ADHD Adult ADD/ADHD Hyperactivity in Adults With ADHD vs. Children By Keath Low Keath Low Keath Low, MA, is a therapist and clinical scientist with the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities at the University of North Carolina. She specializes in treatment of ADD/ADHD. Learn about our editorial process Updated on April 25, 2021 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Akeem Marsh, MD Medically reviewed by Akeem Marsh, MD LinkedIn Twitter Akeem Marsh, MD, is a board-certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist who has dedicated his career to working with medically underserved communities. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Geri Lavrov / Getty Images For both children and adults, the primary symptoms that define ADHD include impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattention. Not all individuals with ADHD will display these symptoms in the same way or to the same degree, and you may certainly see changes in the way the symptoms manifest as individual ages and moves through different stages of life. You mention hyperactivity, and this is one of the areas of ADHD that does seem to present a bit differently in adulthood. For example, the overt hyperactivity may not be as prevalent. Instead, a person may experience feelings of uncomfortable restlessness. Below is a listing of a few of the ways hyperactive or impulsive symptoms may present differently in children versus adults. Childhood Squirming, fidgetingCan't stay seated in class, mealsCan't wait a turnBlurts out answers before questions have been completely askedRuns and climbs excessivelyCan't play or work quietlyOn the go, driven by a motorTalks excessivelyIntrudes on personal space; interrupts others Adulthood Needs to move; feels restless inside, fidgetyCan't sit through meetings, meals, moviesExtremely impatientFinishes people's sentences; draws rapid conclusionsDrives too fast, recklessPrefers very active jobOn the go; low tolerance for frustrationTalks excessively; makes inappropriate commentsInterrupts others; monopolizes conversations Common symptoms of adult ADHD may also include poor attention; excessive distractibility; spacing out; problems with memory and forgetfulness; frequently losing things; trouble organizing steps in a project; chronic lateness; procrastination; trouble starting and finishing tasks; careless mistakes; and disorganization. For many people with ADHD, the symptoms related to inattentiveness often become more prominent in adulthood, while the hyperactivity symptoms become ones that are felt much more internally than observed outwardly. Symptoms of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Adler L; Cohen J. "Diagnosis and Evaluation of Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder" Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 2004 Jun;27(2):187-201. Goodman D; McCracken J; Baron D. ADHD Across the Ages: Focus on the Adult. CME Outfitters. 2009 Dec. By Keath Low Keath Low, MA, is a therapist and clinical scientist with the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities at the University of North Carolina. She specializes in treatment of ADD/ADHD. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for ADHD Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.