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Symptoms of ADD and ADHD

Updated on June 3, 2010

What is the criteria for diagnosing ADD and ADHD?

Because anyone can display the following symptoms at one time or another, especially children, the criteria for diagnosing ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is very specific.

  • The symptoms in children must be severe and more frequent than in other children of the same age.
  • Symptoms last longer or have existed longer than six months and effects their ability to function on a daily basis.
  • Criteria for ADD/ADHD dictates that the symptoms are usually apparent in early childhood, before the age of seven.
  • These behaviors must create significant difficulty in at least two areas of daily life, home, social settings, school, or work.

Three Types of ADD/ADHD

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)/ Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AHDH) has been categorized in the following three ways:

  • ADD - Type I - Primarily Inattentive type.
  • ADHD - Type II - Primarily Hyperactive and Impulsive type.
  • ADHD - Type III - Types I and II Combined

Type I - ADD Symptoms - Primarily Inattentive Type


  • Difficulty sustaining attention, daydreaming.
  • Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes
  • Easily distracted, missing details, frequently switch from one activity to another
  • Difficulty following directions or completing tasks, becomes easily confused
  • Is forgetful in daily activities, often losing things
  • Does not appear to listen when spoken to
  • Has difficulty with organization
  • Avoids or dislikes tasks that require sustained mental attention

Type II ADHD Symptoms - Primarily Hyperactive/Impulsive



  • Fidgets with hand and feet or squirms in chair
  • Has difficulty remaining seated
  • Runs around or climbs excessively
  • Has difficulty engaging in activities quietly
  • Acts if driven by a motor
  • Talks excessively


  • Blurts out answers before questions have been completed
  • Has difficulty waiting or taking turns, impatience
  • Interrupts or intrudes upon others conversations or activities
  • Show emotions without restraint, and act without regard for consequences


Type III - ADHD Combined Type

  • Type III is a combination of both symptoms of Types I and II


We all know that children can sometimes forget their homework, fidget during story time, become distracted by a commotion or daydream. However, if the majority, if not all of the signs are occurring continuously (daily), over time, it may be that they have Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Without diagnosis they can tend to be labeled as undisciplined, troublemakers, defiant or lazy and the symptoms often lead to difficulty learning, and socializing.

It is important for you to be able to recognize the symptoms and to get help for your child. Recognition is the first step, educating yourself about this disorder is the second step. Below are links that are useful in recognizing symptoms, understanding the disorder, diagnosis and treatment options and coping skills.


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    • Missi Darnell profile image

      Missi Darnell 7 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you blake4d, with 4 of my 5 kids having this disorder I've had a lot of experience and am a believer in educating myself and being a proactive parent. It's the long road which is the most important one.

    • blake4d profile image

      Blake Ford Hall 7 years ago from Now Rising Out of Phoenix Arizona Earthlings

      Excellent writing, and you are so knowledgable about the subject matter. Makes it very easy to read. Love your work. Keep on Hubbing. Blake4d

    • Missi Darnell profile image

      Missi Darnell 7 years ago from Southern California

      Tonymac04, thank you for commenting. I have a suggestion that may help her, 'white noise'. Playing classical music at low volume at bed time. Even relaxation cd's will help.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 8 years ago from South Africa

      Very useful information on an all-too-common problem. I have a very active, especially mentally, eight-year-old daughter. I don't think she fully displays the symptoms you describe, but she has trouble switching the mind off at night to go to sleep - always wants to do or say one more thing!

      Thanks for sharing

      Love and peace


    • Missi Darnell profile image

      Missi Darnell 8 years ago from Southern California

      Julie Thank you for your comment. There are many of us parents out there, it is good to have a good support system. Glad to hear you have had success through diet and structure. No, medication isnt the only option, as you know. I wish you well.

    • Missi Darnell profile image

      Missi Darnell 8 years ago from Southern California

      jwjulie, thank you I'm glad you enjoyed this hub and found it informative. Thank you for being a great fan of my hubpages.

    • profile image

      Julie Freeman 8 years ago

      Yep Type II here. Doctors wanted to medicate but we have had such great success with diet modification and structure. Good to know we are not the only ones dealing with these issues.

      Great info Missi!

    • jwjulie40 profile image

      jwjulie40 8 years ago

      Great hub!!! Wish I had this info years ago keep getting the the word out there!!

    • Missi Darnell profile image

      Missi Darnell 8 years ago from Southern California

      All 4 of my ADHD kids are Type III. 2 with ODD one with anxiety disorder and our baby still not sure. School psych says anxiety, i thought maybe ocd, however I'm know thinking maybe autism spectrum. Lots of sensory issues. I'm so glad you liked my hub! Thank you for commenting.

    • Enelle Lamb profile image

      Enelle Lamb 8 years ago from Canada's 'California'

      My son is definitely Type III!

      Very good hub - good information and research - keep it up!