Skip to content

ADD & ADHD Health Center

Select An Article

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Symptoms of ADHD

Font Size

The symptoms of ADHD include inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity. These are traits that most children display at some point or another. But to establish a diagnosis of ADHD, sometimes referred to as ADD, the symptoms should be inappropriate for the child's age.

Adults also can have ADHD; in fact, up to half of adults diagnosed with the disorder had it as children.  When ADHD persists into adulthood, symptoms may vary. For instance, an adult may experience restlessness instead of hyperactivity. In addition, adults with ADHD often have problems with interpersonal relationships and employment.

Recommended Related to ADD-ADHD

ADHD Tests

Medical science has come a long way in its ability to recognize and treat ADHD. Still, there's no single ADHD test available to definitively diagnose this common disorder. Talking with the patient and family members may be the most important diagnostic tool doctors have for ADHD. Through talking, the doctor can learn about the patient's daily moods, behaviors, productivity, and lifestyle habits. A physical exam will show a patient's overall state of health. But the doctor needs to know what specific...

Read the ADHD Tests article > >

 

Types of ADHD

There are three different subtypes of ADHD, including:

  • Combined ADHD (the most common subtype), which involves symptoms of of both inattentiveness and hyperactivity/impulsivity
  • Inattentive ADHD (previously known as ADD), which is marked by impaired attention and concentration
  • Hyperactive-impulsive ADHD, which is marked by hyperactivity without inattentiveness

For a diagnosis of ADHD, some symptoms that cause impairment must be present before age seven. Also, some impairment from the symptoms must be present in more than one setting. For instance, the person may be impaired at home and school or home and work. Also, there must be clear evidence the symptoms interfere with the person's ability to function at home, in social environments, or at work.

 

Symptoms of ADHD

There are three different categories of ADHD symptoms: inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity.

Inattention may not become apparent until a child enters the challenging environment of school. In adults, symptoms of inattention may manifest in work or in social situations.

A person with ADHD may have some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty paying attention to details and tendency to make careless mistakes in school or other activities; producing work that is often messy and careless
  • Easily distracted by irrelevant stimuli and frequently interrupting ongoing tasks to attend to trivial noises or events that are usually ignored by others
  • Inability to sustain attention on tasks or activities
  • Difficulty finishing schoolwork or paperwork or performing tasks that require concentration
  • Frequent shifts from one uncompleted activity to another
  • Procrastination
  • Disorganized work habits
  • Forgetfulness in daily activities (for example, missing appointments, forgetting to bring lunch)
  • Failure to complete tasks such as homework or chores
  • Frequent shifts in conversation, not listening to others, not keeping one's mind on conversations, and not following details or rules of activities in social situations
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Post it notes
Symptoms and treatments.
Close up of eye
What's zapping your focus?
 
man driving car
How to manage your impulses.
Woman shopping for vitamins at drugstore
Should you take them?
 
concentration killers
SLIDESHOW
Woman taking a vitamin or supplement
Article
 
ADHD and Substance Abuse
Article
Reduce Side Effects ADHD Medications
Article
 

boy eating egg
Video
smiling man
Article
 
ADHD in Marriage and Romantic Relationships
Article
Adult man lying awake in bed
Article
 

WebMD Special Sections