ADHD is a chronic condition marked by persistent inattention, hyperactivity, and sometimes impulsivity. ADHD begins in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. About 30% to 50% of children with ADHD continue to have symptoms as adults.
Symptoms of ADHD can differ from person to person, but there are three basic types of ADHD. Each one is identified by some combination of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. When activity levels are normal or low, the type is usually called primarily inattentive. The symptoms of hyperactivity and possibly impulsiveness appear to diminish with age but are seen in the primarily hyperactive/impulsive type. The third type has some symptoms from each of the other two and is called the combined type.
The three types of ADHD symptoms include:
- Trouble paying attention (inattention). People with ADHD are easily distracted. They have a hard time focusing on any one task.
- Trouble sitting still for even a short time (hyperactivity). Children with ADHD may squirm, fidget, or run around at the wrong times. Teens and adults often feel restless and fidgety. They aren’t able to enjoy reading or other quiet activities.
- Acting before thinking (impulsivity). People with ADHD may talk too loud, laugh too loud, or become angrier than the situation calls for. Children may not be able to wait for their turn or to share. This makes it hard for them to play with other children. Teens and adults may make quick decisions that have a long-term impact on their lives. They may spend too much money or change jobs often.
These symptoms affect all people who have ADHD. But typical behavior varies by age.