Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common behavioral disorder among children and adolescents, plus symptoms of ADHD can persist into adulthood.

An ADHD diagnosis can be challenging to manage. It’s a complex disorder that can affect many aspects of an individual’s daily life and behavior.

Prevalence

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as 11 percent of school-aged Americans have been diagnosed with ADHD.

As many as 64 percent of those with ADHD may also have another mental, emotional or behavioral health disorder so early detection and treatment is essential to facilitate the highest possible quality of life for these individuals.

Symptoms

Individuals with ADHD show a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning and/or their development. The symptoms below are commonly seen in patients with ADHD.1

Inattention:

  • Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in school work, at work, or with other activities.
  • Often has trouble holding attention on tasks or play activities.
  • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
  • Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (e.g., loses focus, side-tracked).
  • Often has trouble organizing tasks and activities.
  • Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to do tasks that require mental effort over an extended period (such as schoolwork or homework).
  • Often loses things necessary for tasks and activities (e.g., school materials, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, mobile telephones).
  • Is often easily distracted
  • Is often forgetful in daily activities.

Hyperactivity and Impulsivity:

  • Often fidgets with or taps hands or feet, or squirms in seat.
  • Often leaves the seat in situations when remaining seated is expected.
  • Often runs about or climbs in situations where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may be limited to feeling restless).
  • Often unable to play or take part in leisure activities quietly.
  • Is often “on the go” acting as if “driven by a motor.”
  • Often talks excessively.
  • Often blurts out an answer before a question has been completed.
  • Often has trouble waiting his/her turn.
  • Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games)

1 American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition. Arlington, VA., American Psychiatric Association, 2013.