When doctors diagnose ADHD, they evaluate the patient using a number of criteria or symptoms. These are as follows:
1) Temper tantrums
ADHD patients, particularly children, often have trouble controlling their emotions. For example, they often exhibit outbursts of emotional anger, or temper tantrums when they’re asked to wait their turn in group activities or when playing with others.
Child and adult patients with ADHD are often associated with having trouble sitting still, which means they’re often restless, antsy, and fidgety when forced to be quiet and still.
3) Interrupting and self-focusing
Children with ADHD will often exhibit self-focused behaviour early on, which makes them less inclined to recognize the needs of others around them. For instance, children with ADHD are prone to cutting others off mid-sentence or inserting themselves into the conversations and activities of others without any concern for their feelings.
While many associate adult and child patients with ADHD with loud and boisterous behaviour, it’s not always the case. In fact, many individuals are prone to quiet daydreaming, which causes them to seem distracted and uninvolved, as opposed to rowdy and noisy.
5) Prone to mistakes and forgetfulness
Patients with ADHD have difficulty focusing and retaining information, as a result of which, following through on homework and group planning may be difficult. In fact, when asked to complete projects, they may be turned in incomplete or full of mistakes.
6) Inability to focus
Focus is often difficult for individuals with ADHD, when it comes to paying attention to a task or a person speaking to them. ADHD patients may be unable to focus on projects, reading, one-on-one conversations, or chores, and become distracted easily and unable to retain information. They may avoid tasks and activities that demand focus and attention because of this.
Patients with ADHD are often associated with forgetfulness, that causes them to be considered unreliable. However, it’s the complexity of ADHD that causes them to have trouble retaining details, dates, times, and even to misplace important objects.
8) Multiple symptoms, in multiple settings
Doctors will often use the aforementioned symptoms as criteria to diagnose a patient with ADHD. This means that several symptoms or behaviors must be present (i.e., lack of focus, antsy, prone to interruption, emotional outbursts, trouble completing the task at hand, etc.) in order for an ADHD diagnosis. In addition, these symptoms are often present in multiple settings (i.e, at work/school and at home).
The symptoms mentioned above are the symptoms commonly associated with ADHD. However, the symptoms of ADHD are further categorized depending on the two main types – Inattentive and Hyperactivity/Impulsiveness. If a child has the Combined Type of ADHD, at least six of the symptoms associated with these two types must be present. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, at least six or more symptoms of ADHD must be present, to determine which type of the condition one has. The main signs specifically associated with each of the two major types of ADHD, are as listed below:
Inattentive Type Symptoms
- Forgetful in daily activities.
- Distracted easily by extraneous stimuli.
- Loses things easily.
- Reluctant, dislikes, or avoids taking part in activities that require sustained mental effort (such doing assignments).
- Portray difficulties in organizing tasks and activities.
- Difficulty in following orders and instructions (not due to failure to understand the orders or instructions).
- Doesn’t seem to engage in conversations, even when addressed directly.
- Difficulty sustaining attention when addressed or taking part in tasks and activities.
- Fails to give close attention to details (tend to make simple/careless mistakes in work or homework).
Hyperactive-Impulsive Type Symptoms
- Minimal or no sense of danger.
- Tends to interrupt conversations.
- Acts without thinking.
- Don’t wait their turn.
- Likes to talk excessively.
- Unnecessary physical movement.
- Finds it difficult to concentrate on one task.
- Constantly portrays playfulness.
- Unable to sit still even in quiet or calm surroundings or situations.
These symptoms can cause considerable problems to your child’s life; such as problems with discipline, poor social interaction, and underachievement in school. For adults, ADHD can also cause significant problems in one’s life. And although an adult can portray the same symptoms as children, some of their symptoms are more difficult to define due to a lack of sufficient research in that area.
It is believed that by the age of 25, about 15% of those diagnosed with childhood ADHD will have full range symptoms as adults. According to National Health Service, 65% of adults with ADHD have some symptoms that considerably affect their daily lives. Some studies have identified ADHD symptoms that are predominantly evident in adult patients. They include:
- Portray little or no regard to personal safety (often take risks).
- Show extreme impatience.
- Are unable to deal with stress.
- Portray excessive mood swings, quick temper, and are highly irritable.
- Often interrupt others.
- Show edginess and restlessness.
- Are highly forgetful.
- Portray an inability to prioritize or focus on a particular task or activity.
- Continually misplace or lose things.
- Have poor organizational skills.
- Have a habit of starting new tasks before finalizing old ones.
- Lack of attention to details.
- Are often careless.