ADHD and Hyperactivity & Impulsivity

ADHD Hyperactive Impulsive Symptoms

We know that there’s more to ADHD than just being hyperactive, so what does it really mean when you have the Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation? Find out here. 

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ADHD Hyperactive and Impulsive Behaviors You Might Experience

What many people might think when they come across the term Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) would be a person who's always disruptive, unruly, and often needs attention. We cannot blame them entirely because these behaviors were what Professor George Friedrich Still, a British physicist, first noticed in some children 🧒 in 1902. And that observation persisted for years and years. He, along with other scientists, then continued to research these behaviors, eventually paving the way for what we call ADHD.

Though the description above may be partly true for those diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, symptoms still vary from person to person. There are ADHD symptoms that can affect me significantly and cause inconvenience at times, but there are also those traits common to others that I find easy👌. ADHD can be a complex neurodivergent disorder, so what may be true to you might not be factual to someone else.

That's why when Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder was further studied, mental health experts established the categories of ADHD. Aside from easing up the process to diagnose ADHD, having the types can make us understand more about our symptoms and manage them efficiently.

Brief Explanation of the Three ADHD Categories

According to the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), ADHD can be categorized into three categories 3️⃣, namely: Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type ADHD, Predominantly Inattentive ADHD Type, and a combination of both. Through analysis of the ADHD symptoms that people may experience, a mental health professional can assess which ADHD type you have.

Research indicates that the Predominantly Inattentive ADHD Type is often the most challenging category to diagnose. These people often exhibit inattentive behavior, such as difficulty with sustained mental effort, especially to tasks they aren't interested in, getting easily distracted by external stimuli, or having trouble focusing on their assigned tasks. The symptoms of inattentive ADHD presentation can sometimes be hard to recognize, thus making it hard for experts 👩‍⚕️ to give an accurate diagnosis.

On the other hand, the hyperactive-impulsive ADHD presentation may sometimes be more obvious. These people have symptoms like fidgeting, tapping their feet, or squirming in their seats. They also tend to be talkative, act without thinking, or interrupt others during conversations. Because of these behaviors, people may always believe that they have an unlimited source of energy or that their battery never runs out 🔋.

When most ADHD symptoms listed above are present in one person and meet specific criteria, a combined ADHD type might be diagnosed ✌️. Usually, people with this type have five to six or more symptoms from both the inattention and hyperactive-impulsive categories and experience these symptoms to the degree that can disrupt their daily life.

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Expanding Our Knowledge of Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD Behaviors

Hyperactivity-Impulsivity symptoms of ADHD can manifest in different ways. According to the DSM-5 📕, there are nine symptoms that a person with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can experience. However, to be diagnosed, only five to six symptoms of this type of ADHD should be present and continue to persist and interfere with a person's life. 

Here are some of the common symptoms of ADHD hyperactive-impulsive type:

Struggle to Stay Still and Always Fidgets

Fidgeting or continuously tapping fingers on a table or leg bouncing while seated 🦵can signify a hyperactive ADHD brain. When we can't sit still, our brain is usually overstimulated, trying to find a way to release this energy. We tend to feel restless and want to make movements every time.

Always fidgets or bounces off legs ADHD Symptom

I noticed that many children with ADHD can be the most common example of this ADHD symptom. They often squirm on their seats, tap their feet, or play with everything they see and have trouble focusing on what's in front of them. For adult ADHD, the hyperactive symptom may manifest in leg bouncing, pacing back and forth 🚶, or clicking a pen. There always seems to be a need for constant movement for many people with hyperactive behaviors.

Difficulties to Relax

When we cannot release the excess energy we have due to our hyperactive behavior, we might struggle to relax. Even though we are idle and not doing anything, our hyperactive brain might pick up a thousand ideas or overthink a lot😵, resulting in relaxation difficulties

ADHD Hyperactive symptom: Having troubles to relax

When I get stressed out and overwhelmed, I tend to escape reality, run to the nearest park, and exercise 🏃. I often go to places where it's supposed to be relaxing. However, as I take my mind off the pressure, I'll frequently notice many other things that can stress more, like how the child runs, the dog's continuous bark, or the dark clouds ☔ that seem to gather rainfall. And because of this, I can't seem to relax and de-stress myself fully.

Excessive Talking

Impulsive behavior is another criterion for an Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD diagnosis. Our self-control can sometimes affect other people because we might miss details and social cues. This often disrupts the excellent flow of communication. Our lack of impulse control can also manifest in talking excessively 📣 without thinking about whether it's appropriate or not. We tend to overshare our thoughts, disclose personal information when not needed, or chat with anyone without being asked.

Excessive Talking

Our impulsive ADHD makes us speak without thinking first; we might not know when to stop talking, too! Our difficulty in controlling these behaviors may cause us conflict in our relationships or make other people feel often disregarded and disrespected 💢. Sometimes, we miss the opportunity to be mindful of our thoughts and words and how they might affect the people around us.

