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On Attention Deficit (Disorder)

Posted on August 19, 2023 in Stefaan Meeuws by Stefaan Meeuws
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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:

  1. Blurting out things (a form of impulsivity)
  2. Extreme difficulty concentrating (a sign of inattention)
  3. 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:


  1. Often fails to pay close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
  2. Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities.
  3. Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework).
  4. Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., school materials, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, mobile phones).
  5. Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli (for older adolescents and adults, may include unrelated thoughts).
  6. Is often forgetful in daily activities.


  1. Often fidgets with or taps hands or feet or squirms in seat.
  2. Often runs about or climbs in situations where it is not appropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to feeling restless).
  3. Often unable to play or engage in leisure activities quietly.
  4. Is often “on the go,” acting as if “driven by a motor.”
  5. Often talks excessively.


  1. Often has difficulty waiting for one’s turn.
  2. 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.

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