Hyperactivity-Impulsivity In ADHD

Boys jumping on parents bed
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One of the most common childhood neurological disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, affects between 5 and 11 percent of American children. Hyperactivity and impulsivity are the most noticeable symptoms associated with ADHD. These behaviors often affect success in school, happiness at home, and social relationships. Appropriate diagnosis and treatment can help a child overcome these problems and cope with the symptoms of ADHD.

Causes of ADHD

ADHD manifests through behavior and personality, but its cause is biological. In children with ADHD, brain development is delayed by as much as three years. These delays are specific to the areas of the brain that govern thinking, attention, and planning.

ADHD Symptoms

Because the symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity are very disrupting both at home and at school, parents and teachers are often able to easily recognize the signs of ADHD. Some hyperactive/impulsive behaviors that parents and teachers should look out for include:

  • Restlessness, often displayed through squirming or fidgeting
  • An inability to remain seated when quiet behavior is expected
  • Excessive talking
  • Blurting out answers
  • Constantly interrupting others and an inability to take turns

These behaviors can also negatively impacts a child’s social relationships, because they may be seen as loud, pushy, aggressive, or annoying.


Hyperactive children seem to be in constant motion. They dash around touching or playing with whatever is in sight, or talk incessantly. Sitting still at dinner or during a school lesson or story can be a difficult task. Hyperactive teenagers or adults may feel internally restless. They often report needing to stay busy and may try to do several things at once.


Impulsive children seem unable to curb their immediate reactions or think before they act. They will often blurt out inappropriate comments, display their emotions without restraint, and act without regard for the later consequences of their conduct. Their impulsivity may make it hard for them to wait for things they want or to take their turn in games. They may grab a toy from another child or hit when they're upset. Even as teenagers or adults, they may impulsively choose to do things that have an immediate but small payoff rather than engage in activities that may take more effort yet provide much greater but delayed rewards.

ADHD Treatments

ADHD is a neurological disorder, and demands the attention of a medical practitioner. Your doctor may recommend a therapist, or psychologist, to discuss the unique stresses of life with this disorder. Even children may benefit from this kind of therapy. Your doctor may also recommend a psychiatrist, who can offer psychiatric drugs that have been shown to work in curbing the most egregious symptoms of ADHD.

There is no cure for this disorder, but with proper treatment, children — and adults — with ADHD can live fulfilling lives and achieve both happiness and success.

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