Why Do Some People Outgrow ADHD?

December 31, 2018 Noelle Matteson

Why do some people outgrow ADHD? And if you don't outgrow ADHD, how do you accept your diagnosis? Learn about outgrowing ADHD at HealthyPlace.

A number of children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) supposedly outgrow ADHD, but quite a few do not. It used to be thought that most children lose the diagnosis as they age,1 but theories increasingly suggest that most people still have ADHD throughout adolescence and possibly adulthood.2 Certain experts even theorize that ADHD never disappears; its symptoms simply morph and become more subtle.3 This made me wonder why some supposedly grow out of ADHD and what it means to know that ADHD might never go away.

There appears to be no conclusive evidence on why certain children appear to grow out of ADHD while others do not, but it seems that a lack of treatment and severe ADHD symptoms indicate that ADHD is more likely to carry on into adulthood.4 It could be that well-treated symptoms in a child result in an adult who can manage his or her condition without as much aid as diagnosed ADHD adults. It is also possible that gender, “intelligence,” access to healthcare, and family support contribute to misdiagnoses and missed diagnoses in both children and adults.

Video: Accepting an ADHD Diagnosis You Don't Outgrow

In the video below, I talk about whether I can outgrow ADHD or not and what that means to me. Please watch and let me know what you think in the comments. I’m interested in whether your symptoms changed from childhood to adulthood. Have a happy new year!


  1. Brooks, Megan, “Childhood ADHD Often Persists Into Adulthood.” WebMD, Mar. 2013.
  2. Wesemann, Daniel, and Susan Van Cleve, “ADHD: From childhood to young adulthood.” The Nurse Practitioner, Mar. 2018.
  3. Kessler, Ronald, “How ADHD Grew Up as Kids Grew into ADHD Adults.” APSARD, Nov. 2015.
  4. Kessler, Ronald, et. al., “Patterns and predictors of ADHD persistence into adulthood.” Biological Psychiatry, Jun. 2005.

APA Reference
Matteson, N. (2018, December 31). Why Do Some People Outgrow ADHD?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 14 from

Author: Noelle Matteson

Find Noelle on Twitter, Facebook and her blog.

January, 2 2019 at 7:38 pm

I do very much need to overcome ADHD. I am going to be 48 years old this July and because of this condition have been on Social Security disability since 1995. I have made a ton of mistakes in my life from ill or not at all thought through plans, and not even God has seemed to completely remove all of the consequences of these missteps and mistakes. I don't know where to go from here because of being low income. I feel guilty and stuck constantly, like I do deserve this kind of life.

January, 3 2019 at 1:08 pm

Hi, Elizabeth. That sounds so frustrating! It seems as though ADHD is as varied as those who have it. I'm sorry that you feel you deserve this. :( Considering you've managed to survive until where you are today, in spite of the low income (I *hate* how much that affects everyone's quality of life), you have already made it through a lot, mistakes and all. All I can say is try to take it one day at a time--easier said than done, I know. I hope that you continue to hold on and are able to fight against those feelings of guilt, if possible. Feel free to keep reaching out, if not to people in person, to others online. Thank you for stopping by.

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