Examples of ADHD-related Symptoms

How is ADHD diagnosed? Are there clear signs? In fact, there is not one unique symptom that points to ADHD. Rather, it is a combination of several indications that are typical of an ADHD patient.

Background: Core Symptoms and
Secondary Symptoms of ADHD

  • The core symptoms of ADHD include attention deficit, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
  • In most cases, at least two secondary symptoms also occur (such as mood swings, disorganisation, or low-stress tolerance)

Read more about ADHD symptoms

Examples of ADHD-related symptoms

  • Forgetfulness
  • Distractibility
  • Chaotic presentation
  • Difficulty organizing & planning
  • Difficulty listening
  • Difficulty with punctuality (arriving either too late or too early)
  • Temporary hyperfocus for highly salient tasks, but no control of attention when required or for many essential activities of daily life
  • Getting lost in details
  • Doubtfulness – unable to make decisions or solve problems
  • Needing too much time to complete tasks
  • Difficulty starting and finishing tasks
  • Mind Wandering:
    • Mental restlessness
    • Unrelated spontaneous thoughts, constantly on the go, jumping and flitting, multiple thoughts at the same time
    • Associative thinking
  • (Inner) Restlessness
  • Difficulty relaxing
  • Pacing up and down
  • Talking too much and too loud
  • Fidgeting, rocking or tapping
  • Not being able to bear an office job because of restlessness
  • Knocking things over because of excessive mobility
  • Being able to sit still but this comes with muscle strain
  • Restless sleep
  • Acting without thinking
  • Difficulty waiting turn – linked to feelings of irritability
  • Blurting things out that cause distress to others
  • Interrupting others
  • Impatience and difficulty waiting turn
  • Spending too much
  • Walking out of jobs
  • Starting relationships quickly
  • Not being able to postpone gratification
  • Sensation seeking and risk taking behaviours
  • Binge eating
Emotional dysregulation
  • Mood lability
  • Low frustration tolerance
  • Emotional impulsivity
  • Irritability
  • Anger outbursts
  • Premenstrual increase of symptoms
Kooij J.J.S. et al., Updated European Consensus Statement on Diagnosis and treatment of adult ADHD, European Psychiatry 56 (2019) 14-34.