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Symptoms of ADHD

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Impulsivity continued...

The person might:

  • Have a hard time waiting for their turn.
  • Blurt out answers before someone finishes asking them a question.
  • Frequently interrupt or intrude on others. This often happens so much that it causes problems in social or work settings.
  • Start conversations at inappropriate times.

Impulsivity can lead to accidents, like knocking over objects or banging into people. Children with ADHD may also do risky things without stopping to think about the consequences. For instance, they may climb and put themselves in danger.

Many of these symptoms happen from time to time in all youngsters. But in children with the disorder they happen a lot -- at home and school, or when visiting with friends. They also mess with the child's ability to function like other children who are the same age or developmental level.

Getting Diagnosed

Doctors check for behavior that's:

  • Not typical for the person’s age. (Most children can behave in those ways at some point or another, though.)
  • Has a negative impact on the person’s ability to function at home, in social environments, or at work.

They also have to consistently display at least six of the above symptoms:

  • For at least 6 months
  • And in at least two settings, such as at home and in school

Long-Term Outlook

Overall, hyperactivity tends to diminish with age. But inattention tends to last into adulthood.

Treatment can help. And a great many children with ADHD ultimately adjust. Some -- about 20% to 30% -- have learning problems that ADHD treatment may not help, though.

As they grow older, some teens who've had the disorder since childhood may have periods of anxiety or depression. When there are more demands at school or home, symptoms of ADHD may get worse.  

A child with hyperactive behavior may get symptoms of other disruptive disorders, like oppositional-defiant disorder.

These children are especially at risk to be more likely to drop out of school. If you’re concerned, talk to your or your child’s doctor about your treatment options. Medications, behavioral therapy, and other tactics can help.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari, MD on June 17, 2015
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