Signs and Symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder

The most prevalent neurodevelopmental illness in children is attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It frequently persists into maturity and is typically first identified in children. Children with ADHD may struggle to focus, manage impulsive behaviors (doing without considering the consequences), or be extremely active.

Signs and Symptoms

Children may struggle with focusing and behavior, which is natural. However, these behaviors do not just disappear in children with ADHD. The persistent symptoms can make it difficult to function at work, at home, or with friends.

Symptoms in children and teenagers

Children and teenagers with ADHD typically exhibit well-defined symptoms that become apparent before the age of six. They can be found in various circumstances. Youngsters may exhibit signs of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, or they may just exhibit signs of one of these types of behavior.

Inattentiveness (difficulty focusing and concentrating)

The significant signs of inattentiveness are:

  • being unable to commit to boring or time-consuming works
  • having trouble planning tasks
  • short attention span and distraction susceptibility
  • displaying an apparent inability to understand or follow directions
  • making casual errors in academics, for instance
  • activity or endeavor that is continually shifting
  • exhibiting forgetfulness or missing items

Hyperactivity and impulsiveness

The main signs of hyperactivity and impulsiveness are:

  • breaking up discussions
  • unwarranted taking
  • being unable to remain motionless, particularly in tranquil or quiet environments
  • lack of or little sense of risk
  • continually moving around
  • excessive movement of the body
  • unwillingness to wait their turn
  • not being able to focus on tasks
  • acts without consideration

These signs can lead to serious issues in a child’s life, including poor academic performance, bad social contact with other kids and adults, and issues with discipline.

Symptoms in Adults

The signs of ADHD in adults can be more elusive to pinpoint. This is mostly because there isn’t enough study on adults with ADHD. Being a developmental disorder, it is thought that ADHD cannot manifest in adults without first manifesting in infancy. Yet, ADHD symptoms in kids and teenagers can persist into adulthood.

Inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity can impact adults in quite different ways from how they do children. For instance, when the demands of adult life increase, inattentiveness tends to persist, whereas hyperactivity tends to decrease in adults.

Also, compared to childhood symptoms, adult ADHD symptoms are frequently much more modest. According to some experts, the following symptoms are seen in adults with ADHD:

  • intense agitation
  • forgetfulness
  • incapacity to prioritize or pay attention
  • inattention to detail and carelessness
  • anxiety and restlessness
  • responding in a hasty manner and frequently interjecting
  • constantly misplacing or missing stuff
  • a lack of organization
  • mood changes, impatience, and a short fuse
  • taking chances during activities, frequently with little or no consideration for one’s safety or the safety of others, such as while driving recklessly
  • repeatedly initiating new projects before completing existing ones
  • having trouble remaining silent and interrupting others
  • failure to manage stress

Types of ADHD

Depending on which symptoms are most prominent in the individual, there are three ways that ADHD manifests itself:

  • Predominantly Inattentive Presentation: The person finds it challenging to pay attention to details, plan and complete tasks, and follow directions or conversations. The individual gets easily sidetracked or overlooks small elements of daily activities.
  • Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation: The individual chatters a lot and fidgets. Long periods of stillness are challenging (e.g., for a meal or while doing homework). Children that are younger may continually run, jump, or climb. The person is restless and struggles with impulse control. Impulsive persons may speak suddenly, seize objects from others, or interrupt others frequently. The person finds it challenging to follow instructions or wait their turn. Impulsiveness increases the likelihood of accidents and injury for some people.
  • Combined Presentation: Both of the aforementioned sorts of symptoms are equally present in the person.

Causes of ADHD

In an effort to better manage and lower the likelihood that someone may have ADHD, researchers are looking into the causes and risk factors for the condition. Current research indicates that heredity has a significant influence on ADHD, despite the fact that the aetiology and risk factors are unknown. Current research relates genetic causes to ADHD.

In addition to genetics, researchers are looking into other potential causes and risk factors, such as:

  • smoking and drinking when pregnant
  • brain damage
  • low weight at birth
  • environmental dangers (like lead) being exposed when pregnant or when young
  • premature birth

Research does not support the generally held ideas that social and environmental factors, such as family dysfunction or poverty, parenting, excessive television viewing, excessive sugar consumption, or social and environmental factors, including parenting style, do so. Of course, a variety of circumstances, including these, may aggravate symptoms, especially in certain people. Yet, the data is insufficient to draw the conclusion that they are the primary causes of ADHD.

Diagnosing ADHD in children

The procedure of determining whether a child has ADHD involves several steps. The signs of ADHD, which cannot be identified with a single test, might resemble those of many other illnesses, such as anxiety, depression, sleep problems, and some types of learning challenges. To rule out other illnesses that exhibit symptoms similar to ADHD, one step in the procedure is a medical evaluation that involves hearing and vision testing. ADHD is often diagnosed using a checklist for grading the symptoms and gathering the child’s medical history from parents, teachers, and occasionally the child themselves.

Diagnosing ADHD in adults

It frequently persists throughout maturity. Only five symptoms, as opposed to the six required for younger children, are required to diagnose ADHD in adults and adolescents who are 17 years of age or older. At older ages, symptoms could appear differently. For instance, in adults, excessive restlessness or exhausting people with one’s activity can be signs of hyperactivity.


The most successful method of treating ADHD often involves a combination of medication and behavior therapy. Before considering medication, behavior therapy, particularly parent education, is indicated as the first line of treatment for preschool-aged children (ages 4-5) with ADHD. The best option may differ based on the child and family. Effective treatment plans include regular monitoring, follow-ups, and making adjustments as needed.

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