Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

The attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders are characterized by prominent symptoms of inattention or impulsivity that are maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level.

Symptoms of inattention include:

  • inability to pay attention to details;
  • pattern of careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities;
  • difficulty sustaining attention in tasks;
  • inability to follow through on instructions and difficulty finishing schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace;
  • difficulty organizing tasks and activities;
  • avoidance or reluctance in engaging in tasks that require sustained mental effort;
  • often losing things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools);
  • being easily distracted by extraneous stimuli;
  • often forgetful in daily activities

Symptoms of hyperactivity/impulsivity include:

  • being fidgety with hands or feet or squirming in seat;
  • often leaving seat in classroom or workplace;
  • running about or climbing excessively in inappropriate situations; in adults this symptom may be manifested by subjective feelings of restlessness;
  • difficulty in playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly;
  • often being "on the go" or acting as if "driven by a motor"
  • talking excessively;
  • blurting out answers before questions have been completed;
  • difficulty awaiting turn;
  • interrupting or intruding on others (e.g., inserting self into conversations or games)

To meet criteria for ADHD, symptoms must have been present before age 7 years and impairment must have been present in two or more settings (e.g., at school or work and home), with clear evidence of significant impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning.