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ADD & ADHD Health Center

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ADHD: Hyperactive-Impulsive Type

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Your child can't sit still. He's talking a mile a minute. Is he just a high-energy kid? Or does he have ADHD?

Hyperactivity is just one sign of ADHD. Kids who have it seem to always be on the move.

Kids who are hyperactive also tend to be impulsive. They may interrupt conversations. They may play out of turn.

So how do you know whether your child has hyperactive-impulsive ADHD? And if your child does, what treatments can help?

Signs of Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD

No single test can confirm that your child has this type of ADHD. Your doctor will first try to rule out other things that can cause hyperactivity. It could be stress or emotional issues. Sometimes vision problems or learning disabilities can make it hard for a child to sit still.

The doctor will also look for at least six of these symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity:

  • Fidgeting (not being able to sit still)
  • Doesn’t seem to listen when spoken to
  • Nonstop talking
  • Trouble doing quiet tasks, such as reading
  • Touching and getting into everything
  • Running from place to place
  • Banging into people or objects
  • Acting like he's "driven by a motor"
  • Constantly jumping or climbing -- on furniture and other inappropriate places
  • Not having patience
  • Blurting out comments at inappropriate times
  • Interrupting conversations or speaking out of turn
  • Trouble waiting for a turn or standing in line

Many children who like to run and jump may be high-energy. But that doesn’t mean they are hyperactive. To count as ADHD, symptoms have to be on the extreme side and have to cause problems in the child’s life. Also, they have to have been doing this for at least 6 months.

Inattentive ADHD

There is another type of ADHD called inattentive ADHD. Children who have inattentive ADHD have trouble focusing. They are also easily distracted.

A child with hyperactive-impulsive ADHD usually won't show many signs of inattention. They don’t usually have trouble focusing or becoming easily distracted.

But many kids have a combination of hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive ADHD. They may be always on the go and have trouble focusing.

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