What Are the First Signs of ADHD?


According to the American Psychiatric Association, Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder affects 8.4% of children and 2.5% of adults. In fact, ADHD is the most common psychological disorder affecting youth. 

ADHD is often noticed early on in life when children are in school. It often leads to disruption in the classroom and an inability to complete schoolwork. It is not uncommon for ADHD to be diagnosed in adulthood if it doesn’t affect behavior as much as it affects attention-span. 

What are the first signs of ADHD? ADHD can be diagnosed with early signs in babies and children. One can be diagnosed with ADHD well into their adulthood.

Do you or a loved one display any of these symptoms? Keep reading to find out!

What Is ADHD? 

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a mental health disorder that increases levels of hyperactivity and impulsivity. ADHD also causes trouble concentrating on one task for a prolonged amount of time and higher than average levels of hyperactivity. 

What Causes ADHD? 

Although researchers have not figured out the direct cause of ADHD, there is some evidence to believe that genetics affect the likelihood that a person develops it. Premature birth and exposure to nicotine are just a few factors that can contribute to ADHD.

What Are the First Signs of ADHD? 

Common symptoms of ADHD include trouble concentrating on one task for a prolonged amount of time, and higher than average levels of hyperactivity. Other symptoms of ADHD include: 

  • Frequent interrupting when talking to others 
  • Struggle to wait their turn in class or when playing with other children 
  • Temper tantrums, bursts of anger, and difficulty regulating emotions 
  • Difficulty sitting still in class and frequent fidgeting 
  • Leaving a lot of tasks unfinished due to getting distracted by a new activity 
  • Forgetful of new tasks and daily activities 
  • Avoids activities that require prolonged mental focus
  • Frequent daydreaming, staring into space, and inability to notice surroundings 
  • Trouble listening when someone talks to them directly 
  • Difficulty staying seated in the classroom or other settings 

These symptoms of ADHD can show up in a child at four years old and most symptoms manifest by age 12. To be diagnosed, the child most show at least 6 of the symptoms for half a year or longer at school and the home. 

Types of ADHD 

There are different variations of ADHD where symptoms can differ. ADHD can look differently for people and have a difference in severity. The three types of ADHD are listed below: 

1. Inattentive

This kind of ADHD is not what people usually think of when talking about ADHD. With this type, a person gets distracted easily but doesn’t have high levels of impulsivity or hyperactivity. People often hear of this type of ADHD referred to as ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder. 

This type of ADHD can be difficult to diagnose because people who have inattentive ADHD are much less disruptive in classrooms. It is not uncommon for those with inattentive ADHD to not get diagnosed until later in life. This type is common among girls with ADHD

2. Hyperactive/Impulsive

This type is the easiest to spot due to the overt symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity. People with this type don’t struggle with being inattentive. Symptoms for this type include excessive talking and always appearing to be on the go. 

Children with this type seem to always be jumping off the walls whereas adults with this type can feel restless, have trouble multitasking, and don’t have much patience.

3. Combined

In this type, hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and inattentiveness are all present. This is one of the most severe forms of ADHD.

Treatments for ADHD 

There is no known cure for ADHD, but there are ways to relieve symptoms. These are the most common treatments to manage ADHD.


There are stimulant medications that are prescribed for ADHD to increase and or balance the production of certain neurotransmitters, specifically dopamine. Medications often work well for those who try them but they do come with their set of negative side effects.

Stimulants can cause nausea, insomnia, decreased appetite, headaches, digestive issues, irritability, anxiety, weight loss, and hallucinations in extreme cases. 

For those who would rather opt out of taking stimulant or non-stimulant medications, they can try supplements to manage ADHD symptoms. There’s also some research indicating that cannabis for ADD  can be a promising medicine for attention deficit disorder that can ease certain symptoms of ADHD such as hyperactivity, mood regulation, and anxiety. 

Behavioral Therapy 

In behavioral therapy, the patient learns how to maintain awareness of their behaviors to be able to change those behaviors. During this treatment, the therapist will create strategies for parents to use positive feedback and rewards to encourage good behavior. 

Maintaining a Healthy Life-Style 

Whether you’re an adult diagnosed with ADHD or a parent with a child diagnosed with ADHD, it is important that you live a healthy lifestyle to help with unpleasant symptoms. 

People with ADHD are encouraged to engage in regular exercise and to have a diet built on lots of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. 

Parents, it is important that you participate in leisurely activities with your child so that they have the time to unwind and relax. Spending time outdoors by going for a walk or a bike ride helps children unwind and recover from attention fatigue. 

Mindfulness meditation for both adults and children with ADHD has been proven to be effective in easing symptoms. Meditation helps increase dopamine, aid in emotional regulation, increases positive emotions, and increases concentration. 

Are You or Someone You Know Exhibiting Symptoms of ADHD? 

There’s still a lot of research being done on ADHD, its causes, and its possible cures. Many natural remedies are gaining attention and it is always advised to try them out before trying out medications that could be hard on the body. 

Living life with undiagnosed ADHD is difficult and frustrating. If you’re still asking, “What are the first signs of ADHD?”, make it a priority to speak to a medical professional. 

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