There are 3 core symptoms of ADHD: inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. The following are examples of how ADHD symptoms may appear in adults.
Only a doctor or other trained health care professional can diagnose ADHD.
Only a doctor or other trained health care professional can diagnose ADHD
ADHD symptoms may affect adults at home, at work, or at school, and in social situations. For a diagnosis of ADHD to be made, symptoms must be present in two or more settings. Learn more about how ADHD is diagnosed.
ADHD symptoms in adults may be more subtle and less noticeable than those in children (ages 6–17). Although symptoms such as hyperactivity may be less apparent, they are just as important to identify. For example, symptoms of hyperactivity in children such as climbing or running excessively may appear in adults as a feeling of restlessness.
Below are some examples of how ADHD symptoms in kids (6–12), teens (13–17), and adults may appear differently:
Inattention:Kids may make careless mistakes in schoolwork, have difficulty remaining focused in class, and seem not to listen when spoken to directly.Hyperactivity & Impulsivity:Kids may often fidget or squirm, have trouble staying seated, have difficulty playing or working quietly, or blurt out answers in school.
Inattention:Teens may avoid homework and may be easily distracted by many things, including unrelated thoughts.Hyperactivity & Impulsivity:Teens may feel restless, have difficulty waiting their turn, use other people’s things without asking, and intrude or take over what others are doing.
Inattention:Adults may forget to keep appointments, pay bills, or return calls and avoid completing forms or reviewing paperwork.Hyperactivity & Impulsivity:Adults may feel restless, be uncomfortable being still, and frequently interrupt conversations or complete people’s sentences.
Please note: This is not a diagnostic tool. Only a trained health care professional can accurately diagnose and manage ADHD. Be sure to review the full list of ADHD symptoms and talk to your doctor.
Many people may occasionally experience inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, but may not necessarily have ADHD. ADHD is diagnosed based on specific criteria. The official criteria for a diagnosis of ADHD say that 5 or more inattentive symptoms and/or 5 or more hyperactive/impulsive symptoms (6 or more in people under the age of 17) must occur for at least 6 months. In addition:
Learn more about ADHD symptoms and ADHD diagnostic criteria.
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