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Updated on June 9, 2020

Inattention or Hyperactive Issues in Adults: Understanding Symptoms

Inattention is the lack of focus when it is required during work or meetings. Inattention is a characteristic feature of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  Although ADHD starts in children, sometimes the condition may be missed or undiagnosed during childhood and only manifests during adulthood.  Inattention can also be caused by external factors such as emotional stress, anxiety, conflict or anger and in medical conditions affecting cognitive functions such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke or dementia.

Click to view Kati Morton video on ADHD as an adult

According to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM-5), there are

three different presentations of ADHD. 

1. Inattention symptoms

(you have Inattention Issues when you experience 6 or more symptoms of this category)

  • Fails to pays attention to details and makes careless mistakes
  • Has difficulty holding attention in hobbies or tasks (easily distracted)
  • Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
  • Does not follow through on instructions or finish their work or tasks
  • Has difficulty organising tasks and activities
  • Dislikes or avoids activities which require sustained mental effort
  • Will lose things necessary for the tasks or activities
  • Easily distracted by stimuli
  • Often forgetful in daily activities

2. Hyperactivity and Impulsivity

(you have Hyperactivity Issues when you experience 6 or more symptoms of this category)

  • Fidget or tap hands or fingers or squirm in their seat
  • Leave their seat several times unnecessarily
  • Feels restless and needs to run out of a room or situation inappropriately
  • Unable to play or participate in quiet leisure activities
  • Feels need to be on the go all the time
  • Talks excessively
  • Blurt out answer before the question is completed or talk over others
  • Difficulty waiting of his/her turn
  • Often interrupts or intrudes on other people

3. Combines ADHD presentation

Sometimes, you may have a Combined adult ADHD presentation when you have both inattention (6 or more symptoms) and hyperactive/impulsivity (6 or more symptoms) features

How does Inattention or hyperactivity affect your daily life?

Adults with attention deficit have difficulty coping at work because they

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