Do I Have ADHD?

Reviewed on 1/24/2022

An array of fidget spinners
If you have ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), you may have symptoms or behaviors that fall under the categories of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention.

ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a common neurodevelopmental disorder of childhood characterized by symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Symptoms of ADHD, previously called attention deficit disorder, or ADD, include hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention), and may persist into adulthood.

You may have ADHD if symptoms are present such as: 

  • Hyperactivity
    • Excessive fidgeting or squirming
    • Restlessness 
    • Excessive talking
    • Difficulty playing quietly
    • Difficulty remaining seated 
  • Impulsivity
    • Acting impulsively 
      • Spending money
      • Diving into new activities 
      • Changing plans
      • Getting sexually involved
  • Difficulty waiting turns
  • Disruptive classroom behavior
  • Intruding on or interrupting others' activities
  • Difficulty getting along with others/rejection by classmates
  • Taking unnecessary risks
  • Carelessness
  • Being accident-prone
  • Difficulty resisting temptation
  • Being easily frustrated 
  • Saying and doing things without thinking 
  • Overdoing things
    • Drinking too much
    • Compulsive shopping
    • Overworking
    • Overeating
  • Inattention
    • Being easily distracted
    • Inability to concentrate
    • Disorganization
    • Making careless mistakes
    • Lack of attention to detail
    • Forgetfulness
    • Losing or misplacing things
    • Underachievement in school
    • Poor follow-through with assignments or tasks
    • Daydreaming
    • Procrastination
    • Being easily bored
    • Inability to complete projects
    • Needing a lot of stimulation 

There is no single test used to diagnose ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Other conditions that can have similar symptoms must first be ruled out and testing may include a medical exam and hearing and vision tests.

American Psychiatric Association diagnostic criteria for ADHD includes:

  • Symptoms must persist for at least six months
  • Symptoms must be present in more than one setting (e.g., school and home)
  • Symptoms must impair function in academic, social, or occupational activities
  • Symptoms must be present before the age of 12 years
  • Symptoms must be excessive for the age of the child
  • Other mental disorders that could account for the symptoms must be excluded

What Is the Treatment for ADHD?

Treatment for ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), is usually a combination of behavior therapy and medication. Medications do not cure ADHD, and behavioral treatments are usually needed to help a child learn to follow rules, stay motivated, and work well with others.

Behavioral treatments are recommended for preschool-aged children before medications are prescribed. School-aged children with ADHD usually do well with a stimulant medicine plus behavioral treatments and counseling if needed. 

Medications used to treat ADHD include: 

Behavioral treatments for ADHD include:

  • Maintaining a schedule
  • Setting reachable and clear goals
  • Providing specific places for the child to keep school work, toys, and clothes
  • Keeping distractions to a minimum
  • Rewarding positive behavior 
  • Limiting choices
  • Using charts and checklists to help the child stay focused on the task at hand
  • Taking physical activity breaks during tasks that require attention
  • Finding activities such as sports or hobbies where the child can be successful 
  • Using calm discipline such as time outs, distractions, or removing the child from the situation


Who is at greater risk for developing ADHD? See Answer

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Reviewed on 1/24/2022
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