Signs of having adhd

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) - Symptoms

Symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

The symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be categorised into 2 types of behavioural problems:

  • inattentiveness (difficulty concentrating and focusing)
  • hyperactivity and impulsiveness

Many people with ADHD have problems that fall into both these categories, but this is not always the case.

For example, around 2 to 3 in 10 people with the condition have problems with concentrating and focusing, but not with hyperactivity or impulsiveness.

This form of ADHD is also known as attention deficit disorder (ADD). ADD can sometimes go unnoticed because the symptoms may be less obvious.

ADHD is more often diagnosed in boys than girls. Girls are more likely to have symptoms of inattentiveness only, and are less likely to show disruptive behaviour that makes ADHD symptoms more obvious. This means girls who have ADHD may not always be diagnosed.

Symptoms in children and teenagers

The symptoms of ADHD in children and teenagers are well defined, and they're usually noticeable before the age of 6. They occur in more than 1 situation, such as at home and at school.

Children may have symptoms of both inattentiveness and hyperactivity and impulsiveness, or they may have symptoms of just 1 of these types of behaviour.

Inattentiveness (difficulty concentrating and focusing)

The main signs of inattentiveness are:

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

Hyperactivity and impulsiveness

The main signs of hyperactivity and impulsiveness are:

  • being unable to sit still, especially in calm or quiet surroundings
  • constantly fidgeting
  • being unable to concentrate on tasks
  • excessive physical movement
  • excessive talking
  • being unable to wait their turn
  • acting without thinking
  • interrupting conversations
  • little or no sense of danger

These symptoms can cause significant problems in a child's life, such as underachievement at school, poor social interaction with other children and adults, and problems with discipline.

Related conditions in children and teenagers with ADHD

Although not always the case, some children may also have signs of other problems or conditions alongside ADHD, such as:

  • anxiety disorder – which causes your child to worry and be nervous much of the time; it may also cause physical symptoms, such as a rapid heartbeat, sweating and dizziness
  • oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) – this is defined by negative and disruptive behaviour, particularly towards authority figures, such as parents and teachers
  • conduct disorder – this often involves a tendency towards highly antisocial behaviour, such as stealing, fighting, vandalism and harming people or animals
  • depression
  • sleep problems – finding it difficult to get to sleep at night, and having irregular sleeping patterns
  • autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) – this affects social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour
  • dyspraxia – a condition that affects physical co-ordination
  • epilepsy – a condition that affects the brain and causes repeated fits or seizures
  • Tourette's syndrome – a condition of the nervous system, characterised by a combination of involuntary noises and movements (tics)
  • learning difficulties – such as dyslexia

Symptoms in adults

In adults, the symptoms of ADHD are more difficult to define. This is largely due to a lack of research into adults with ADHD.

As ADHD is a developmental disorder, it's believed it cannot develop in adults without it first appearing during childhood. But symptoms of ADHD in children and teenagers often continue into adulthood.

The way in which inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness affect adults can be very different from the way they affect children.

For example, hyperactivity tends to decrease in adults, while inattentiveness tends to remain as the pressures of adult life increase.

Adult symptoms of ADHD also tend to be far more subtle than childhood symptoms.

Some specialists have suggested the following as a list of symptoms associated with ADHD in adults:

  • carelessness and lack of attention to detail
  • continually starting new tasks before finishing old ones
  • poor organisational skills
  • inability to focus or prioritise
  • continually losing or misplacing things
  • forgetfulness
  • restlessness and edginess
  • difficulty keeping quiet, and speaking out of turn
  • blurting out responses and often interrupting others
  • mood swings, irritability and a quick temper
  • inability to deal with stress
  • extreme impatience
  • taking risks in activities, often with little or no regard for personal safety or the safety of others – for example, driving dangerously

Related conditions in adults with ADHD

As with ADHD in children and teenagers, ADHD in adults can occur alongside several related problems or conditions.

One of the most common is depression. Other conditions that adults may have alongside ADHD include:

  • personality disorders – conditions in which an individual differs significantly from the average person in terms of how they think, perceive, feel or relate to others
  • bipolar disorder – a condition affecting your mood, which can swing from one extreme to another
  • obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) – a condition that causes obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviour

The behavioural problems associated with ADHD can also cause problems such as difficulties with relationships and social interaction.

