Does ADHD Lead to Procrastination?

Alexis Dent
June 4, 2020

Millions of Americans have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and many more go undiagnosed every day. The ways that this can affect a person’s life and the methods of counteracting it can vary from person to person. Every case is different, but some things remain true for many, if not most, of the people who suffer from ADHD; They are prone to procrastination.

adhd procrastination

Procrastination is defined as the action of delaying or postponing something. While this is something that most people have been guilty of at some point or another, the question remains about the link between procrastination and people with ADHD. Procrastination is not officially recognized as a symptom of ADHD, but this does not mean that the two cannot be linked.

The prevalence of procrastination in modern culture can make it a hard topic to study, especially in its relation to people suffering from ADHD. With its popularity in memes and jokes, procrastination is typically a minor annoyance by which people are occasionally afflicted, but for others, it can be debilitating – severely decreasing productivity in day-to-day life. This is true for many people with ADHD, for whom procrastination can make getting even small tasks done much more difficult than it otherwise would be.

While procrastination may not be considered a symptom of ADHD, the two certainly seem to have a correlation. A recent study from the Behavioral Science Institute at Radboud University in the Netherlands concluded that there was a positive correlation between the two. One part of the study “suggests that students with a high level of inattention were likely to show a high general tendency to delay the start or completion of everyday tasks and to procrastinate making decisions.”

They go on to further explain the plausible link between ADHD and procrastination, saying, “It is not hard to imagine that behaviors such as being easily distracted and having trouble remaining focused on a task may contribute to procrastination. ” Although this does not mean that procrastination will be immediately added as a symptom of ADHD, it is evidence that points to the fact that people who are suffering from ADHD are certainly more susceptible to procrastination.”

How Does ADHD Affect Children and Adults?

Although ADHD in children and adults can have its similarities due to the fact that it is the same condition, it can have very different effects based on the person’s age. Adults who suffer from ADHD, are likely to suffer from another mental disorder, which is known as comorbidity. Thus, adults with ADHD are more likely to also have illnesses such as anxiety disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, or various other co morbid psychiatric conditions. In fact, as many as 50 percent of adults with ADHD also suffer from an anxiety disorder.

Adults with ADHD may find that they have symptoms such as an inability to focus, disorganization, and restlessness. The degree to which adults with ADHD may suffer can vary greatly; some only suffer mildly and are easily able to cope, while others experience significant impairment in their lives due to the condition.

In children, understanding and diagnosing ADHD can be a very different experience due to the fact that doctors and parents have to decide whether a child is just being a kid or if they do in fact, suffer from ADHD. Children with ADHD may fall into different categories with some being mostly inattentive, some hyperactive, and some being a mix of both.

No matter what the case is, many children with ADHD face similar problems such as low self-esteem, troubled relationships, and poor performance in school. Every case is different and children who are suspected of having ADHD should meet with a clinician who can appropriately assess their symptoms.

What Are Some Ways To Deal With Your ADHD?

There are many ways that a person can be treated for ADHD. The first, and one of the most common ways to treat ADHD, is by using medication. Prescription medication for ADHD can be a very valuable way to help combat the symptoms of this condition. Once properly medicated, many people with ADHD experience lessened and more manageable symptoms. However, medication isn’t the only avenue for treating ADHD.

For others, particularly adults, understanding how ADHD can affect you such as by leading you to procrastinate, can be very useful for learning copy skills without medication. For example, sometimes people procrastinate due to lack of organization or by being overwhelmed. These characteristics can be especially exacerbated when someone has ADHD.

For those who choose not to medicate or do medicate but don’t want to rely on prescriptions, there are various ways to help keep your life in order that will allow you to live normally and productively, even with ADHD. Actions like making specific places to do work or tasks, keeping a schedule or routine, and making lists, can be greatly beneficial to someone living with ADHD. And of course, therapy is always a great option to learn coping mechanisms and healthy habits. Every ADHD diagnosis is different and it’s important to find what works best for you in order for you to carry out the life that you want to live.

Alexis Dent

Alexis Dent is an essayist, author, and entrepreneur. Her work is primarily focused on mental illness, relationships, and pop culture. You can find her writing in the Washington Post, Greatist, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, and more.