Highlighting the "Hyperactivity" in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly referred to as ADHD, is a neurodivergent condition that affects an individual's executive functions.
As a result, many children with ADHD may be tagged by their parents, guardians, and teachers as troublemakers. However, the behavior associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is, more often than not, merely a consequence of their executive dysfunction. Hence, you can consider their behavior problems as symptoms of their condition.
According to the US Center for Disease Control (CDC), there are three (3) categories of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder:
- Predominantly Inattentive Type
- Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type
- Combined Type
The symptoms in each of these categories may not be the same for everyone, and an individual may experience symptoms under each category.
ADHD with Inattentive Symptoms can experience difficulties in maintaining attention or trouble staying focused during their daily tasks. They may be easily distracted by sounds, sights, or even slight stimuli. They might not be able to filter out unnecessary information, and it can be challenging for them to finish a task, especially when they are in a noisy environment.
For someone to be tagged under the Combined Type of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, they must experience both hyperactive & impulsive behavior and inattention symptoms.
Of the three ADHD categories, it is said that Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type is the least common. However, it is believed that it is the ADHD category with the easiest identifiable symptom and behavior. So, what does a person with hyperactive ADHD experience?
What are the Hyperactive ADHD Symptoms?
A mental health professional uses the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to diagnose ADHD. It is the most widely used reference for diagnosing mental disorders. The DSM 5 is the latest version that lists ADHD's major symptoms. This guide is often used to analyze and categorize the patient into ADHD classifications.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5 for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a person with hyperactive-impulsive ADHD traits might possess these symptoms:
- Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms while sitting
- Often leaves the seat when the person is expected to stay in place
- Often run or climb in inappropriate situations (for children) or feeling of extreme restlessness (for adults)
- Often not participating in leisure activities quietly or playing loudly
- Often described as a person "on-the-go" as if energy is unlimited
- Often talks excessively
- Often blurts out answers before a question is completed
- Often have difficulty waiting for their turn
- Often interrupts or intrudes on others, like butting into conversations
Among these nine symptoms for ADHD hyperactive-impulsive category, five or more should be present for at least 6 months to be diagnosed. Note that the presenting symptoms should be disrupting and inappropriate for the person’s developmental level. For children aged 16 or under, six or more symptoms must be present.
However, as time progresses and research about how to treat ADHD emerges, other Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms can occur to an individual. As we have said earlier, people with ADHD tend to experience different symptoms from each other.
In addition to the six or more symptoms of hyperactive and impulsive ADHD, people with this type might also experience at least one of the following signs:
- Often has difficulty sustaining attention on tasks or activities
- Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
- Often has trouble organizing tasks and activities and makes careless mistakes
- Seems forgetful in daily activities, such as chores or returning calls
- Often has difficulty following through on instructions and often fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace
- Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities
- Is often easily distracted by external stimuli
This article isn't an absolute procedure for you to Self-Diagnose ADHD. We are just giving information and ideas to prepare yourself for an ADHD diagnosis.
It is still best to learn and know more about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) from your mental health professionals. Many factors and concerns should be discussed when you have these hyperactive-impulsive symptoms. Better discuss these significant symptoms with your clinical psychologist to know more about the detailed information about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
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Hyperactive ADHD: Physical and Brain Hyperactivity
Now that you know more about the Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD category, it is time for us to give you a deeper insight into ADHD hyperactivity symptoms.
Research suggests that people with ADHD hyperactive-impulsive symptoms are often physically restless or mentally hyperactive.
Hyperactive People might always feel "on the go" and mostly suits the ADHD symptoms stated above. They are usually the ones with significant problems controlling impulsivity & hyperactivity, such as buying something with not much thought, trying new hobbies out of nowhere, and then losing interest in them.
ADHD and self-stimulation can also be part of the Hyperactive symptoms. Stimming is the act of self-stimulating the senses through repetitive behavior. Some ADHD people might find themselves stimming to activate their nervous system and self-stimulate themselves by doing things like tapping, singing songs repeatedly for days, or even biting their skin or fingernails.
On the other hand, the hyperactivity-impulsivity symptoms of an ADHD diagnosed brain might include producing thousands of ideas in minutes, excessive or even dangerous risk-taking behavior, or even lack of concentration.
Sometimes the hyperactivity and impulsivity inside an ADHD brain might lead them to experience sleep disorders like insomnia due to racing thoughts inside their brain. Struggling to have a schedule or difficulty organizing tasks can also affect them. There are moments when an ADHD brain might forget to pay bills or have problems completing forms, preparing reports or paperwork due to the thoughts racing through their heads.
