What Are ADHD Behaviors? Symptoms &Treatment

Medically Reviewed on 2/16/2022
What Are ADHD Behaviors
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) behaviors involve inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Learn about each group of symptoms

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) behaviors involve inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. While some children may display mostly symptoms of inattention, others may display mostly symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity. Still others may suffer all three types of symptoms.

Inattention

  • Find it difficult to maintain focus on activities or tasks
  • Lack organizational skills and find it difficult to arrange their things or manage their time
  • Do not pay attention to details and as a result may keep repeating the same mistakes and losing things
  • Easily distracted when people are speaking to them
  • Cannot follow instructions or are too wrapped up in their own thoughts

Hyperactivity

  • Cannot sit in their chair quietly or stand still for very long
  • Often fidgets or squirms
  • May leave their seat in the middle of a conversation or class
  • May interrupt people when talking
  • Have trouble waiting their turn
  • Find it hard to play quietly
  • Constantly on the go as if driven by a motor
  • May look extremely restless

Impulsivity

  • May act without thinking or have difficulty with self-control
  • May be impatient for immediate rewards
  • May interrupt others or make important decisions without thinking long-term

ADHD symptoms can be spotted as early as ages of 3-6 and often continue even as the child grows into adolescence and adulthood.

How is ADHD diagnosed?

Primary care physicians may refer children or adults suspected of having ADHD to a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist for an accurate diagnosis and further treatment.

A psychologist or a psychiatrist will conduct a thorough evaluation of the behavior, asking questions about symptoms of the affected person. Since some ADHD behaviors can be caused by other conditions such as stress, anxiety, and depression, these causes must be ruled out in order to reach a diagnosis of ADHD.

How is ADHD treated?

While up to 50% of children affected with ADHD will outgrow their symptoms, others may carry them into adulthood. There is no cure for ADHD, but medications, behavioral therapy, and other treatments may reduce symptoms and improve daily functioning.

  • Medications: Stimulants are the most commonly prescribed medications for ADHD. One example is Adderall, which is a combination of central nervous system (CNS) stimulants called amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Medications with CNS stimulants help improve focus and attention as well as help control behavioral issues.
  • Behavioral therapy: Behavioral therapy teaches the child to be aware of behavior patterns that are distracting to themselves and their peers. The therapist will teach the child social skills, such as waiting their turn, not interrupting other people’s conversations, and staying quiet during certain activities.
  • Parent management training (PMT): Parent management training is focused primarily on their parents, though children are involved in some sessions. Parents are taught to manage their children more effectively through modeling and role-playing.

QUESTION

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How parents can help their kids with ADHD

Parents can help their child with ADHD with the following measures:

  • Help your child organize their daily tasks and keep their belongings in designated places.
  • Offer rewards such as taking them to the park or words of appreciation when your child makes improvements
  • Emphasize to your child why completing assignments is so important.
  • Enforce time-out breaks when your child does not follow instructions or rules.
  • Avoid overreacting to tantrums.
  • Connect with support groups that include other parents who are dealing with kids suffering from ADHD.
  • Manage stress and lead a healthy lifestyle to help you avoid getting frustrated with your child.

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Medically Reviewed on 2/16/2022
References
Image Source: iStock Images

Soreff S. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Medscape. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/289350-overview

Harvard Health Publishing. 5 things parents and teachers need to know about ADHD. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/5-things-parents-and-teachers-need-to-know-about-adhd-2017102712643