Hyperactivity is a state of excess activity that may be manifested by symptoms such as
- nervousness, or
- excessive movement.
It is often accompanied by difficulty concentrating or focusing on a task, excessive talking, or difficulty remaining quiet in school. However, it is important to distinguish true hyperactivity from the active and impulsive behaviors exhibited by normal children.
The hallmark condition associated with hyperactivity and difficulty concentrating is attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a condition that has been increasingly diagnosed in both children and adults in recent years. It is hard to diagnose in toddlers but is often apparent by school age. Rare conditions that affect the brain, some emotional problems, certain medications and drugs, as well as endocrinologic disturbances can also affect an individual's activity level and may at times contribute to hyperactivity.
Other causes of hyperactivity
- Conduct Disorder
- Emotional Distress
- Mental Disorders
- Substance Abuse
Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
ADHD in Children: Better Parenting
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common disorder seen in children. Parents can learn tips and techniques to...
ADHD Symptoms in Children
What is ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)? Learn to recognize ADHD symptoms in children.
ADHD/ADD in Adults: Symptoms & Treatments in Pictures
Most people don't associate adults with the term ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) but it is a common disorder in...
Adult ADHD Quiz: Symptoms & Test
What are the symptoms of adult ADHD? Take this quiz to learn what it means for an adult to suffer from ADHD and what can be done...
Adult ADHD: Organization and Time-Management Tips in Pictures
Learn daily living tips for adult ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). If you have ADHD or you just need to get...
Bipolar Disorder (Mania) Quiz: Test Your Emotional Wellness IQ
Who is at risk for developing bipolar disorder? Are you? Take this Bipolar Disorder Quiz to learn more about bipolar disorder, if...
Bipolar Disorder: Symptoms, Testing for Bipolar Depression
Bipolar disorder (once called manic depression) causes extreme mood shifts and can be disorienting. Our experts define bipolar...
Childhood ADHD Quiz: Test, Symptoms & Medication
Find out causes, symptoms, and treatments for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a widespread behavioral condition...
Diet for Stress Management: Carbs, Nuts, and Other Stress-Relief Foods
While there are many ways to cope with stress, one strategy is to eat stress-fighting foods. Find out which foods to eat as part...
Stress Quiz: Test Your Emotional IQ
Stress creeps into everyone's life at one time or another, while some people will suffer from poorly managed chronic stress. If...
Causes of Hyperactivity
Adult ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
About 2%-6% of adults have ADHD, a common behavioral problem. Symptoms include impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattention. Treatment may involve ADHD education, attending a support group, skills training, and medication.
Alcoholism is a disease that includes alcohol craving and continued drinking despite repeated alcohol-related problems, such as losing a job or getting into trouble with the law. It can cause myriad health problems, including cirrhosis of the liver, birth defects, heart disease, stroke, psychological problems, and dementia. Counseling and a few medications can be effective for alcoholism treatment.
Antisocial Personality Disorder
Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) has many symptoms, signs, and causes. Therapy is one treatment option for antisocial personality disorder. It is closely related to other personality disorders (PD), such as borderline personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Teens
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in teens is a disruption of neurocognitive functioning. Genetics contribute to ADHD. Symptoms of ADHD in teens include inattention, hyperactivity/impulsivity, or a combination of these. Treatment may include cognitive behavioral therapy, behavior therapy, medication, or alternative therapies.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (In Children and Adults)
Autism in children and adults is a developmental disorder, characterized by impaired development in communication, social interaction, and behavior. Autism is classified as a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), which is part of a broad spectrum of developmental disorders affecting young children and adults. There are numerous theories and studies about the cause of autism. The treatment model for autism is an educational program that is suitable to an individual's developmental level of performance. There is no "cure" for autism.
Bipolar disorder (or manic depression) is a mental illness characterized by depression, mania, and severe mood swings. Treatment may incorporate mood-stabilizer medications, antidepressants, and psychotherapy.
Bipolar Disorder in Children and Teens
Bipolar disorder, or manic-depressive illness, is a disorder that causes unusual and extreme mood changes. Symptoms of bipolar disorder in children and teens include having trouble concentrating, behaving in risky ways, and losing interest in activities they once enjoyed. Treatment for bipolar disorder in children and teenagers incorporates psychotherapy and medications.
Brain Tumor (Symptoms, Signs, Types, Causes, Survival Rates)
A brain tumor can be either non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant), primary, or secondary. Common symptoms of a primary brain tumor are headaches, seizures, memory problems, personality changes, and nausea and vomiting. Causes and risk factors include age, gender, family history, and exposure to chemicals. Treatment is depends upon the tumor type, grade, and location.
Cerebral palsy (CP) is an abnormality of motor function and postural tone acquired at an early age (even before birth). Cerebral palsy is generally caused by brain trauma. Types of cerebral palsy include: spastic, dyskinetic (dystonic or choreoathetoid), hypotonic, and mixed types. There is no cure for cerebral palsy, and treatment is generally managing the symptoms of the condition.
Childhood ADD or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children)
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) causes the following symptoms in children: excessive activity, problems concentrating, and difficulty controlling impulses. There are three types of ADHD: the predominately inattentive type, the predominately hyperactive/impulsive type, and the combined (inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive) type. Stimulant medications are the most common medication used to treat ADHD.
Depression is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. The principal types of depression are major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disease (also called manic-depressive disease).
Drug addiction is a chronic disease that causes drug-seeking behavior and drug use despite negative consequences to the user and those around him. Though the initial decision to use drugs is voluntary, changes in the brain caused by repeated drug abuse can affect a person's self-control and ability to make the right decisions and increase the urge to take drugs. Drug abuse and addiction are preventable.
Hyperthyroidism is an excess of thyroid hormone due to an overactive thyroid gland. Symptoms can include increased heart rate, weight loss, heart palpitations, frequent bowel movements, depression, fatigue, fine or brittle hair, sleep problems, thinning skin, and irregular vaginal bleeding. Graves' disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. Many other health problems or taking excess thyroid hormone medication can cause an overactive thyroid gland. Treatment for the condition is with medication, radioactive iodine, thyroid surgery (rarely), or reducing the dose of thyroid hormone. No diet has been shown to treat hyperthyroidism or its symptoms and signs.
Mental Illness in Children
About 5 million children and adolescents in the U.S. suffer from a serious mental illness such as eating disorders, anxiety disorders, disruptive behavior disorders, pervasive development disorders, elimination disorders, learning disorders, schizophrenia, tic disorders, and mood disorders. Symptoms of mental illness include frequent outbursts of anger, hyperactivity, fear of gaining weight, excessive worrying, frequent temper tantrums, and hearing voices that aren't there. Treatment may involve medication, psychotherapy, and creative therapies.
Microcephaly is a genetic condition where the circumference of the head is smaller than normal due to underdeveloped brain. Microcephaly is caused by genetic abnormalities, abuse of alcohol or drugs, infection (for example, Zika virus, German measles, or chickenpox), exposure to toxins, or PKU while the mother is pregnant. Symptoms of microcephaly depend upon the severity of the accompanying syndrome. There is no treatment for microcephaly.
Parenting a Child With ADHD
ADHD is a behavioral condition with characteristics that include hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity. Parenting a child with ADHD presents a variety of challenges. Treatment options for children with ADHD include medication and behavioral therapy.
Stress occurs when forces from the outside world impinge on the individual. Stress is a normal part of life. However, over-stress, can be harmful. There is now speculation, as well as some evidence, that points to the abnormal stress responses as being involved in causing various diseases or conditions.
Examples of Medications for Hyperactivity
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter