Adult Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD) can affect a patient’s ability to function at work and at home. This can lead to someone having any number of related issues, such as low productivity and earnings, changing jobs often, difficulty maintaining relationships, abusing controlled substances and legal problems.

Adolescent ADD/ADHD can make it difficult for them to concentrate or sit still in school, leading to poor performance and low grades. It can also make it difficult to engage with peers and potentially put them at risk for accidents, injuries and even drug and alcohol abuse.

There are three types of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD) diagnoses. refers to three variations of the disorder. The diagnosis of the type of ADD/ADHD depend upon the predominant symptom, including:

  • Inattention– Difficulty with attention makes it difficult getting or staying focused on a task or activity
  • Hyperactive-Impulsive – Hard time sitting still/restlessness and is impulsive
  • Combined – Most prevalent; possessives both features of inattention and hyperactivity

What are the signs of ADD/ADHD?

The primary symptoms of ADD/ADHD are Inattentiveness and Hyperactivity/Impulsiveness. Either one symptom is predominant over the other, or it can be a combination of both.


Someone with ADD/ADHD can be described as having a short attention span, or being easily distracted. They can have difficulty concentrating on tasks, especially if they are routine or ‘boring’. They may also find it difficult to know where to start a task, or might get lost along the way.

Some common symptoms of Inattention include:

  • Fails to pay close attention to details
  • Makes careless mistakes in work, schoolwork or other activities
  • Difficulty keeping attention during work or play
  • Seems to not listen when spoken to directly
  • Fails to follow through on instructions, including finishing schoolwork, chores or workplace duties
  • Difficulty organizing tasks and activities
  • Avoids, dislikes, or reluctant to do things that require sustained mental effort
  • Often loses things they need for tasks or activities
  • Easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
  • Often forgetful in day-to-day activities


Often described as being ‘restless’ or ‘fidgety’, someone with ADD/ADHD is excessively active. Some common symptoms of Hyperactivity include:

  • Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
  • Often leaves seat in classroom or other situations when they’re expected to remain seated
  • In children, excessive movement when it’s inappropriate
  • In adolescents/adults, subjective feelings of restlessness
  • Difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
  • Often talks excessively


With ADD/ADHD, impulsiveness means acting before thinking, because patients have difficulty waiting or delaying gratification. Patients may speak out of turn and interrupt others. And while not necessarily risk-takers, they may engage in risky behavior, such as crossing a street without looking, or climbing a very tall tree. Patients are often surprised about being in a dangerous situation and have no idea of how to get out.

Some common symptoms of Impulsiveness include:

  • Will shout out answers before a question is completely asked
  • Difficulty waiting a turn
  • Often interrupts or intrudes on others

Evaluating for ADD/ADHD

An evaluation is recommended for any individual who is experiencing significant problems with their attention and thinking. You should consider such an evaluation if you have ADD/ADHD symptoms that are present and persist for at least six months, and they affect social, school or work relationships.