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What does hyperactivity mean in ADHD?

Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Medicine
Many people feel hyper after drinking a large amount of caffeine. Others feel hyper when they are going on an exciting vacation, playing sports, or visiting with a fun group of friends. However, for people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), hyperactivity is more than that. Hyperactivity with ADHD can cause great difficulty in a person's life.

For people with ADHD, hyperactivity refers to a variety of symptoms. According to the National Institutes of Health, troublesome symptoms of hyperactivity in ADHD include moving constantly, having trouble concentrating, fidgeting, talking excessively, and having trouble working quietly. With ADHD, hyperactivity interferes with a person's life so much that he or she has trouble with relationships, school, or work. At times, severe hyperactivity can lead to mental health problems like depression.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) presents as inappropriate-for-age hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention. These kids are obvious as soon as you walk in the room. They can’t sit still. They are into every drawer in the office. If you ask them a question, they often ignore that they have been talked to and grab their sister or run around the room. It is hard to ask their parents questions because they interrupt or do an activity that attracts the parent’s attention. They often perform poorly in school since they cannot sit still long enough to finish the task requested
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Oh yes, we all feel hyper sometimes, especially after a huge cup of coffee (takes more than a gallon for me as I’ve built up tolerance), but caffeine wears off.  The hyperactivity associated with ADHD, however, doesn’t really ever taper off and it interferes with your ability to function. ADHD with hyperactivity may cause you or your child to fidget, pace, or talk your ear off. People with ADHD act this way often, even when it is inappropriate. Not to mention sitting through a lecture (even an engaging one by Dr. Mike) or a classic old movie like Lawrence of Arabia may feel unbearable for a hyperactive person with ADHD, so it can make school, work, and social situations particularly tough. If these problems have been impeding your life or the life of your child for at least six months, talk to your doctor.  There are plenty of treatment options; you deserve to find what works best for you or yours.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.