Signs and Symptoms of ADHD

Types of ADHD

There are 3 types of ADHD according to the DSM-5*

  • Inattentive (difficulty concentrating and focusing)
  • Hyperactive-Impulsive
  • Combined

Children should have – at least 6 symptoms.

17 years and older- at least 5 symptoms.


Inattentive ADHD (difficulty concentrating and focusing)

  • Short attention span
  • makes careless mistakes (ex. Schoolwork)
  • Does not appear to listen
  • unable to listen to or carry out instructions
  • Has difficulty with organization
  • being unable to stick to tasks that are tedious or time-consuming
  • Loses things
  • Is easily distracted
  • Is forgetful in daily activities


Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD

  • being unable to sit still (especially in calm or quiet surroundings)
  • constantly fidgeting with hands or feet
  • being unable to concentrate on tasks
  • excessive physical movement (ex: Has difficulty remaining seated)
  • excessive talking
  • being unable to wait their turn
  • acting without thinking
  • Difficulty waiting or taking turns (ex. interrupting conversations)
  • little or no sense of danger


Combined ADHD

This includes both Inattention and Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD.


ADHD in Adults

For more than half of children diagnosed with ADHD, symptoms continue into adulthood. However, the symptoms may change as kids get older and learn ways to manage them, becoming more subtle and difficult to define if not diagnosed early on.

In adults, the symptoms are felt more internally, and not seen as much externally. This is because the symptoms of hyperactivity usually go away or lessen as people get older, but difficulty concentrating and focusing remain.




  • Reference guide for mental health clinicians to diagnose and assess mental health disorders

Suggested Reading and References

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