Symptoms of ADHD - Health Education - DesiMD Healthcare - India

Symptoms of ADHD

Dr.Selvizhi Subramanian profile Authored by Dr.Selvizhi Subramanian on 1 Dec 2015 - 17:53.


The symptoms of ADHD can be broadly classified into two types of behavioural problems. These include:  

  i) Inattentiveness

  ii) Impulsiveness and hyperactivity

In most of the ADHD patients both these problems are seen but not in all of them. A form of ADHD which is called as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) has only the problem of inattentiveness but not of hyperactivity or impulsiveness. ADD can go unnoticed in some patients due to its lesser symptoms.

Symptoms in teenagers and children:

The symptoms of ADHD in teenagers and children are prominent and are noticed usually before six years of their age. These symptoms can be seen at multiple places like at school and at home. The main symptoms of each problem are as follows:


The signs of inattentiveness include:

  • Appearing forgetful or losing things
  • Being unable to stick at tasks that are tedious or time-consuming
  • Appearing to be unable to listen to or carry out instructions
  • Making careless mistakes – for example, in schoolwork
  • Constantly changing activity or task
  • Having a short attention span and being easily distracted
  • Having difficulty organising tasks

Impulsiveness and hyperactivity:

The signs of hyperactivity and impulsiveness include:

  • Constantly fidgeting
  • Being unable to concentrate on tasks
  • Being unable to sit still, especially in calm or quiet surroundings
  • Ecessive physical movement
  • Excessive talking
  • Iterrupting conversations
  • Little or no sense of danger
  • Being unable to wait their turn
  • Acting without thinking

Due to these symptoms the child may face many problems in his/her life such as poor academic record at school, less interaction with other children and lack of discipline.

Related conditions in teenagers and children:

Some children may also have other conditions along with the problems of ADHD, although it’s not seen in all cases. These conditions may include the following:

  • Anxiety disorder: This disorder causes the child to be worried and nervous about time. The physical symptoms of this disorder include rapid heartbeat, dizziness and sweating.
  • Conduct disorder: This disorder makes the child to perform antisocial activities such as fighting, stealing, vandalism and causing harm to animals or people.
  • Depression
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD): In this disorder the child behaves in a disruptive and negative manner towards parents, teachers or other authoritative personalities.
  • Sleep problems: The child has problems in sleeping at night or may have irregular pattern of sleep.
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder: This disorder affects the communication, social behaviour and interests of the child.
  • Difficulty in learning
  • Epilepsy
  • Tourette’s syndrome: This is a nervous disorder which involves a combination of movements called tics and involuntary noises.

Symptoms in adults:

It is more difficult to notice the symptoms of ADHD in adults due to less research carried on adults with ADHD. As ADHD is a developmental disorder, it is believed that without appearing in the childhood it cannot develop directly in adulthood. It is known that the ADHD symptoms which are seen in childhood are often carried on to the person’s teenage and adulthood. This also includes the carrying forward of the other related problems faced in childhood such as dyslexia or depression.

It is estimated that by the age of 25, 15% of the ADHD patients still have complete range of the symptoms which they had in childhood, while 65% of them have lesser symptoms which affect their day to day lives. It is said by some specialists that the symptoms of ADHD seen in children are applicable to adults also, but they affect the adult patients in a different way.

Therefore the following symptoms are suggested by those specialists for adult patients:

  • Continually starting new tasks before finishing old ones
  • Poor organisational skills
  • Inability to focus or prioritise
  • Carelessness and lack of attention to detail
  • Blurting out responses and often interrupting others
  • Mood swings, irritability and a quick temper
  • Inability to deal with stress
  • Extreme impatience
  • Forgetfulness
  • Restlessness and edginess
  • Difficulty keeping quiet and speaking out of turn
  • Continually losing or misplacing things
  • Taking risks in activities, often with little or no regard for personal safety or the safety of others – for example, driving dangerously

Additional related problems in adult ADHD patients:

The most common additional problem in adult patients is depression. Some of the other conditions are as follows:

  • Bipolar disorder: This disorder affects the mood of the person causing it to swing from one extreme to another.
  • Personality disorder: In this disorder the person differs largely from a normal person in terms of thinking, perseverance and feeling.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): In this disorder the person has obsessive thoughts and behaves in a compulsive manner.

These behavioural problems may cause the patient to face some difficulties such as problem in establishing relationships, crimes, social interactions and sometimes finding a job or staying in a job.



*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.