Please be aware that some programs and video content are temporarily unavailable, as the CEMM transitions to a new website. This content will be available soon but if you have any questions or concerns please contact us here

Symptoms and Diagnoses


Dr. Jerman
Symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, are often hard to distinguish from normal developmental behaviors in children. But when symptoms persist for six months or more, ADHD may be diagnosed. Dr. Phillips, can you tell us more about the symptoms and diagnosis of ADHD?

Dr. Phillips
Certainly, Dr. Jerman. Individuals with ADHD display a persistent pattern of inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity that negatively impacts social, academic, and occupational activities.

Inattention can manifest as a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in work
  • Often has difficulty sustaining attention to tasks
  • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
  • Often does not follow through on instructions
  • Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
  • Often avoids tasks that require sustained mental effort
  • Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities
  • Is often easily distracted, and
  • Is often forgetful of daily activities

Likewise, hyperactivity-impulsivity may manifest in a number of ways, including:

  • Often fidgets with or taps hands or feet
  • Often leaves seat in situations where remaining seated is expected
  • In children, often runs around or climbs in situations where it is inappropriate. In adults, this may manifest as extreme restlessness.
  • Often unable to play or engage in leisure activities quietly
  • Is often "on the go" or unable to be still
  • Often talks excessively
  • Often blurts out an answer before a question has been completed
  • Often has difficulty waiting their turn, and
  • Often interrupts or intrudes on others

Because these symptoms may be caused by something other than ADHD, it's important to see a qualified mental health provider who can help determine the appropriate diagnosis and treatment.