 3:17 AM

  2. I learned things about add that I wasn’t aware of, good info

    Comment by Josephine pearson — May 15, 2021 @ 3:53 AM

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