The common symptoms of ADHD


ADHD symptoms vary from person to person, and can also be very different for men and women. Symptoms can also present quite different for children from adults.

You won't have all the symptoms. They can be very different for each individual person. It is a spectrum. What you are looking for is symptoms that you live with daily. Not ones that come and go. You might not experience every single one of them everyday but you will experience at least a handful of them every single day i.e time blindness or misplacing things.

When getting diagnosed, the Psychiatrist will also look for examples of the symptoms that you struggle with as an adult that you also had as a child, but probably wasn't even aware of it. In order to be diagnosed with ADHD symptoms need to have been present your whole life.

Here is a list of the most common symptoms for women, men and children:

  • Anxiety

  • Easily Distracted - Can't stay on task. Jumps from task to task without finishing any of them

  • Low tolerance for boredom

  • Memory issues

  • Poor time management / Time Blindness - Always running late, never having enough time to do anything

  • Never feeling like you are on top of anything

  • Always doing things last minute

  • Emotional dysregulation - going from 0 to 100 with any emotion, especially when feeling overwhelmed

  • Intrusive thoughts

  • Sleep issues - staying up knowing you need to go to bed because you're tired but but you still don't do it. Then complaining you are tired. Sometimes not being able to go to sleep because your mind is so busy. Waking up during the night and not being able to go back to sleep because your mind is too busy.

  • Have OCD tendencies - for some

  • Being messy - for some

  • People Pleasing - inability to say no and take on more than you should

  • Perfectionist

  • Masking with humour

  • Sometimes have excess energy you don't know what to do with

  • Pacing when on the phone/ not being able to stand or sit still. Always changing positions

  • Wiggling or shaking your foot, or tapping your fingers

  • Fidgeting with clothes, jewellery

  • Picking skin

  • Cracking fingers or neck or other parts of your body

  • Talking fast

  • Interrupting people when they are speaking

  • Unable to concentrate

  • Unable to follow verbal instructions

  • Unable to read long paragraphs of text, especially if it's boring ie Contracts

  • Daydream

  • Zone out while listening to someone talk

  • Feeling overwhelmed by paperwork/not being able to keep on top of paperwork

  • Forget to pay bills

  • Bad money management

  • Overspending

  • May drink too much alcohol or take drugs as a coping mechanism

Symptoms of Each ADHD Subtype

The symptoms of ADHD are spelled out in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), which lists nine symptoms that suggest ADHD–Primarily Inattentive and nine that suggest ADHD–Primarily Hyperactive/Impulsive. A child may be diagnosed with ADHD only if he or she exhibits at least six of nine symptoms from one of the lists below, and if the symptoms have been noticeable for at least six months in two or more settings — for example, at home and at school. Whats more, the symptoms must interfere with the childs functioning or development, and at least some of the symptoms must have been apparent before age 6. Older teens and adults may need to consistently demonstrate just five of these symptoms in multiple settings.

The subtypes were primarily based on overt behavioural symptoms, and ignored less visible symptoms like emotional dysregulation, cognitive patterns, and sleep difficulties. Behavioural symptoms imperfectly capture the defining features of ADHD. Non-behavioural characteristics are increasingly recognised in research and diagnosis.

The 9 Symptoms of ADHD – Primarily Inattentive Type

  • Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work, or during other activities (e.g., overlooks or misses details, work is inaccurate).

  • Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities (e.g., has difficulty remaining focused during lectures, conversations, or lengthy reading).

  • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly (e.g., mind seems elsewhere, even in the absence of any obvious distraction).

  • Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (e.g., starts tasks but quickly loses focus and is easily sidetracked).

  • Often has difficulty organising tasks and activities (e.g., difficulty managing sequential tasks; difficulty keeping materials and belongings in order; messy, disorganised work; has poor time management; fails to meet deadlines).

  • Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (e.g., schoolwork or homework; for older adolescents and adults, preparing reports, completing forms, reviewing lengthy papers).

  • Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., school materials, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, mobile telephones).

  • Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli (for older adolescents and adults, may include unrelated thoughts).

  • Is often forgetful in daily activities (e.g., doing chores, running errands; for older adolescents and adults, returning calls, paying bills, keeping appointments)

The 9 Symptoms of ADHD – Primarily Hyperactive-Impulsive Type

  • Often fidgets with or taps hands or feet or squirms in seat.

  • Often leaves seat in situations when remaining seated is expected (e.g., leaves his or her place in the classroom, in the office or other workplace, or in other situations that require remaining in place).

  • Often runs about or climbs in situations where it is inappropriate. (Note: In adolescents or adults, may be limited to feeling restless.)

  • Often unable to play or engage in leisure activities quietly.

  • Is often “on the go,” acting as if “driven by a motor” (e.g., is unable to be or uncomfortable being still for extended time, as in restaurants, meetings; may be experienced by others as being restless or difficult to keep up with).

  • Often talks excessively.

  • Often blurts out an answer before a question has been completed (e.g., completes peoples sentences; cannot wait for turn in conversation).

  • Often has difficulty waiting his or her turn (e.g., while waiting in line).

  • Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations, games, or activities; may start using other peoples things without asking or receiving permission; for adolescents and adults, may intrude into or take over what others are doing).”

Symptoms in Girls

Symptoms in Women