There are three patterns of behavior that indicate ADHD. People with ADHD may show several symptoms of being consistently inattentive. They may show symptoms of being hyperactive and impulsive far more than others of their age. They may also show all three types of behavior.
There are three subtypes of ADHD recognized by professionals based on symptoms of ADHD. These types are:
- Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type (that does not show significant inattention)
- Predominantly inattentive type (that does not show significant hyperactive-impulsive behavior), sometimes called ADD -- an outdated term for this entire disorder
- Combined type (that displays both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms).
Progression of ADHD SymptomsSymptoms of ADHD typically appear over the course of many months, often with the symptoms of impulsiveness and hyperactivity preceding those of inattention, which may not emerge for a year or more.
Different symptoms of ADHD may appear in different settings, depending on the demands the situation may pose for the child's self-control. A child who "can't sit still" or is otherwise disruptive will be noticeable in school, but the inattentive daydreamer may be overlooked. The impulsive child who acts before thinking may be considered just a "discipline problem," while the child who is passive or sluggish may be viewed as merely unmotivated. Yet both may have different types of ADHD.
What Are Not ADHD Symptoms?All children are sometimes restless, sometimes act without thinking, and sometimes daydream the time away. When the child's hyperactivity, distractibility, poor concentration, or impulsivity begin to affect performance in school, social relationships with other children, or behavior at home, ADHD may be suspected. Because ADHD symptoms vary so much across settings, however, ADHD may not be easy to diagnose. This is especially true when inattentiveness is the primary symptom.
Because many normal children may have these possible symptoms, but at a low level (or the symptoms may be caused by another disorder), it is important that the child receive a thorough examination and appropriate ADHD diagnosis by a well-qualified professional.