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ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
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Signs & Symptoms of ADHD

Margaret V. Austin, Ph.D., edited by C. E. Zupanick, Psy.D. Updated: Mar 28th 2017

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurological condition associated with several characteristic symptoms. These are:
1. distractibility,
2. poor impulse control,
3. forgetfulness,
4. inattention,
5. hyperactivity, and
6. impulsivity;

list with boxes checked…beyond what is normal or average for a given age.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5; APA, 2013) is commonly used to describe and diagnose various mental disorders, including ADHD.

Inattention and impulsivity are hallmarks of ADHD. However, hyperactivity is not always present. In this case it would be called Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or ADHD, predominantly inattentive presentation.

Usually, ADHD is first identified during childhood; but, it often persists into adulthood. Although adult-ADHD is more common than once believed, not all children with ADHD will become adults with ADHD.

Symptoms of ADHD change across the lifespan. For example, some symptoms, like hyperactivity, fade over time. Moreover, the same symptom may be expressed differently by children and adults. For example, a child's chronic disorganization may appear as a messy room. When that child becomes an adult, chronic disorganization may be evidenced by repeated job loss due to an inability to effectively prioritize and sequence tasks. Because ADHD often "looks" different in children and adults, the adult version of the disorder will be discussed later in a separate companion article


Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

ADHD - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - May 11th 2009

Hi JR,

I know that you live in the UK. You know the system there much better than I do. You would need a psychiatrist or psychologist to do a diagnosis and help you find the right therapist to help you learn to cope with the symptoms.

To the other individual asking about the Cath lab: I really do not think it is your job to help this person. If they cannot do the job then they should not have the job. If they want help, they have to find it themselves.

Dr. Schwartz

Teaching Help - SL - May 11th 2009

I have little to no experience with ADHD.  Fairly recently I have been given the task of precepting an adult with ADHD in the Cath Lab.  I am seeking helpful suggestions or teaching tips to aid in the process.

how can I get help with out insurance - J.R - Aug 26th 2008

I have alot of these symptoms since i was a child. I am grown and have been depressed because i have not been able to maintain or identifly relasonships,jobs,friends. I avoid failure by  procrasanating and not completing tasks because i cant stay oranize. I need help I have two boys and my girlfriend have a boy and a girl  we been living together for 2 years and i dont want my sisuation to hurt my family.  sincerely, J.R

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