What Is ADHD ?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects both children and adults worldwide. While often misunderstood, its impact on an individual’s life can be profound, influencing not only their behaviour but also their relationships and overall well-being. By shedding light on the core behavioural traits associated with ADHD, we can foster a better understanding and promote empathy for those living with this condition.

ADHD is characterised by a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development. While the exact causes of ADHD remain under study, researchers believe it involves a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors. 

Understanding the common behavioural traits associated with ADHD can help families move forward with a diagnosis and getting the help and support they need.


People with ADHD often struggle with maintaining focus, sustaining attention to tasks, and organising activities. They may find it challenging to follow through on instructions and may appear forgetful or easily distracted. This can lead to difficulties in academic and professional settings, as well as interpersonal relationships.

Signs of inattention in an individual can include:

  • Often failing to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work, or with other activities
  • Often having trouble holding attention on tasks or play activities
  • Often not seeming to listen when spoken to directly
  • Often not following through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (e.g. loses focus, easily side-tracked)
  • Often having trouble organising tasks and activities
  • Often avoiding, disliking, or showing reluctance to do tasks that require mental effort over a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework)
  • Often losing things necessary for tasks and activities (e.g. school materials, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, glasses, mobile phones)
  • Often easily distracted
  • Often forgetful in daily activities

Hyperactivity and Impulsivity

Hyperactivity manifests as excessive fidgeting, restlessness, and an inability to remain seated for extended periods. Individuals with ADHD may exhibit a constant need to be in motion, which can affect their ability to engage in tasks requiring sustained mental effort.

Impulsivity is a common trait associated with ADHD, characterised by hasty actions without considering potential consequences. Individuals may have difficulty inhibiting their immediate reactions, leading to challenges in social interactions and decision-making processes. This can often result in impulsive spending, risk-taking behaviours, and difficulty maintaining self-control.

Signs of hyperactivity and impulsivity can include:

  • Often fidgets with or taps hands or feet, or squirms in their seat
  • Often leaves the seat in situations when remaining seated is expected
  • Often runs about or climbs in situations where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may be limited to feeling restless)
  • Often unable to play or take part in leisure activities quietly
  • Often “on the go” acting as if “driven by a motor”
  • Often talks excessively
  • Often blurts out an answer before a question has been completed.
  • Often has trouble waiting their turn
  • Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games)
  • Little or no sense of danger

Recognising these core behavioural traits is crucial in developing a supportive environment for individuals living with ADHD. It is imperative to foster empathy and understanding, rather than judgment, as these individuals navigate through various aspects of their lives.

Furthermore, it’s important to note that although ADHD presents significant challenges, individuals with this condition often possess remarkable strengths, including creativity, resilience, and a unique perspective on the world. By acknowledging and nurturing these strengths, we can create an inclusive society that appreciates diverse ways of thinking and being.

By understanding the behavioral traits associated with ADHD, we can cultivate a more compassionate and inclusive environment, fostering support and acceptance for individuals with this condition. Together, we can work towards creating a world where everyone feels understood, valued, and empowered to thrive, irrespective of their neurological differences.