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Warning Signs You Have ADHD, Says CDC

An Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder can interfere with your life—or your child’s. Know the signs.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek
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In today's fast-paced, multi-screen world, it's easy to have a low-attention span, but might you have Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)? How can you tell? "People with ADHD may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors (may act without thinking about what the result will be), or be overly active," says the CDC. "Although ADHD can't be cured, it can be successfully managed and some symptoms may improve" especially in children. Here are the criteria of ADHD in shortened form, according to the CDC, who note "that they are presented just for your information. Only trained healthcare providers can diagnose or treat ADHD." Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus


You May Experience Inattention

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One main sign of ADHD is inattention. If you find yourself or your child: "often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work, or with other activities." or "often has trouble holding attention on tasks or play activities" or "often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly" or "is often easily distracted"—these can be signs of ADHD.


You May Have Hyperactivity or Impulsivity

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Do you find yourself often fidgeting with or tapping hands or feet, or squirming in your seat; or leaping out of your chair when seating is expected; or are often "on the go" acting as if "driven by a motor"? Those are signs of ADHD, along with "blurting out an answer before a question has been completed" and butting into conversations or games.


You May Have These Symptoms in Multiple Places and They May Interfere With Your Life

Young girl looking bored while playing at a school desk.

For it to qualify as ADHD, "Several inattentive or hyperactive-impulsive symptoms" must be "present before age 12 years," says the CDC of criteria. "Several symptoms are present in two or more settings (such as at home, school or work; with friends or relatives; in other activities)" and "there is clear evidence that the symptoms interfere with, or reduce the quality of, social, school, or work functioning."


You May Have These Symptoms—But It's Not ADHD


Some of these symptoms may be "explained by another mental disorder (such as a mood disorder, anxiety disorder, dissociative disorder, or a personality disorder)," says the CDC. There is a process to diagnose ADHD but "there is no single test to diagnose ADHD, and many other problems, like sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, and certain types of learning disabilities, can have similar symptoms," says the CDC. 

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What to Do If You Think You May Have ADHD

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Contact a medical professional if you feel you or your child has ADHD. They will do a far more thorough diagnosis than this article, and discuss therapies available. "Behavior therapy is a treatment option that can help reduce these behaviors; it is often helpful to start behavior therapy as soon as a diagnosis is made," says the CDC, which also mentions effective medications. So seek help when needed, and in the meantime, to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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