Symptoms of ADHD
DSM-IV Criteria for ADHD
Either A or B:
A. Six or more of the following symptoms of inattention have been present for at least 6 months to a point that is disruptive and inappropriate for developmental level:
- Often does not give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
- Often has trouble keeping attention on task or play activities.
- Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
- Often does not follow instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions).
- Often has trouble organizing activities.
- Often avoids, dislikes or doesn’t want to do things that take a lot of mental effort for a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework).
- Often loses things needed for tasks and activities (e.g. toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools).
- Is often easily distracted.
- Is often forgetful in daily activities.
B. Six or more of the following symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have been present for at least 6 months to an extent that is disruptive and inappropriate for developmental level:
- Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat.
- Often gets up from seat when remaining in seat is expected.
- Often runs about or climbs when and where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may feel very restless).
- Often has trouble playing or enjoying leisure activities quietly.
- Is often “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor.”
- Often talks excessively.
- Often blurts out answers before questions have been finished.
- Often has trouble waiting one’s turn.
- Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversation or games).
- Some symptoms that cause impairment were present before age 7 years.
- Some impairment from the symptoms is present in two or more settings (e.g., at school/work and at home).
- There must be clear evidence of significant impairment in social, school, or work functioning.
The symptoms do not happen only during the course of a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, schizophrenia, or other psychotic disorder. The symptoms are not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g., Mood Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Dissociative Disorder, or a Personality Disorder).
Based on these criteria, three types of ADHD are identified:
- ADHD, Combined Type: if both criteria 1A and 1B are met for the past 6 months.
- ADHD, Predominantly Inattentive Type: if criterion 1A is met but criterion 1B is not met for the past six months.
- ADHD, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type: if Criterion 1B Is met but Criterion 1A is not met for the past six months.
American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000.
*These symptoms are listed for reference only. A diagnosis can and should be made by consulting a physician and a thorough examination completed.