The Symptoms and Different Types of ADHD

There are three core symptoms of ADHD: inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. It is important to understand that attentional problems are actually a result of not being able to regulate attention, not just being unable to pay attention. Over-focusing can be a major problem as well. During the assessment process, medical professionals look at the clustering of these symptoms to help them in diagnosing the sub-type of ADHD. Children and adults who display only attentional symptoms are classified as 'ADHD primarily inattentive sub-type', also known as ADD in the past. Those who display hyperactivity and impulsivity are diagnosed as 'primarily hyperactive-impulsive sub-type'. This sub-type is not seen very often. The most common sub-type is 'ADHD combined subtype' where all three symptoms are present.

Possible Symptoms of Inattention:
  • Distracted easily form the task at hand by noises or things going on around them
  • Looking around frequently
  • Staying focused on one activity
  • Daydreaming
  • Not focusing on speaker when spoken to
  • Unable to remember verbal instructions
  • Misinterpreting instructions
  • Unable to pay attention to details
  • Completing work without being reminded
  • Losing things
  • Difficulty organizing belongings and work
  • Difficulty starting things
  • Forgetting normal routines

Possible Symptoms of Hyperactivity:
  • Fidgeting and squirming
  • Problems remaining seated
  • Talking excessively and at inappropriate times
  • Often running and climbing
  • Stands instead of sitting at the table
  • Unable to settle into a quiet activity
  • Constantly on the go
  • Frequently handling or touching objects

Possible Symptoms of Impulsivity:
  • Butting into conversations
  • Blurting out answers in the classroom
  • Beginning work before instructions given
  • Disturbing others who are playing
  • Grabbing others belongings
  • Touching, grabbing or hitting others
  • Problems waiting for turn or standing in line
  • Making impulsive decisions

The symptoms of the ADHD sub-types can change significantly with age. Hyperactivity and impulsivity may decrease or be channeled differently as the person ages. This is one of the reasons why in the past it was thought that children outgrew ADHD in their adolescence. New research has shown that problems with executive functioning can be more of a problem than attention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness, especially in later life. Unfortunately, executive functioning skills are required more in adulthood and can often become a major issue for many adults diagnosed with ADHD.
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