Page last reviewed: 24 December 2021
Next review due: 24 December 2024

Personality disorders - NHS

A person with a personality disorder thinks, feels, behaves or relates to others very differently from the average person.

There are several different types of personality disorder.

This page gives some information about personality disorders in general, linking to other sources for more detail.

Symptoms of a personality disorder

Symptoms vary depending on the type of personality disorder.

For example, a person with borderline personality disorder (one of the most common types) tends to have disturbed ways of thinking, impulsive behaviour and problems controlling their emotions.

They may have intense but unstable relationships and worry about people abandoning them.

A person with antisocial personality disorder will typically get easily frustrated and have difficulty controlling their anger.

They may blame other people for problems in their life, and be aggressive and violent, upsetting others with their behaviour.

Someone with a personality disorder may also have other mental health problems, such as depression and substance misuse.

Find out more about the different types of personality disorder on the Mind website

Treatment for a personality disorder

Treatment for a personality disorder usually involves a talking therapy. This is where the person talks to a therapist to get a better understanding of their own thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

Treatment can last several months or years, depending on the severity of the condition and other problems the person may have.

As well as listening and discussing important issues with the person, the therapist may identify strategies to resolve problems and, if necessary, help them change their attitudes and behaviour.

Therapeutic communities

Therapeutic communities (TCs) are places where someone visits or stays for an intensive form of group therapy. The experience of having a personality disorder is explored in depth.

The person usually attends for a number of weeks or months.


Medicine may be prescribed to treat problems associated with a personality disorder, such as depression, anxiety or psychotic symptoms.

For example, moderate to severe symptoms of depression might be treated with a type of antidepressant called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).

Read more about the treatment for borderline personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder.

You can also visit the Royal College of Psychiatrists website, and charity websites Mind and Rethink Mental Illness for their patient information on treatment for other types of personality disorder.


Many people with a personality disorder recover over time. Psychological or medical treatment is often helpful, but support is sometimes all that's needed.

There's no single approach that suits everyone – treatment should be tailored to the individual.


It's not clear exactly what causes personality disorders, but they're thought to result from a combination of the genes a person inherits and early environmental influences – for example, a distressing childhood experience (such as abuse or neglect).

Support for people living with a personality disorder

Having a personality disorder can have a big effect on the person's life, as well as their family and friends, but support is available.

If you'd like support for yourself or someone you know, you may find the following links useful:

  • Mind: useful contacts
  • Rethink mental illness: personality disorders
  • Royal College of Psychiatrists: personality disorder
  • Time to Change: personal stories of personality disorders

Ask a GP about support groups for personality disorders near you. Or find out what mental health services exist and how to access them.

Page last reviewed: 12 October 2020
Next review due: 12 October 2023

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children - description of the disease, causes, symptoms

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition in which a child's activity and excitability exceed the norm.


  • Pregnancy complications: toxicosis, high blood pressure, intrauterine fetal asphyxia.
  • Violations of the normal lifestyle of a pregnant woman: difficult working conditions and bad habits, such as smoking. nine0010
  • Complications of the course of labor: prolonged or, conversely, rapid labor.

Symptoms almost always appear between 2 and 3 years of age. The average age of going to the doctor is 8-10 years: at this age, study and housework begin to require independence and concentration from the child.


  • Restlessness, fussiness, restlessness.
  • Impulsivity, emotional instability, tearfulness. nine0010
  • Ignoring the rules and norms of behavior.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Delayed speech development.
  • Tendency to perform simultaneously without completing several tasks at once.

Suspecting such violations in a child at any age, parents should definitely consult a neurologist for an examination, since sometimes the cause of hyperactive behavior in a child is another, more severe disease. nine0005

Of the additional methods, electro- and echoencephalography are used, in some cases - computed tomography, electroneuromyography, emission spectrometry, etc.


Correction of ADHD should include a set of techniques, i.e. be multimodal. The main directions are: physical activity, psychological and pedagogical correction, family psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, relaxation techniques, treatment of comorbidities. nine0005

More about pediatric neurology at the YugMed clinic

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ADHD in adults - treatment, symptoms, diagnosis

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Treatment of ADHD in adults

Rehabilitation clinic "In a NEW DAY" specializes in the treatment of adults with ADHD. We have developed and effectively applied a set of rehabilitation measures for ADHD.

