ADHD Signs and Symptoms

by | Jan 16, 2017 | ADHD Basics | 0 comments

Here is a list of signs which may indicate you or someone you know has ADHD. Note that some of these symptoms appear to directly contradict each other. The contradictory nature of ADHD is part of what sometimes makes it difficult to diagnose.

  • Easily distracted, often by things of little importance (including thoughts.)
  • Ability to hyperfocus when interested in something. During long stretches of hyper-focus, may forget to eat, drink, or use the restroom.
  • Forgetfulness.
  • Uncanny ability to recall certain facts.
  • Love to start new projects in areas of interest but struggle to complete them.
  • Dislike starting new projects when there are too many moving parts or too much planning involved.
  • Trouble planning ahead.
  • Trouble learning from past mistakes.
  • Disorganization in most, but not necessarily all, areas of life. This ability to “occasionally organize” often leads others to assume he/she is simply lazy or a slob.
  • Impulsive, spontaneous behavior.
  • Highly creative.
  • Trouble applying creativity in useful ways.
  • Inability to sit still.
  • Feeling of restlessness or being driven by a motor.
  • Many passionate interests, hobbies, or desires
  • Addictive behaviors (overeating, overdrinking, gambling, shopping, sex, etc)
  • Frequent procrastination
  • Tenderhearted, compassionate, and forgiving of others.
  • Extremely negative toward and hard on him/herself.
  • Impatience when waiting in line or for another person to finish speaking.
  • Periods of high-intensity thinking, speaking, or acting.
  • Periods of confusion and foggy brain.
  • Tendency to lose things.
  • Low tolerance for frustration, leading to explosive fits of anger. Often, this anger cools quite quickly.
  • Low tolerance for boredom, leading to evasive or destructive behavior.
  • Child-like sense of wonder
  • Often worries unnecessarily
  • Often careless about important matters
  • Off-the-wall sense of humor
  • Poor ability to judge the time that a task will require.
  • Racing thoughts, even when trying to relax.
  • Poor sleep habits.
  • Poor self-evaluation skills.
  • Tendency to reject help from others.
  • Feels emotions strongly.
  • The presence of one or more additional learning disabilities or mental disorders. ADHD has a high comorbidity rate. Common disorders include: dyslexia, depression, anxiety, OCD, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Bi-polar disorder, and others.
  • Constantly being told to “apply him/herself,” “try harder,” or “just do it.”
  • Often knows what he/she SHOULD do, but cannot make him/herself do it.
  • Feeling of not living up to potential.
  • Trouble with tedious tasks that require a great deal of detail-work (reports, forms, etc.)
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships. Is often seen as selfish, immature, uncaring, and reckless.
  • Spouse or romantic partner may assume a “parent” roll in order to “get things done.” This person is often seen as someone who controls, nags, and attacks, leading to evasive or defensive behavior.
  • Report cards and reviews often state that he/she is “underperforming”
  • Feeling of overwhelm and hopelessness when thinking of everything he/she is “supposed” to do.


Whew. That was a long post, folks. I’m not sure how you made it this far (though I would guess you either don’t have ADHD, have it and are super interested, or have it and skipped over a bunch of stuff). But since you did, know this: I could keep going. There are many more subtle signs of ADHD, many more seemingly unrelated effects. If you see yourself or someone you love reflected here, it may be time to seek some professional help.

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