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ADHD and Hyperactivity - Topic Overview

Hyperactivity refers to inappropriate or excessive activity for a person's age or situation. Hyperactivity is not always a continuous behavior, as is often assumed. A person who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with hyperactivity as the main symptom may only sometimes be overactive. If a person has the primarily inattentive type of ADHD, he or she may even seem less active than normal.

Children may have more obvious symptoms of hyperactivity than teens and adults. Children whose main symptom is hyperactivity seem to be "on the go" much of the time or act as if "driven by a motor." Behavior may range from subtle to extreme. For example, a child may squirm in his or her chair at times, and then at other times be completely unable to stay seated. Children with hyperactivity also frequently climb and run around when it is not appropriate.

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Hyperactivity may be less obvious as people with ADHD mature, but they usually still struggle with symptoms. For example, teens and adults may be fidgety. Some adults say they feel restless even when they do not show it.

Some symptoms are common in all age groups, such as talking excessively or having difficulty doing quiet activities.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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