• Symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

    Because ADHD develops during childhood, the information presented here focuses on children. The primary symptoms of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. At some time in their lives, all children are inattentive, hyperactive, or impulsive. However, children with ADHD have symptoms that are noticeably more severe and consistent. They have difficulty in school and with their family and peer relationships.
    There are several different types of ADHD. Some children are mainly inattentive and do not display signs of hyperactivity (classic attention deficit disorder [ADD]). However, some are hyperactive, some are impulsive, and others exhibit a mixture of these symptoms.
    Behaviors linked to ADHD can last into adulthood, often resulting in problems with relationships and employment. Specific symptoms include:
      Inattentive (classic ADD)
      • Easily distracted by sights and sounds
      • Does not pay attention to detail
      • Does not seem to listen when spoken to
      • Makes careless mistakes
      • Does not follow through on instructions or tasks
      • Avoids or dislikes activities that require longer periods of mental effort
      • Loses or forgets items necessary for tasks
      • Is forgetful in day-to-day activities
      • Has difficulty organizing tasks
      • Hyperfocuses on certain activities
      • Has difficulty with transitions
      Hyperactive
      • Is restless, fidgets, and squirms
      • Runs and climbs and is not able to stay seated
      • Has difficulty playing quietly
      • Talks excessively
      Impulsive
      • Blurts out answers before hearing the entire question
      • Interrupts others
      • Has difficulty waiting in line or waiting for turn
      Combined (most common type)
      • Has a combination of the above symptoms
    People with ADHD also can have:

    References

    Ability to quit smoking may depend on ADHD symptoms, researchers find. Science Daily website. Available at: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081121125602.htm. Accessed October 4, 2017.

    Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/condition/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd. Updated June 2017. Accessed October 4, 2017.

    Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T231898/Attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-ADHD-in-adults. Updated December 27, 2016. Accessed October 4, 2017.

    Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113926/Attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-ADHD-in-children-and-adolescents. Updated May 23, 2017. Accessed October 4, 2017.

    Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd-the-basics/index.shtml. Updated 2016. Accessed October 4, 2017.

    Rappley MD. Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder. N Engl J Med. 2005;352(2):165-173.

    Stern T, Rosenbaum J, et al. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2008.

    Understanding ADHD: Information for parents. Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/adhd/Pages/Understanding-ADHD.aspx. Updated January 9, 2017. Accessed October 4, 2017.

    What is ADHD? Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/adhd.html. Updated July 2014. Accessed October 4, 2017.

    10/12/2009 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113926/Attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-ADHD-in-children-and-adolescent: Cortese S, Faraone SV, Konofal E, Lecendreux M. Sleep in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: meta-analysis of subjective and objective studies. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2009;48(9):894-908

    Revision Information

    • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrian Preda, MD
    • Review Date: 09/2017
    • Update Date: 09/17/2014
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