What Does Hyperactivity Look Like in Adults?
Everyone with ADHD is not hyperactive and even when it is present, hyperactivity tends to lessen and change as children grow into adulthood. This lessening of hyperactivity is one of the reasons it was previously thought that children grew out of ADHD. It is now know that ADHD continues into adulthood and hyperactivity, although different, does not necessarily go away. In children, hyperactivity is excess energy, the inability to sit still and constant talking. In adults, hyperactivity can remain the same or it can lessen to general feelings of restlessness. Below we compare how hyperactivity is defined in the DSM-IV and how it may appear in adults.
Characteristics of Hyperactivity in Children
According to the DSM-IV, the characteristics of hyperactivity in children are:
(a) often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
(b) often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected
(c) often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness)
(d) often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
(e) is often "on the go" or often acts as if "driven by a motor"
(f) often talks excessively
Characteristics of Hyperactivity in Adults
- You may be in constant movement. You play with your pencil all during a meeting, or tap your foot on the floor. You doodle on any piece of paper that is around, including those important statements you just received in the mail.
- You may get bored easily. Boredom begins to set in about 15 minutes after you begin a project, or a few months after you begin a new job. You find TV boring, the computer is better, a little more interactive, but still becomes boring. You have an intense need to make everything in life a little more interesting. You food contains more spices, your desk contains toys, your life is filled with gadgets that looked great at the store but you lost interest when you got home.
- You may become restless after a few minutes of inactivity. Time to sit down to a relaxing evening with your partner and 15 minutes later you are ready to go and do something, or you begin to fade in and out of the conversation, planning what else you can do. You spend your day at work walking around and talking, getting coffee, making phone calls or anything else you can do to relieve the restlessness from sitting at a desk.
- You may have a great desire for active, risky and fast paced activities. Basketball is great, baseball much to slow, you start counting grass blades while standing in the outfield. Driving 20 miles over the speed limit makes that boring road so much more exciting and gets you off it quicker. Hang gliding; jumping from airplanes, racecar driving, and other such sports exhilarate you. Riding a bike is great; riding down a steep mountain on a bike is even better.
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