On Attention Deficit (Disorder)
Certainly. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is typically characterized by a combination of symptoms related to inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. The symptoms you’ve mentioned are:
- Blurting out things (a form of impulsivity)
- Extreme difficulty concentrating (a sign of inattention)
- Problems sitting still (a state of hyperactivity)
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) provides criteria for diagnosing ADHD. Here are additional symptoms related to each of the three domains:
- Often fails to pay close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
- Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities.
- Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework).
- Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., school materials, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, mobile phones).
- Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli (for older adolescents and adults, may include unrelated thoughts).
- Is often forgetful in daily activities.
- Often fidgets with or taps hands or feet or squirms in seat.
- Often runs about or climbs in situations where it is not appropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to feeling restless).
- Often unable to play or engage in leisure activities quietly.
- Is often “on the go,” acting as if “driven by a motor.”
- Often talks excessively.
- Often has difficulty waiting for one’s turn.
- Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations, games, or activities; may start using other people’s things without asking or receiving permission).
To be diagnosed with ADHD:
- Several symptoms must have been present before age 12.
- Several symptoms must be present in two or more settings (e.g., at home, school, or work; with friends or relatives; in other activities).
- There must be clear evidence that the symptoms interfere with or reduce the quality of social, academic, or occupational functioning.