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ADD & ADHD Health Center

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Symptoms of ADHD

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Could someone you know have ADHD? Maybe they're inattentive. Or they might be hyperactive and impulsive. They might have all those traits.

There are three groups of symptoms:

  1. Inattention
  2. Hyperactivity
  3. Impulsivity

Get the facts on all of them, and learn examples of behaviors that can come with each.


You might not notice it until a child goes to school. In adults, it may be easier to notice at work or in social situations.

The person might procrastinate, not complete tasks like homework or chores, or frequently move from one uncompleted activity to another.

They might also:

  • Be disorganized
  • Lack focus
  • Have a hard time paying attention to details and a tendency to make careless mistakes. Their work might be messy and seem careless.
  • Have trouble staying on topic while talking, not listening to others, and not following social rules
  • Be forgetful about daily activities (for example, missing appointments, forgetting to bring lunch)
  • Be easily distracted by things like trivial noises or events that are usually ignored by others.


It may vary with age. You might be able to notice it in preschoolers. ADHD symptoms nearly always show up before middle school.

Kids with hyperactivity may:

  • Fidget and squirm when seated.
  • Get up frequently to walk or run around.
  • Run or climb a lot when it's not appropriate. (In teens this may seem like restlessness.)
  • Have trouble playing quietly or doing quiet hobbies
  • Always be "on the go"
  • Talk excessively

Toddlers and preschoolers with ADHD tend to be constantly in motion, jumping on furniture and having trouble participating in group activities that call for them to sit still. For instance, they may have a hard time listening to a story.

School-age children have similar habits, but you may notice those less often. They are unable to stay seated, squirm a lot, fidget, or talk a lot.

Hyperactivity can show up as feelings of restlessness in teens and adults. They may also have a hard time doing quiet activities where you sit still.


Symptoms of this include:

  • Impatience
  • Having a hard time waiting to talk or react
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