ADHD Home > ADHD Symptoms

Symptoms of hyperactivity include:
  • Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
  • Often gets up from seat when remaining in seat is expected
  • Often runs about or climbs when and where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may feel very restless)
  • Often has trouble playing or enjoying leisure activities quietly
  • Is often "on the go" or often acts as if "driven by a motor"
  • Often talks excessively.
Children with symptoms of hyperactivity always seem to be "on the go" or constantly in motion. They dash around touching or playing with whatever is in sight, or talk incessantly. Sitting still at dinner or during a school lesson or story can be a difficult task. They squirm and fidget in their seats or roam around the room. They may wiggle their feet, touch everything, or noisily tap their pencil.
Teenagers or adults with ADHD symptoms of hyperactivity may feel internally restless. They often report needing to stay busy and may try to do several things at once.
The DSM-IV-TR gives these symptoms of impulsivity:
  • Often blurts out answers before questions have been finished
  • Often has trouble waiting one's turn
  • Often interrupts or intrudes on others (for example, butts in to conversations or games)
  • Some symptoms that cause impairment were present before the age of seven
  • Some impairment from the symptoms is present in two or more settings (for example at school/work and at home)
  • There must be clear evidence of significant impairment in social, school, or work functioning
  • The symptoms do not happen only during the course of a pervasive developmental disorder, schizophrenia, or other psychotic disorder; the symptoms are not better accounted for by another mental disorder (for example, mood disorder, anxiety disorder, dissociative disorder, or a personality disorder).
Children with ADHD symptoms of impulsivity seem unable to curb their immediate reactions or think before they act. They will often blurt out inappropriate comments, display their emotions without restraint, and act without regard for the later consequences of their conduct. Their impulsivity may make it hard for them to wait for things they want or to take their turn in games. They may grab a toy from another child or hit when they're upset.
Teenagers or adults with ADHD symptoms of impulsivity may choose to do things that have an immediate but small payoff rather than engage in activities that may take more effort yet provide much greater but delayed rewards.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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