ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder): Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

While inattention and hyperactivity are the cardinal symptoms of ADHD, a number of other symptoms are contained within the diagnostic criteria for this condition and are typical for those with ADHD.

Symptoms related to inattention include

  • trouble paying attention in school or work,
  • the appearance of not listening,
  • failing to complete assigned tasks,
  • avoidance of activities that require sustained focus,
  • losing things, and
  • being easily distracted.

Symptoms related to hyperactivity include

  • restlessness,
  • fidgeting,
  • interrupting,
  • frequent talking,
  • intrusiveness,
  • trouble paying attention, and
  • trying to do multiple things at once.

Children and adults with ADHD may also have symptoms like

  • insomnia,
  • low tolerance for frustration,
  • poor self-image,
  • forgetfulness,
  • disorganization,
  • mood swings, and
  • "hyperfocus," a tendency to intensely focus on one task or event that precludes focus on other necessary tasks.

Cause of ADHD

Medical professionals do not understand the exact cause of ADHD. It is likely that both genetic (inherited) factors as well as environmental influences play a role in its development.

Other symptoms and signs of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

  • Avoidance of Activities Involving Sustained Focus
  • Decreased Awareness of Consequences
  • Decreased Motivation
  • Disorganization
  • Fidgeting
  • Forgetfulness
  • Frequent Talking
  • Hyperactivity
  • Hyperfocus
  • Impulsivity
  • Inattention
  • Insomnia
  • Interrupting
  • Intrusiveness
  • Mood Swings
  • Poor Self-Image
  • Procrastination
  • Restlessness
  • Trouble Completing Assigned Tasks
  • Trouble Concentrating
  • Trouble Prioritizing
  • Trouble Waiting One's Turn

Soreff, Stephen. "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder." April 22, 2019. <>.


The abbreviated term ADHD denotes the condition commonly known as: See Answer

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Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019
Soreff, Stephen. "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder." April 22, 2019. <>.