Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a lifelong neurodevelopmental condition that can affect the way someone thinks and understands things and their ability to control their actions and behaviours. People with ADHD can seem restless, may have trouble concentrating and may act on impulse. They have little control over these behaviours due to underlying neurological differences. 

Last review - Feb 2024 (details below).

ADHD is an invisible disability 

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    ADHD affects different people in different ways
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    It is estimated that up to 60% of children with ADHD experience symptoms into adulthood 
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    Globally, around 2.5% of adults and around 5-7% of children have ADHD
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    3 presentations of ADHD: hyperactive-impulsive, inattentive and combination
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    In women and girls, ADHD is frequently overlooked and underdiagnosed

Symptoms of ADHD

Symptoms of ADHD vary from person to person and can change throughout a person’s life. ADHD is commonly categorised into three major presentations :

  1. Inattentive: difficulties with concentration, organisation, and task completion. Individuals may frequently misplace items, be easily diverted, and forget routine activities.
  2. Hyperactive-impulsive is characterised by impulsive behaviour and excessive activity. These individuals may have difficulty sitting still, be restless, talk excessively, and act without thinking about the consequences. Hyperactivity may also be internalised, such as feeling as if you are driven by a motor
  3. Combined: This is the most common type of ADHD and includes symptoms of both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity.

ADHD is often stigmatised, and even the use of the word "disorder" can set a negative tone. It's important to remember that not everyone with ADHD experiences the same symptoms, and each individual with ADHD has their own set of skills and strengths. These can include being able to:

  • find unique solutions to difficult problems and see many sides of a situation
  • derive patterns where others see chaos
  • to talk about many different topics at one time
  • be good in a crisis – those with ADHD staff some of the most stressful jobs
  • empathetic and intuitive
  • a continuous source of new ideas, methods, and strategies with a seemingly endless desire to try new ideas, tasks, and projects

People with ADHD can:

  • find it difficult to concentrate and focus, as well as sometimes being hyperactive and impulsive
  • be easily distracted, and have difficulty keeping track of daily tasks
  • act without thinking, interrupting conversations and having difficulty waiting for one's turn 
  • have an inability to focus or prioritise and continually start new tasks before finishing old ones
  • frequently lose or misplace things
  • have mood swings, irritability and a quick temper
  • difficulty keeping quiet, speaking out of turn, blurting out responses and often interrupting others






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The content on this page has been reviewed by ADHD UK (Feb 2024). For further information, please visit

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