What are Symptoms of Hyperactivity?

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  • Written By: Cathy Rogers
  • Edited By: Sara Z. Potter
  • Last Modified Date: 12 October 2019
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Hyperactivity, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder as it is commonly referred to, is often first noticed in childhood. The main symptoms of hyperactivity include inattention, impulsivity and excessive activity. These symptoms can certainly surpass the childhood years and manifest themselves in teens and adults.

Inattention includes difficulty with being able to focus and organize, as well as inability to remember what is being presented or studied. A person with inattentive signs of hyperactivity finds it difficult to get started on tasks or to complete them. Monotonous tasks are especially difficult for those who suffer from inattention, but those tasks which are difficult and challenging might also be troublesome.

Impulsivity, another of the common symptoms of hyperactivity, causes those affected to speak or act before thinking a situation through. This symptom prevents a person from making wise decisions or solving problems effectively. It can also affect a person’s ability to create and maintain personal relationships, retain a job or spend money wisely.

A high level of physical activity, or hyperactivity itself, causes those who possess the behavior to talk a lot, squirm or fidget frequently, and have difficulty with activities that tend to be quiet or sedate. This excessive activity level often causes problems when children with signs of hyperactivity try to interact with children of an average activity level.


Because preschool aged children are likely to be inattentive and have a high activity level, it is difficult to diagnose hyperactivity at this age. With school aged children it is a little easier to discern problems because the symptoms of hyperactivity often interfere with schoolwork and social skills. Some common indicators of hyperactivity in a school aged child include or more of the following: issues with self-esteem, problems with grades or low test scores, a lack of organizational and study abilities, and socialization issues.

With teens, symptoms of hyperactivity are less likely to be disruptive. Stresses such as changing schools or beginning college might exacerbate hyperactivity symptoms in teens and young adults. Children and teens that are identified as hyperactive are often labeled as less mature than their peers. Adults with hyperactivity might be likely to have difficulty maintaining a job or relationships.

The diagnosis of hyperactivity is often made after a compilation of screenings, including a medical history, interview with the patient, physical examination and a behavioral screening, most often completed by the parents and teachers. Because there are other conditions that share the symptoms of hyperactivity, it is important for professionals to consider all the factors. Children who are gifted, undernourished or abused or neglected may exhibit symptoms similar to those related to hyperactivity. Other medical conditions, such as conduct disorder, depression and anxiety, as well as autism can produce similar symptoms.


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Post 4

Mutsy - You know there is a support group for families that have children with ADHD. It is called CHADD and they have chapters all over the country. The nice thing is that they have outings where children with ADHD can play with other children with ADHD and make friends.

Often children with symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are very impulsive and their energy level is too much for the typical child sometimes so they do suffer from a lot of rejection from other kids.

This group also has an online forum that allows parents to talk to other parents with children that have ADHD and discuss their challenges and things that work for them. When you realize that a whole lot of people are in the same boat as you it makes you feel better and you are in a better position to help your children.

Post 3

Sunshine31 - I am glad that you bring up that point because many teachers try to label children as having ADD or ADHD and they really should not be doing that because many of these kids are just being kids. I agree that the distinction is if they can complete their work. If they can focus long enough to complete their work then they are fine.

My daughter had a little girl in her class last year that had ADHD. She repeated third grade and was still having difficulty completing her work and often received bad grades. She also received a lot of referrals because of her impulsive nature.

Post 2

Crispety - Good for you. I have to add that while adults with ADD do develop coping mechanisims for dealing with the condition, it is a little harder for children.

ADHD in children should only be diagnosed by a pediatric neurologist. This is a complicated disorder because the symptoms of hyperactivity disorder can mirror many other conditions. A pediatric neurologist can perform a cat scan and determine if the brain waves match that of a typical patient with ADD.

Usually the biggest sign of ADHD is the inability to complete work on time which leads to failing grades. Children with ADD or ADHD have trouble focusing which is why their mind wander and they are unable to complete the

work given.

If a child is getting good grades and is a little active regardless of what the teacher may say he does not have ADD. It is when the child can not complete the work in the specified amount of time alloted that ADD might become a factor.

Post 1

I just wanted to say that I respectfully disagree with the notion that people with ADHD have difficulty holding jobs and having relationships.

My husband was diagnososed with ADHD as a child and is very successful in his career. He is a Vice President of an international logistics company and we have been married for eleven years.

Because of his add symptoms he is able to multi-task like no one else. He is able to accomplish a lot and is a very creative problem solver.

I think that one's attitude is more a reflection of one's potential success than an inhernet learning disablity is.

Adults living with ADD already understand the condition and know how to

cope with it. People in life succeed with all types of obstacles because they share a drive and ambition that makes their success possible.

For example, I saw a movie a few years ago about a medical student that was dyslexic and eventually became a doctor. I also saw a story on television about a man that was run over my a bus and became a marathon runner again.

I think that everyone has obstacles and those that don't let them get in the way achieve success and a better quality of life.

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