The symptoms of (ADHD) may include:
- Inattention, which is having a short attention span and being easily distracted.
- Impulsivity, which can cause a person to do dangerous or unwise things without thinking about the consequences.
- Hyperactivity, which is inappropriate or excessive activity.
These symptoms affect people in all age groups who have ADHD. But typical behavior varies by age.
- In preschool-age children, symptoms may be hard to identify. Normal behavior in young children periodically includes all of the major symptoms. ADHD is distinguished from normal behavior by the severity and consistency of symptoms.
- Children between the ages of 6 and 12 usually show more obvious signs of ADHD than other age groups. School expectations can make symptoms more noticeable. For some children, school is the first setting where academic performance and socialization abilities are assessed. But it often is more difficult to detect ADHD when inattention is the primary symptom and the child is otherwise well-behaved. The presence of ADHD may be indicated by:
- Low grades or test scores, including achievement tests.
- Poor organization and study skills.
- Socialization problems and feeling rejected by peers.
- Dislike of school and frustration with school work.
- Teens between the ages of 13 and 18 may be in better control of disruptive behavior related to hyperactivity. Other problems that began in earlier years may continue or become worse when ADHD is not treated. Teens with inattention problems who previously managed to cope may start to fall behind in schoolwork. This is especially true when major changes occur, such as starting at a new school or going to college.
- Symptoms of ADHD in adults may not be as noticeable. Many adults with ADHD have not been diagnosed and treated. They can develop problems such as and difficulty maintaining a job.
There are several other conditions with symptoms similar to ADHD. For example, sometimes bipolar disorder and ADHD can be confused. It can be difficult to determine whether symptoms are caused by ADHD, another condition, or both.