Psychologist Questions ADHD

What are the symptoms of ADHD?

I think my son has ADHD. He can hardly focus on anything and barely listens to me and my husband. What other signs should I look out for?

7 Answers

Dear Madam,

I appreciate your concern for your son's being inattentive when you and your husband are addressing him and worrying about his not focusing on anything. How old is he? Does he play any games and sports? What is the observation of his team mates and instructors? Are his teachers concerned about his not being able to focus? Have they given you feedback on their observations of his behaviors? When the same symptoms are exhibited across different situations and different environments, then you may need to have him be tested by a licensed psychologist and get a 2nd opinion from a psychiatrist. In case you are thinking about medicating him, then you need to be aware of the side effects of the medicines. In the mean time, you may want to teach him to be mindfully present in the moment and practice that with him and point out the consequences of not doing so. I know that it is frustrating for you, so you need to be extra vigilant that that frustration does not come across as punitive to your child.

Take care,

Dr. Sonpal
Symptoms of ADHD can include higher than typical activity level, and distractibility, difficulty concentrating. But many other factors can influence these behaviors. For example, How old is your child? And how does he compare with other boys his own age? Boys often need a lot of physical activity, and younger boys have a shorter attention span than older boys do. Have him evaluated by an educational psychologist and his pediatrician to be sure that his activity level is different from kids of his age. Sleep and exercise make a big difference. Make sure that he gets enough sleep. And what is his diet like? Does he eat a lot of sugars or processed foods? These can increase activity levels also. Have there been stresses or changes in his life? Moves, losses, change of schools? These can make a child more distractible, but this is not a diagnosis of “ADHD.”
I hope this information is helpful to you.

Nancy J. Warren, PhD
Dear Parent,

Please do not google. Ask the diagnostic impression for any of the potential psychological disorder or the following risk might likely event, despite your genuine wholehearted desire to help:
- you are most likely to identify/perceive some of the symptoms
- you are most likely to pathologize presentation that might not be pathological.
This response if for informational purposes only and does not constitute treatment.

ADHD is a brain-based condition where kids have much more difficulty with directing their attention, controlling impulses, and sitting still than most other kids their age. As children get older, the hyperactivity often moves from large movements and "out of chair" behaviors to smaller scale fidgets. We look for these issues across at least two environments - usually school and home.

Depending on their age and school demands, some kids have had struggles since they were very little. Others have these problems brought to light when needing to study and do large amounts of homework.

Serious disorganization is another sign of ADHD that is very common for kids. You might want to email or call you son's teacher(s) to ask if he seems more active, less attentive, and has a harder time with organization than most of his classmates. This can give you a sense of whether these issues go across several settings or are more restricted to home.

If the issues (at home and/or school) are causing fairly big problems, then you can consult a therapist who has experience working with kids and families affected by ADHD. There are a few specific treatments that have been shown to be effective for ADHD, so working with a person who specializes can make sure you get help that will make a difference.
There could be a lot of reasons for the behavior you describe. I would go to the National Institute of Mental Health website or google ADHD, A professional evaluation with a mental health provider is a good idea. There are many treatment approaches to ADHD if that is indeed what he has. But he should be professionally diagnosed to differentiate these symptoms from symptoms of another disorder.
Have your son go and take Dr. Amen's free assessment of ADD. If he is too young then have yourself and your husband collaborate in taking it for him.
He provides an excellent report.
The link is:
Excessive energy and yet not getting anywhere! Nervous and talks much more than listening.