What are the symptoms of ADHD?

What are the symptoms of ADHD?

Children, teenagers and adults with ADHD have an ongoing pattern of three types of core behaviors:

  • Inattentiveness: Difficulty sustaining attention to tasks.
  • Impulsivity: Doing things on sudden urges, without thinking such as talking out in class, throwing a toy, or interrupting someone in conversation. In adults, the impulses may be irresponsible such as spending too much money.
  • Hyperactivity: Restlessness such as fidgeting, inability to stay seated when sitting is expected such as in church or school, moving or climbing when it’s inappropriate to do so.

Children, teens and adults with ADHD are diagnosed by the behavior pattern that is most actively present. The three most common ADHD presentations are Predominantly Inattentive, Predominantly Hyperactive/Impulsive and the combination of these types.

ADHD Predominantly Inattentive Presentation is defined by the following nine behaviors:

  • Fails to pay close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work or during other activities.
  • Has trouble paying attention during tasks or play.
  • Appears to not listen even when spoken to directly.
  • Has difficulty following through on instructions (for example, often fails to finish schoolwork, chores or other duties in the workplace).
  • Often has difficulty organizing tasks or activities.
  • Avoids or dislikes tasks that require continuous mental effort, such as schoolwork, homework or preparing reports, completing forms and reviewing lengthy papers.
  • Frequently loses needed items, such as books, pencils, tools, wallets/purses, keys, paperwork, phone and eyeglasses.
  • Can be easily distracted by actions or thoughts unrelated to the current task.
  • Is often forgetful in daily activities (such as doing chores, running errands, returning phone calls, paying bills and keeping appointments).

Behaviors of the ADHD Predominantly Hyperactivity/Impulsive type include:

  • Fidgets with or taps hands or feet or squirms frequently.
  • Leaves seat in the classroom or in the workplace when remaining seated is expected.
  • Runs or climbs excessively when it's not appropriate; constantly feels restless (if an adolescent or adult).
  • Has trouble playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly.
  • Always seems “on the go” or “driven by a motor.”
  • Talks too much.
  • Blurts out the answers before questions have been completely asked; older children may often finish sentences for others who are talking.
  • Frequently has trouble waiting for his or her turn.
  • Often interrupts or intrudes on others' conversations or games.

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