There are three main types of ADHD symptoms: inattentive, hyperactive,
impulsive, or combined-type. These three main symptom types describe the
primary behavioral aspects of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
The condition is diagnosed based on the criteria listed in the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders (DSM) used by mental health professionals to diagnose mental health conditions.
While many children tend more toward one category than the other, most children have some combination of inattention and hyperactive-impulsive behavior, known as combined type (Centers for Disease Control, 2006).
ADHD symptoms often become more apparent during activities that require focus or mental effort and tend to appear prior to age 7.
In some children, however, the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are noticeable much earlier. For example, the condition can be evident as early as pre-school, kindergarten, or the first grade.
Symptoms of ADHD Inattention include difficulty following instructions, difficulty focusing attention on work or play activities, frequently losing things, appearing not to listen, and not paying attention to details.
Others signs of ADHD include trouble with tasks that require planning ahead, forgetting things, easily distracted, problems organizing tasks and activities, failing to finish schoolwork or chores, and avoiding tasks that require mental focus and mental effort.
Hyperactive symptoms include: Fidgeting, squirming, running or climbing excessively or inappropriately, difficulty playing quietly, talking too much, always on the go, displaying trouble waiting his or her turn, difficulty remaining seated, constantly feeling of restless, and excessive talking.
Impulsive symptoms include blurting out answers to questions, difficulty waiting for his or her turn, interrupting or intrudes on others' conversations or games, and engaging in risky behavior.
ADHD affects boys at three times the rate of girls, but it may be underdiagnosed in girls. Also, ADHD typically manifests differently in boys than girls. Boys are more likely to be hyperactive, whereas girls tend to be inattentive.
Inattentive girls typically present as “daydreamers” but inattentive boys are more likely to fiddle or play aimlessly. Boys tend to be less compliant with teachers and other adults therefore their behavior is often more conspicuous (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2006).
ADHD symptoms in adults are divided into three groups: Inattention, Hyperactivity, and Impulsivity according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. One can suffer from one group or a combination of all of them. Symptoms usually manifest early in life, particularly when one enters the school system, and usually continue into adulthood.
Individuals who suffer from the inattentive-type have difficulty staying focused and attending to everyday tasks. Such adults are easily distracted, shift from one activity to another, and become bored easily. They often appear forgetful and exhibit challenges with respect to organization, task completion, time-management, and may frequently lose or misplace items. In short, they are very disorganized.
Individuals with hyperactive-type exhibit excessive levels of physical or verbal activity. They always appear to be in constant motion and have difficulty keeping still. They often experience restlessness and may talk excessively, interrupt others, and monopolize conversations.
Individuals with impulsive-type ADD often act and speak before thinking and without considering consequences. They may blurt out insensitive remarks, or rush through work assignments without following instructions which results in carelessness. The lack of impulsive control sometimes places them in risky situations and makes them more prone to problem gambling and other addictions.