Stirling Behavioral Health Institute

  Mental Health Services Provider

  6931 Van Nuys Blvd. #102 

  Phone (818) 376-0134 
  Fax (818) 376-1437

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.

  • Inattention means a person wanders off task, lacks persistence, has difficulty sustaining focus, and is disorganized; and these problems are not due to defiance or lack of comprehension.
  • Hyperactivity means a person seems to move about constantly, including in situations in which it is not appropriate; or excessively fidgets, taps, or talks. In adults, it may be extreme restlessness or wearing others out with constant activity.
  • Impulsivity means a person makes hasty actions that occur in the moment without first thinking about them and that may have high potential for harm; or a desire for immediate rewards or inability to delay gratification. An impulsive person may be socially intrusive and excessively interrupt others or make important decisions without considering the long-term consequences.

Signs and Symptoms

Inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity are the key behaviors of ADHD. Some people with ADHD only have problems with one of the behaviors, while others have both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity.Most children have the combined type of ADHD.


In preschool, the most common ADHD symptom is hyperactivity. Most children with ADHD receive a diagnosis during the elementary school years. For an adolescent or adult to receive a diagnosis of ADHD, the symptoms need to have been present prior to age 12.

Inattention

People with symptoms of inattention may often:

  • Overlook or miss details
  • Make careless mistakes in schoolwork
  • Have problems sustaining attention in tasks or play, including conversations, lectures, or lengthy reading
  • Not seem to listen when spoken to directly
  • Not follow through on instructions and fail to finish schoolwork and chores
  • Quickly lose focus and get easily sidetracked
  • Have problems organizing tasks and activities such as what to do in sequence and keeping materials
  • Avoid or dislike tasks that require sustained mental effort, such as schoolwork or homework, or for teens and older adults, preparing reports, completing forms or reviewing lengthy papers
  • Lose things necessary for tasks or activities such as school supplies
  • Be easily distracted by unrelated thoughts or stimuli

Hyperactivity-Impulsivity

People with symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity may often:

  • Fidget and squirm in their seats
  • Leave their seats in situations when staying seated is expected, such as in the classroom
  • Run or dash around or climb in situations where it is inappropriate
  • Be unable to play or engage in hobbies quietly
  • Be constantly in motion or “on the go,” or act as if “driven by a motor”
  • Talk nonstop
  • Blurt out an answer before a question has been completed, finish other people’s sentences, or speak without waiting for a turn in conversation
  • Have trouble waiting his or her turn
  • Interrupt or intrude on others, for example in conversations, games, or activities