Feeling Exhausted and Tired Every Time

When people think about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), they may feel that someone diagnosed with it is lively and enthusiastic, never running out of energy ⚡. Some neurotypicals might think they never see anyone with ADHD tired, exhausted, and drained at any given time. However, this is an ADHD misconception.

ADHD Symptom: Feeling exhausted

Because of our difficulty relaxing and staying still, we might become tired or exhausted. Many people with Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentations may always seem to have the largest amount of energy. However, when we need to rest and replenish our energy, our hyperactive brain functions at the most inappropriate times, mostly during sleep 😴, significantly affecting our energy levels. 

Blurting Out Answers

Another impulsive behavior that may make people feel disregarded is when we don't let them finish anything they are saying, and then we, out of nowhere, blurt out the answer to what they are going to say 😦. It can be frustrating when we want to listen and be respectful, but our ADHD symptoms get in the way.

ADHD Traits: Blurting out answers

A child's behavior relating to blurting out answers may come in the form of trying to get the teacher's attention or answering a question in class, even if they are not called on yet. In some cases, the child may unknowingly disrupt the whole class 🏫just because they want to answer and cannot wait for their turn. Meanwhile, adults with impulsive ADHD may have difficulty staying for their turn to speak in a conversation or during a meeting at work because of their impulsivity partnered with possible forgetfulness (they want to speak before they forget what they have in mind!).

The Tendency to Interrupt Conversations and People

When you have hyperactive-impulsive ADHD symptoms, the chances of having risky behavior can also be high. Risky behaviors due to hyperactivity & impulsivity can be in the form of driving recklessly, not being able to control spending💸, or interrupting people in a conversation. The last example might be the most common symptom. 

ADHD Trait: Interrupting people and conversation

You might say, "Neurotypical people do that as well." or "Interrupting other people is an ADHD thing?" Yes, it can be an ADHD thing. And yes, neurotypical people can do them as well, but for us, it can be a bit more severe because our hyperactive & impulsive ADHD may affect our daily functioning. It just seems like a small thing, but if you often do this, people may find it challenging to have a conversation with you or even approach you in general🥺.

How Hyperactive & Impulsive ADHD Presentation is Diagnosed?

A lot of people wonder how to get diagnosed with ADHD, especially those who can frequently relate to the symptoms presented. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be diagnosed only by a mental health professional 👩‍⚕️ using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders as a guide for determining the symptoms that may affect you. These symptoms should be present before the age of 12

After answering some of the questionnaires presented by your mental health doctor, they will carefully assess all the symptoms you have that can be related to ADHD. They may still ask you about your difficulty sustaining attention, social skills, or anything related to ensure the proper treatment options are suitable. Five to six or more symptoms of hyperactive-impulsive ADHD must be present before a diagnosis can be made - depending if you’re a child or adolescent/adult. 

You may visit this article to learn more about how ADHD can be diagnosed.

How to Reduce Symptoms of Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD?

Behavioral therapy, ADHD medications💊, or social skill training are sometimes your options to treat ADHD. Aside from these, there are ways you can do to make your hyperactivity & impulsivity symptoms more manageable. Here are some of the things that you can do to reduce the burden of being always hyperactive:

  • Choose a job where you can utilize your ADHD-positive behaviors, especially those related to Hyperactive-Impulsive symptoms. This way, you can channel the creativity and extra burst of energy into something more productive.
  • Do some brain-training exercises. These activities can help you improve focus and concentration by providing a stimulating environment for your brain🧠.
  • Exercise frequently. Doing so can help burn some extra energy and even improve your sleep at night. You can also limit gadgets at night to get a good night's sleep.
  • Use some fidget toys. Fidget toys can help you stay calm and focus on the task by providing a physical outlet for your fidgeting.
  • Join solid support groups. There are a lot of people with ADHD, and some of them have been successful in managing their symptoms 🧑‍🤝‍🧑. Learning from their experiences can be very helpful for you as well. Family members and other trusted friends can help you, too, in your journey to managing ADHD.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a neurodivergent condition that may give us plenty of struggles to deal with. There are moments when we cannot do any quiet activities even on our own. Our drive to do and finish tasks or our need to have constant motion may hinder us from focusing on what we need or want to do. Despite all these, we should not give up no matter what ADHD presentation we may have💪. ADHD is a part of our identity, and we should learn to embrace it. We need to find ways to manage our symptoms so that they will not stop us from achieving our goals in life. More importantly, we should not be afraid to ask for help when needed.

Predominantly Hyperactive & Impulsive ADHD: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What are the three categories of ADHD?

The three categories are Predominantly Inattentive Presentation, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation, and the Combined Type. 

What does it mean to have the Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation? 

It means many of your symptoms point to being restless or unable to relax. You may fidget too much, have difficulty waiting for your turn, or interrupt people when they are talking.

Does it mean you don’t have the inattentive symptoms?

No. It only means your symptoms are predominantly hyperactive-impulsive. You may or may not have some symptoms under the inattentive type. 

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