The signs of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD are broadly classified into two types of behavioral issues:
- Hyperactivity and impulsiveness
Most people with ADHD have symptoms that fall into both these classes, but it is not always the case.
For example, people with ADHD may have problems with inattentiveness, but not of impulsiveness or hyperactivity. This type of ADHD is also known as ADD or attention deficit disorder. ADD symptoms are less visible, so it can sometimes go unnoticed.
ADHD in Children and Adolescents
ADHD symptoms in children and adolescents are usually noticeable before the age of six years. They occur in more than one environment, such as at school or at home.
The main symptoms of inattentiveness in children and adolescents are:
- Have a short attention span
- Can be easily distracted
- Make careless mistakes
- Appear forgetful
- Loose things
- Unable to stick to time-consuming or tedious tasks
- Inability to listen to directions
- Unable to carry out instructions
- Regularly change task or activity
- Have difficulty organizing tasks
Hyperactivity and Impulsivity
The main symptoms of impulsivity and hyperactivity in children and adolescents are:
- Constant fidgeting
- Unable to sit still
- Unable to be calm or quiet
- Unable to concentrate on activities or tasks
- Excessive talking
- Excessive physical movement
- Acting without thinking
- Unable to wait for the turn
- A very little or no sense of danger
- Interrupting conversations
These symptoms of ADHD can cause significant problems in the life of a child or teenager, such as weak social interaction, underachievement at school, poor relationships with other children and adults, and issues with discipline.
It is not always the case, but some children with ADHD may also have signs of other conditions alongside the disorder, such as:
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is the condition in which harmful and disruptive behaviors take place, particularly towards the authoritative figures such as teachers or parents.
- Anxiety disorder causes a child to worry and be nervous all the time, also causing some physical symptoms such as sweating, rapid heartbeat, and dizziness.
- Conduct disorder often involves a tendency to highly antisocial behavior such as fighting, stealing, harming others, and vandalism.
- Depression can adversely affect the school and social performance of a child.
- Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects the social interaction, interests, communication, and behavior of a child.
- Sleep problems make it hard to get to sleep at night and have irregular sleep patterns.
- Tourette’s syndrome is a condition of the nervous system that causes a combination of involuntary movements and noises.
- Epilepsy is a condition affecting the brain of a child, causing repeated seizures or fits.
ADHD in Adults
The symptoms of ADHD in adults are difficult to define. It is due to the lack of research data into adults with ADHD.
As ADHD is a developmental disorder, researchers believe that it cannot develop in adulthood. The disorder first appears during childhood and then emerges as a person grows older.
Additional problems and conditions experienced by children with the disorder such as dyslexia or depression may also continue into adulthood.
By the age of 25, an approximate population of 25% of the people diagnosed with ADHD as children has a full range of symptoms, and 65% of them still have some symptoms affecting their daily lives.
The symptoms of children and adolescents also apply to adults with ADHD.
But some studies show that the way in which attentiveness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity affects adults can be very different from they affect children and teenagers.
For example, hyperactivity decreases in adults, while inattentiveness gets worsen as the pressure of adulthood increases.
Adult symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder tend to be more subtle than the symptoms of childhood.
Some studies suggest the following list of symptoms associated with ADHD in adults:
- Continually starting new activities or tasks before finishing the old ones
- Poor organization skills
- Lack of attention to the details
- Inability to focus or concentrate
- Edginess or restlessness
- Failure to deal with stress
- Difficulty keeping quiet
- Speaking out of turn
- Extreme impatience
- Mood swings or irritability
- Quick temper
- Blurting out responses
- Interrupting others
- Taking risks, often with no regard for the safety of others
As with ADHD in children and adolescents, adults with ADHD can occur along with several other problems and conditions.
One of the most common of them is depression. Other related conditions that adults have along with ADHD include:
- Bipolar disorder is a condition that affects your mood, which swings from one extreme to another.
- Personality disorders are a condition in which a person differs significantly from average persons in terms of how they act, think, perceive, feel, or related to others.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a condition that can cause obsessive thoughts and compulsive behavior.
The behavioral problems associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can also cause other issues such as difficulties with social interactions and relationships.