Do you think that people with ADHD have an unlimited source of energy? No, they most certainly do not. ADHD hyperactivity symptoms are exhausting for people with ADHD, and it might also affect their sleep schedule and daytime energy. Some people with ADHD can also experience depressive symptoms due to not meeting their expectations and the impact of their hyperactivity-impulsivity behavior on other people. They often have difficulty sustaining attention that may affect relationships with their partner or family members.
ADHD hyperactive symptoms can be challenging and disabling, and we still do not know their exact cause. Some say that Hyperactive ADHD is caused by external factors, such as excessive sugar intake, food additives, environmental factors like air pollution and cigarette smoke, or even side effects of ADHD medications. However, research points out that brain structure differences are associated with ADHD. Neuroimaging research has found structural variations in the brains of people with ADHD compared to the brains of people who do not have ADHD.
The Pros and Cons of the Hyperactive ADHD Symptoms
Having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder with hyperactive category can be such a challenge. If not managed and contained correctly, it may affect their mental health. Masking an ADHD symptom doesn't result in positive feedback as well. Keeping these in mind, it’s best to understand the pros and cons of hyperactive ADHD, especially since doing so can help in managing symptoms.
First, let's think of people's positive behaviors with Hyperactive ADHD. What are the positive ADHD traits that you can think of? Having a hyperactive brain can be an excellent thing as you may always have a lot of ideas on hand. The ideas may help you in doing work and provide you with creative strategies to solve problems. Another thing about having impulsive behavior is spontaneity. Many people around you won’t get bored when they are with you because of the countless things you are interested in doing.
After knowing your strong points, focus on your challenges and how you can address them to help you manage your ADHD. For instance, your attention and concentration problems may affect you deeply. You may find yourself struggling to complete tasks that need long hours of focus or attention to details. Additionally, you might make careless mistakes when you are not focusing. Thankfully, making a to-do list and checking things off as you go along can help. Checking items from your to-do list can help you stay focused and concentrate on one task at a time.
My Take On Treatment vs. Management of ADHD Traits
Treating ADHD might be the next step for some. But for me, my best treatment is in enjoying the process of managing the hyperactive and impulsive symptoms.
Now that you know your strong points and weaknesses, make sure you work on them. You can't ignore symptoms, like hyperactivity and forgetfulness, if they affect your day-to-day life.
Treating ADHD doesn't always mean automatically taking medications; there are natural ways to help you manage and treat ADHD. Attending behavioral therapy and knowing medical evaluation regarding your ADHD might help you understand how to tackle your neurodivergent condition. Staying away from environmental toxins, such as cigarette smoke and substance abuse that can cause sensory overload to you, can also help.
There's no absolute way to correctly know what can happen if you try to manage the symptoms of a person with ADHD without the doctor’s supervision. For example, checking on a child's behavior and telling her what she should do can complicate things. This doesn't prevent ADHD symptoms from happening and might cause even more significant problems, such as having learning disabilities and experiencing a mood disorder. When other children commit careless mistakes, parents should refrain from scolding them because of their ADHD. It will always be a part of them.
As a grown-up, ADHD must be taken seriously, whether it’s Hyperactive ADHD or Inattentive ADHD. Even if you experience fewer symptoms than others, don't let these symptoms pass. Check which activities require sustained mental effort you can tolerate in doing and which do not. Knowing these early can help you understand more about yourself and prevent the development of other mental disorders, such as anxiety disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and substance abuse. If these ADHD symptoms go out of hand and behavioral therapy can't contain what you are experiencing, it might be hard to live everyday life. It might get harder to manage ADHD the longer you let it go untreated.
Lastly, don't be bound by the "mental disorder" that is labeled onto you. These things don't define you as a person. As the National Resource Center says, "ADHD is a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development." It doesn't say anything about who you are as a person. Many people with ADHD are known to be creative, intelligent, unique, and there are quite a few successful people with ADHD. So don't give up!
ADHD and Hyperactivity: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Is Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD Type the most common type of ADHD?
Experts say it is the least common, but they agree that it probably has the easiest identifiable symptoms.
What are some of the symptoms that indicate hyperactivity?
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5, some of the hyperactive symptoms include difficulty waiting for your turn, talking fast, interrupting conversations, and fidgeting. For accurate ADHD diagnosis, it’s best to consult a mental health professional.
Are there pros and cons to hyperactive symptoms?
Yes! People with hyperactive-impulsive ADHD type often have numerous ideas that can help them with tasks. Also, they tend to be spontaneous. As for disadvantages, they might have problems focusing and can make careless mistakes.