Symptoms of ADHD

We’re all distracted at times but that doesn’t mean we have ADHD. Look out for these symptoms.


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We’re all distracted at times but that doesn’t mean we have ADHD. Like all psychological illnesses, ADHD falls at the far extreme of a spectrum of behaviors. A diagnosis of adult ADHD currently requires that at least six inattention symptoms and six hyperactivity-impulsivity symptoms be present for a minimum of six months, with harmful effects on social, academic, or work activities. New diagnostic guidelines coming in May 2013 will only require three inattention symptoms and four hyperactivity-impulsivity symptoms for a diagnosis.

Inattention Symptoms
• You fail to pay close attention to details or make careless mistakes.
• You often have trouble remaining focused during lectures, conversations, or while reading.
• When spoken to directly, your mind seems elsewhere even in the absence of any apparent distraction.
• You often do not follow through on instructions and fail to finish work or chores.
• You often have difficulty organizing tasks and activities, so you fail to meet deadlines.
• You often avoid, dislike, or are reluctant to undertake tasks that require sustained mental effort, such as preparing reports or completing forms.
• You often lose things you need for tasks, such as books, wallet, paperwork, or cell phone.
• You are often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.
• You are often forgetful in daily activities such as running errands, returning calls, paying bills, and keeping appointments.

Hyperactivity-Impulsivity Symptoms
• You often fidget with or tap your hands or feet, or squirm while seated.
• You often get up when remaining seated is expected, such as at work.
• You often run around where it is inappropriate.
• You are often unable to quietly engage in leisure activities, such as reading or gardening.
• You are often unable or uncomfortable sitting still for an extended time, as in restaurants or meetings.
• You often talk excessively.
• You often blurt out an answer before a question has been completed, finish other people’s sentences, or cannot wait your turn in conversation.
• You often have trouble waiting your turn, such as in line at a bank or store.
• You often interrupt others by butting into conversations or activities.

More on ADHD from the Post:
“If It’s Boring, I’m Done!”
ADHD: Living in Overdrive
Identifying ADHD

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