Symptoms and types of Adult ADD/ADHD

March 16, 2016

When you think of ADHD, you may picture a “hyper” child who runs around and cannot sit still, play quietly, or pay attention in school. Adults with ADHD also have trouble with attention, focus, and impulsivity, but these symptoms play out in other ways.

An adult with ADHD may have trouble meeting deadlines or finishing tasks. They may forget appointments or social commitments. For adults with ADHD, it’s harder to organize projects and prioritize tasks.

Other symptoms include being forgetful, getting easily distracted, and making careless mistakes. Also, people with ADHD may feel restless, have trouble relaxing, or feel on edge much of the time. They may squirm or fidget, talk too much, or have trouble waiting for their turn.

Like children with ADHD, adults also have trouble controlling their impulses. That is, they don’t always think before they speak or act. For example, people with ADHD may tend to interrupt people when they’re talking or answer questions before other people asking the questions have finished talking.

When it comes to ADD / ADHD, no one diagnosis or treatment fits all. Everyone is different. The American Psychiatric Association has identified three types. Each has different symptoms, and treatments are based on those symptoms.

  1. Inattentive Type: A person with this type must have at least six of these nine symptoms, and very few of the symptoms of hyperactive-impulsive type:

    • Not paying attention to detail
    • Making careless mistakes
    • Failing to pay attention and keep on task
    • Not listening
    • Being unable to follow or understand instructions
    • Avoiding tasks that involve effort
    • Being distracted
    • Being forgetful
    • Losing things that are needed to complete tasks
  2. Hyperactive-Impulsive Type: To have this type, a person has to have at least six of these nine symptoms, and very few of the symptoms of inattentive type:
    • Fidgeting
    • Squirming
    • Getting up often when seated
    • Hyperactivity at inappropriate times
    • Having trouble remaining quiet
    • Talking too much
    • Talking out of turn or blurting out
    • Interrupting
    • Often “on the go” as if “driven by a motor”
  3. Combined Type: This is the most common type of ADHD. People with it have symptoms of both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive types.