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Understanding ADHD

Understanding ADHD

4. ADHD symptoms

ADHD is an unseen neurodevelopmental disorder: NEURO because the ADHD brain is inefficient, and DEVELOPMENTAL because the brain makes it more difficult for individuals to gain control over their behaviour.

The profile of symptoms associated with ADHD includes a triad of:

  • inattention (difficulty paying attention),
  • impulsivity (difficulty stopping yourself from acting), and
  • hyperactivity (excessive levels of activity).

There are 18 categorised symptoms of ADHD within those three categories (more details later). It is very common for individuals to have one or two of these symptoms. However, it is uncommon to have five or more symptoms which is the minimum criterion for an ADHD diagnosis.

Symptoms alone are not sufficient to get a diagnosis. In addition to having five symptoms or more, it needs to be clear that these symptoms cause difficulties or impairments in everyday life.

Click on the images below to see both Adult and Child symptom checklists.
Please Note: Links to the screening questionnaires used for suspected ADHD in children and adults can be found in the resources section.
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