Attention Deficit Disorder Symptoms: Signs of ADD and ADHD in Children and Adults

ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) are among the most common childhood and adult behavior disorders. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, being able to control behavior and also overactive behavior.

Symptoms of ADD and ADHD

The most typical behaviors associated with ADHD and ADD are hyperactivity, inability to pay attention and impulsive behavior. All children exhibit some of these behaviors from time to time, but for children and adults with true ADD and ADHD, the behaviors are frequent and more severe.

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Attention Problems

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, people with symptoms of attention problems may exhibit:

  • Being distracted easily
  • Switching activities frequently
  • Becoming bored
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Taking longer to process information
  • Appearing to daydream
  • Not listening
  • Not able to follow instructions

Hyperactivity Problems

  • Constant fidgeting
  • Not able to sit still
  • Excessive talking

Problems with Impulsive Behavior

  • Frequent interrupting
  • Impatience
  • Trouble waiting
  • Seeming Inability to understand consequences

Things to Keep in Mind When Considering Symptoms of ADD and ADHD

Many times ADHD and ADD go undiagnosed because the behaviors are attributed to “bad” behavior or discipline problems. The typical symptoms that are associated with ADHD are not always present for everyone with the disorder. Children and adults can have ADD and still be able to sit quietly for long periods of time while they work, or appear to work. However, their mind may be on many different things and they may be having trouble focusing.

Because many people with ADHD have trouble interacting or with appropriate social behaviors, a child who gets along well with peers may be mistakenly overlooked as potentially having ADD. Children and adults with ADHD may be able to behave appropriately but still have difficulty with attention.

Diagnosing ADD

A diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is not made lightly. Doctors usually conduct multiple tests, including psychological assessments, neurological and physical exams. Traditional guidelines require that a child or adult present symptoms for at least six months. Age appropriate behavior is also taken into consideration.

OneADDplace has an online behavior assessment that can be used to help determine whether or not ADD or ADHD may be a factor in a child or adult’s behavior. The site cautions that the assessment not be considered a tool for self-diagnosis, but can be a checklist to discuss with a doctor or health care practitioner.

Treatment Options for ADD and ADHD

Treatment plans for Attention Disorders are very individualized but can be very successful when a combination of medication, psychological and other therapies are used together. Medications can include stimulating and non-stimulating drugs. Behavior modification is one of the frequent and successful forms of psychological therapy used for treating ADHD. Alternative treatment may include homeopathy, nutritional intervention, biofeedback and yoga and meditation.

Close monitoring and cooperation between doctors, teachers, therapists, parents and spouses and other family members during treatment offers the best chance for success in treating ADHD and ADD.

Understanding the different types of symptoms of Attention Disorders is one of the key factors in getting a proper diagnosis and treatment.