What is ADHD?

ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder is a condition that impacts someone’s behaviour. There are different types of ADHD such as:

  • Inattentive (also known as ADD)

  • Hyperactivity & Impulsivity

  • Combined

ADHD symptoms can be identified at a young age and often children are diagnosed from ages 6 to 12 years old. Symptoms will be present in more than one situation for example school, work or in social settings.

Inattentive ADHD

Inattentive is a type of ADHD that used to be known as ADD. There are many signs of Inattentive ADHD some include:

  • making careless mistakes in work and other activities.

  • Can appear to be forgetful or lose things

  • Can have difficulty to focus on tasks

  • Short attention span

  • Difficulty in organizing tasks

  • Seeming to not be listening

Hyperactivity & Impulsivity ADHD

Another type of ADHD is hyperactivity & impulsivity. There are many signs of hyperactivity & impulsivity ADHD some include:

  • Excessively fidgeting

  • Talking excessively

  • Difficulty in waiting for their turn

  • Interrupting others during conversations

  • Difficulty in remaining still or calm - appearing on the go

  • Difficulty in concentrating on tasks

It can be common for people to have symptoms from both inattentive and hyperactive or impulsiveness categories. This is known as the combined type.

How is ADHD Diagnosed?

To be diagnosed with ADHD, going to see your GP is an important step. Although your GP cannot officially diagnose someone with ADHD, what they can do is discuss any concerns and refer you for a specialist assessment.

For a child to be diagnosed:

  • Strict criteria must be met

  • 6 or more symptoms in inattentiveness, hyperactivity & impulsiveness (some are mentioned above)

  • Symptoms to be present before 12 years old

  • Symptoms are present in 2 or more settings such as home and school

It can be difficult to get a diagnosis for an adult however, if an adult thinks that they have ADHD they may be referred by their GP if they experience:

  • Symptoms were present during childhood but weren’t diagnosed.

  • Symptoms that are not explained by any mental health issues

  • Daily life such as work or university are heavily impacted by ADHD symptoms


American Psychiatric Association, 2013. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5®). 5th ed. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Publishing, pp.59-61.

nhs.uk. 2021. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) - Diagnosis. [online] Available at: <https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/diagnosis/> [Accessed 7 December 2021].