Individual approach

Each patient has his own doctor - a neurologist. He knows everything about the patient and his disease, if necessary, he can make adjustments to the course of treatment at any stage. The main thing is the result. At the end of the course of treatment, individually developed recommendations are issued. nine0052

Treatment is always complex

Taking into account the variant of the course, the age of the patient, the severity of manifestations, the most appropriate methods and their combinations are selected: (BOS).

In everyday life, ADHD patients are not recommended to engage in those sports that involve a competitive nature and have a pronounced emotional component, for example, martial arts, team games. Useful jogging, swimming (non-competitive), cycling, skiing. nine0005

To improve the psychological and emotional state, reduce anxiety, overcome depression, sleep disorders, various methods of psychotherapy are used. The choice of a technique suitable for a particular patient is carried out by a psychologist or psychotherapist.

Relaxation techniques: special relaxation massages, relaxation sessions, medical treatment.
Cognitive training is used for attention deficit. Acupuncture (IRT) is traditionally used to restore the regulation of many organs, including the brain. nine0052

Innovative techniques

Translingual neurostimulation (TLNS) is an effect on the brain through the stimulation of tongue receptors. This is an advanced innovative technique, most effectively used in the treatment of diseases of the central nervous system, and as we know, ADHD belongs to such diseases. The use of TLNS allows you to restore the regulation of excitation-inhibition processes in a short time, which ultimately leads to an improvement in the course of ADHD, the best psychological and motor correction. In addition, TLNS has a positive effect on cognitive functions, such as concentration and memory, improves sleep, allowing the body to restore its neurotransmitter stores and have a good rest. nine0052

Continuity and recurrence

ADHD has a favorable course when properly treated. It is important to maintain the results achieved. To do this, at discharge, we give detailed individually developed recommendations. As long as there is any residual symptomatology, courses of treatment should be repeated, as a rule, 2-3 times a year.

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Attention deficit disorder in adults

ADHD is a childhood-onset neurological behavioral disorder characterized by difficulty concentrating and maintaining attention, excessive motor activity (hyperactivity) and incontinence (impulsivity).

In recent years, the frequency of ADHD has increased, including among adults. It used to be thought that by adolescence, the symptoms of ADHD would significantly improve or go away. However, now these ideas have changed: in 30-70% of cases, ADHD persists into adulthood. Most often this is due to insufficiently effective treatment in childhood. nine0052

More about ADHD

All processes occurring in the nervous system are based on two oppositely directed mechanisms: excitation and inhibition. Normally they are balanced. However, the formation of the nervous system does not occur immediately after birth. The brain is mainly formed before the age of 8 years, but finally only by the age of 25. Therefore, in children, arousal and inhibition often get out of control, in some cases leading to ADHD. Over time, the brain matures and the symptoms of ADHD improve or go away on their own. But even in an adult, cognitive, behavioral, and motor
disorders resulting from ADHD. That is why the prevalence of ADHD in adults, although it has increased in recent years, still remains much less than in children.

In general, the manifestations in children and adults do not differ, but there are features.

First, if a child does not have ADHD, then an adult will not develop this disease. Therefore, ADHD in adults is not a separate disease, but disorders that have persisted since childhood.

Secondly, in adults attention disorders prevail over manifestations of hyperactivity. It is difficult for such people to concentrate and maintain attention, so many activities that require concentration may not be available to them. Hyperactivity can be manifested by restlessness, so sedentary sedentary work is not suitable for them. nine0052 Impulsivity can be manifested by conflicts in the family and at work.

And thirdly, the presence of ADHD in adulthood requires careful examination to exclude other disorders, incl. mental illness.

Manifestations of ADHD depend on the course of the disease.

Types of ADHD in adults

  • With a predominance of attention deficit disorder (deficit)

  • With a predominance of hyperactivity

  • Mixed version of ADHD

Symptoms of ADHD in adults

Symptoms of inattention (in at least 5 symptoms for at least 6 months):

  • Inability to concentrate on details, error
  • Inability to hold attention for a long time
  • Often one gets the impression that he does not listen to addressed speech
  • Inability to follow instructions, algorithms, for example, fulfill conditions tasks
  • Resistance to getting involved in tasks, avoiding or active resistance
  • Frequent loss of things, especially those necessary to complete tasks
  • Easy distractibility to extraneous stimuli or thoughts (“hovering” thoughts)
  • Routine forgetfulness (errands, chores, being late)

Symptoms of hyperactivity (in adults, at least 5 symptoms for at least 6 months):