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Symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

The main symptoms of ADHD are being inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive. Children may have one or more of these symptoms. It can cause problems at home, at school, and in social situations.

Problems may be:

  • Inattentive:
    • Easily distracted by sights and sounds
    • Does not pay attention to detail
    • Does not seem to listen when spoken to
    • Makes careless mistakes
    • Does not follow through on instructions or tasks
    • Avoids or dislikes activities that take a lot of time or mental effort
    • Loses or forgets things
    • Is forgetful in daily activities
    • Has problems organizing tasks
    • Puts a lot of focus on certain activities
    • Has difficulty with moving from one task to another
  • Hyperactive:
    • Is restless, fidgets, and squirms
    • Runs and climbs and is not able to stay seated
    • Has problems playing quietly
    • Talks more than his or her peers
  • Impulsive:
    • Answers before hearing an entire question
    • Interrupts others
    • Has problems waiting in line or waiting for a turn


  • About ADHD—overview. Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder website. Available at: https://chadd.org/about-adhd/overview. Accessed May 11, 2022.
  • ADHD. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/adhd.html. Accessed May 11, 2022.
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/condition/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd. Accessed May 11, 2022.
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd. Accessed May 11, 2022.
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd-in-children-and-adolescents. Accessed May 11, 2022.
  • Understanding ADHD: information for parents. Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/adhd/Pages/Understanding-ADHD.aspx. Accessed May 11, 2022.


  • Kari Kuenn, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.