Symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

The symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be categorized into 2 types of behavioral problems: inattentiveness, and hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

Most people with ADHD have problems that fall into both these categories, but this is not always the case.

For example, some people with the condition may have problems with inattentiveness, but not with hyperactivity or impulsiveness.

This form of ADHD is also known as attention deficit disorder (ADD). ADD can sometimes go unnoticed because the symptoms may be less obvious.

Symptoms in children and teenagers

The symptoms of ADHD in children and teenagers are well defined, and they’re usually noticeable before the age of 6. They occur in more than 1 situation, such as at home and at school.

Inattentiveness

The main signs of inattentiveness are:

  • having a short attention span and being easily distracted
  • making careless mistakes – for example, in schoolwork
  • appearing forgetful or losing things
  • being unable to stick to tasks that are tedious or time-consuming
  • appearing to be unable to listen to or carry out instructions
  • constantly changing activity or task
  • having difficulty organizing tasks

Hyperactivity and impulsiveness

The main signs of hyperactivity and impulsiveness are:

  • being unable to sit still, especially in calm or quiet surroundings
  • constantly fidgeting
  • being unable to concentrate on tasks
  • excessive physical movement
  • excessive talking
  • being unable to wait their turn
  • acting without thinking
  • interrupting conversations
  • little or no sense of danger

These symptoms can cause significant problems in a child’s life, such as underachievement at school, poor social interaction with other children and adults, and problems with discipline.

Related conditions in children and teenagers with ADHD

Although not always the case, some children may also have signs of other problems or conditions alongside ADHD, such as:

  • anxiety disorder – which causes your child to worry and be nervous much of the time; it may also cause physical symptoms, such as a rapid heartbeat, sweating and dizziness
  • oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) – this is defined by negative and disruptive behavior, particularly towards authority figures, such as parents and teachers
  • conduct disorder – this often involves a tendency towards highly antisocial behavior, such as stealing, fighting, vandalism and harming people or animals
  • depression
  • sleep problems – finding it difficult to get to sleep at night, and having irregular sleeping patterns
  • autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) – this affects social interaction, communication, interests and behavior
  • epilepsy – a condition that affects the brain and causes repeated fits or seizures
  • Tourette’s syndrome – a condition of the nervous system, characterized by a combination of involuntary noises and movements (tics)
  • learning difficulties – such as dyslexia

Symptoms in adults

In adults, the symptoms of ADHD are more difficult to define. This is largely due to a lack of research into adults with ADHD.

As ADHD is a developmental disorder, it’s believed it cannot develop in adults without it first appearing during childhood.

But it’s known that symptoms of ADHD often persist from childhood into a person’s teenage years and then adulthood.

Any additional problems or conditions experienced by children with ADHD, such as depression or dyslexia, may also continue into adulthood.

The symptoms in children and teenagers are sometimes also applied to adults with possible ADHD.

But some specialists say the way in which inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness affect adults can be very different from the way they affect children.

For example, hyperactivity tends to decrease in adults, while inattentiveness tends to get worse as the pressures of adult life increase.

Adult symptoms of ADHD also tend to be far subtler than childhood symptoms.

Some specialists have suggested the following as a list of symptoms associated with ADHD in adults:

  • carelessness and lack of attention to detail
  • continually starting new tasks before finishing old ones
  • poor organizational skills
  • inability to focus or priorities
  • continually losing or misplacing things
  • forgetfulness
  • restlessness and edginess
  • difficulty keeping quiet, and speaking out of turn
  • blurting out responses and often interrupting others
  • mood swings, irritability and a quick temper
  • inability to deal with stress
  • extreme impatience
  • taking risks in activities, often with little or no regard for personal safety or the safety of others – for example, driving dangerously


Link: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/symptoms/

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