Navigating College and Young Adulthood with ADHD

A graphic of a person with clouded thoughts, representing the discomfort ADHD treatment in Orange County, CA can address. Learn more about therapy for young adults in Orange County, CA and more by contacting a young adult therapist in Orange County, CA today.

It’s hard enough being a college student and a young adult. But, when you add ADHD into the mix, it can feel almost impossible. It’s easy to feel like you’re not cut out for college or the “real world”. Especially when you’re often struggling with things that seem to come so easily to others. But, there are ways to manage ADHD and still be successful!

What is ADHD?

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Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that makes it difficult to focus, sit still, and control impulsive behavior. Some people with ADHD have trouble with time management, keeping track of things, or completing the task they’re working on. Because of this, ADHD can make school and work feel overwhelming.

ADHD can cause you to feel like you don’t understand how other people function, or that you’re not “normal”. As a result, it may cause you to feel like you’re “unworthy” because you do things in different ways than other people.

ADHD is Common

It may seem like you are the only one struggling like this. But, our therapists at Moxie Family Therapy promise this is not true. ADHD is more common than you may think. Many college students and young adults can go through life not knowing they have ADHD. It can often go undiagnosed or be misdiagnosed as something else.

Symptoms of ADHD in College Students and Young Adults

ADHD can show up in different ways in different people. Some of the common symptoms of ADHD are:

  • Always moving or fidgeting
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Being overly talkative
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Appearing to be daydreaming or being “spacey”
  • Difficulty finishing tasks

But, ADHD can present in a different way in girls and women. It can often look like:

  • Perfectionism
  • Overcompensating and overachieving
  • People-pleasing

This doesn’t mean that girls and women cannot have the physical symptoms of ADHD. Instead, it means that the symptoms may look different for some people.


One way ADHD can present in girls and women is overcompensation. This means you will be trying to overcompensate in the areas you struggle. For example, you may struggle with ADHD at school. If so, you might try to overcompensate by getting a job and being perfect at your job. Or, if you can’t focus, you might overcompensate by trying to read five books at once or complete other unrelated tasks.

Your Brain Works in A Different Way

High-achieving women and girls often put a lot of pressure on themselves to be perfect. But, perfection isn’t attainable. In addition, struggling with ADHD can make it even harder to live up to the unrealistic expectations you have for yourself.

This doesn’t mean you’re not good enough. Your brain just works in a different way. This means that you will need to find different ways to study or complete work tasks. Our therapists at Moxie Family Therapy in California can help you find the skills that work best for you.


ADHD can come with a lot of guilt. Guilt for falling behind because you are having a hard time being as organized as everyone else. Or, guilt because you don’t know other ways to study or get your work tasks completed. When you struggle with ADHD, it can be easy to doubt yourself and your abilities.

This guilt can also lead to self-judgment. You may treat yourself in a harsh way because you feel like you’re not measuring up. You may think that being very hard on yourself will push you to be better. It’s okay to set goals for yourself, but you can’t hate yourself into being better.

In fact, self-criticism can actually lead to anxiety and depression. If you’re feeling this way, it’s important to find support and talk to someone. A therapist or counselor can help you navigate these feelings of anxiety and depression and help you to work through them.


A woman sits thinking alone at a picnic table while looking out at the landscape. Therapy for young adults in Orange County, CA can offer support with feelings of isolation. Learn more about therapy for young adults and college students by contacting a young adult therapist in Orange County, CA today.

Many overwhelming feelings come with ADHD. One source of those feelings can be medication. ADHD medication can help you focus and manage your impulsivity. Medication often helps people to be more successful in school and work.

But, some people hesitate to start medication because they are worried about the side effects. Others may worry because they have pushed through for so long. They may feel like they don’t need medication. Or that they can just push through and power through ADHD. But that’s not always the case.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to medication.

Many people benefit from medication because it helps to relieve their symptoms of ADHD. Some women and girls feel that they are more in control when on medication. But it’s a personal decision that you should make with your therapist, psychiatrist, or doctor. Our therapists in California work with many college students and young adults who are struggling to make this same decision. They are here to empower you to make the best decision that’s right for you.

Do I Need to Tell Other People?

When given an ADHD diagnosis, you may question whether you need to tell others. Do you tell your employer? Do you tell your friends and family? Will they judge you? There is no right or wrong answer to this. It’s a decision that you need to make for yourself.

Deciding to Tell Your Employer

If you’re questioning whether to tell an employer about your ADHD, you may be concerned that they will see you as incapable. Or, that you’ll be placed in a box. But, telling an employer can also be a way to talk to them about your ADHD and how it affects you. This can help them to understand you better so that they can support you better.

Most employers offer ADHD accommodations. These can be a small step to help you feel more supported at your job and make it easier to succeed.

ADHD accommodations can look like:

  • Allowing you to take more breaks during the day
  • Giving you extra time for projects
  • Allowing you to work from home

Though if you choose not to tell an employer, that’s okay too.

Deciding to Tell Friends and Family

ADHD can often affect your relationships. It can be hard to keep up with friends or make plans. Talking with your friends and family may help them understand your ADHD and how it affects you. Plus, it can help them support you in ways that work.

Remember, telling others about your ADHD is a personal decision. You don’t have to tell anyone if you don’t want to.

You Don’t Have to Continue to Struggle Alone

Seeking help does not make you weak. In fact, it’s a sign of strength! Reaching out means that you are committed to reaching your goals and getting the most out of your life. ADHD does not have to hold you back from success. It’s vital to reach out for help when you need it.

You can relieve your stress, manage your emotions, and make progress toward your goals.

A close up of a person offering their hand in support to another. A young adult therapist in Orange County, CA can offer similar support with therapy for young adults in Orange County, CA. Learn more about ADHD treatment in Orange County, CA and more.

By working with our therapists at Moxie Family Therapy, you can learn to manage your ADHD. You’ll be able to process your feelings and experiences with ADHD too. In addition, you’ll gain support to gain greater self-acceptance and compassion. We are here to help you find relief. Through therapy for young adults and college students, you can overcome the challenges you’re facing now. A young adult therapist can help you prepare to handle academic and social difficulties in the future. You don’t just have to just “survive”, you can thrive!

Begin Young Adult and College Student ADHD Treatment in Orange County, CA

You deserve support in managing attention issues, and our team of caring therapists would be honored to support you from our Orange County, CA-based practice. We can equip you with the coping tools to achieve your personal goals. If you’re ready to start your therapy journey, please follow these simple steps:

  1. Contact Moxie Family Therapy
  2. Find a therapist at our practice that’s the right fit for you
  3. Enjoy being a young adult and the college experience!

Other Services Offered at Moxie Family Therapy

Therapy for young adults and college students isn’t the only service offered at our Orange County, CA-based practice. The team of therapists at Moxie Family Therapy are happy to also offer support for womenchildrenteens, and couples with a variety of services in person and online. In addition, we also offer support for mental health issues including therapy for anxiety, traumaclinical supervisionart therapycounseling for adoption, therapy for therapists, and play therapy. Please learn more about us by visiting our blog or FAQ page today!

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