Written by Dr. Savannah Muncy, Pharm.D on
January 11, 2022
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Medically Reviewed by our Medical Affairs Team

Written by Dr. Savannah Muncy, Pharm.D on:

Are you or someone close to you too hyperactive that it causes distress in your daily life? Hyperactive ADHD could cause it. 

Hyperactive ADHD is a common neurobehavioral disorder. It affects 8.8% of children and adolescents¹ and 4.4% of adults² in the United States alone.

This blog post will discuss ADHD hyperactive symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment and management options, and more.

So, let’s get started.

What is the Hyperactive ADHD Type?

The hyperactive ADHD type is the most common subtype of ADHD. It is characterized by excessive physical movement, impulsiveness, and difficulty sustaining attention.

People with hyperactive type of ADHD are always on the go and can’t seem to sit still for a minute. They may be overly active, restless, talkative, interrupting, and impatient.

This hyperactivity often interferes with daily tasks like school, work, household chores, and social life.

What Causes Hyperactivity in ADHD?

There is no one definitive cause of hyperactivity in ADHD. Instead, it is thought that multiple factors may contribute, including genetics, neurobiology, environment, and brain structure.

Here are some of the most common hyperactive ADHD causes:

It has also been suggested that food additives, artificial colors, and flavors may contribute to hyperactivity in ADHD.

Common Symptoms of Hyperactive ADHD

As mentioned before, hyperactivity is the most common symptom of ADHD. But it’s not the only one.

Here are some other symptoms that may be present in hyperactive ADHD:

  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Noisy
  • Easily distracted
  • Trouble staying on task
  • Impatient and fidgety
  • Talks excessively
  • Impulsive
  • Hyperactivity or a feeling of inner restlessness
  • Fidgeting with hands or feet
  • Disruptive
  • Interrupting others when they speak
  • Struggles to wait their turn
  • Difficulty staying seated, even for activities like eating meals and watching TV.

People affected by hyperactive ADHD often squirm in their seats and need to move around often.

How is Hyperactivity in ADHD Diagnosed?

There is no single test to diagnose hyperactive ADHD. It is a diagnosis that is made after taking into account a person’s medical and psychiatric history and symptoms.

Some of the tests or measures that may be used include:

ADHD hyperactivity symptoms are often easily recognizable, but a healthcare professional should always make a diagnosis.

Treatment or Management Options

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for hyperactive ADHD. The best approach is often a combination of therapies tailored to the individual’s needs.

Some common treatments or management options include:

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy focuses on changing problematic behaviors and improving problem-solving, self-monitoring, and self-control skills. 

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

A type of talk therapy aims to change patterns and behaviors by finding ways to solve problems.  

CBT helps people with hyperactivity recognize their thoughts and feelings and how they affect reactions and behaviors like hyperactivity.

Psychotherapy

A type of talk therapy aims to address the underlying causes and thoughts or feelings behind hyperactivity in ADHD. 

Family Therapy

A type of therapy includes family members and other people who play an essential role in a person’s life. 

The hyperactivity symptoms can impact the relationship between parents and their children and siblings, so treatment needs to consider.

Medications or Stimulants 

The most common medications for hyperactivity in ADHD are stimulants like methylphenidate (Ritalin) and dextroamphetamine (Adderall)

Other drugs used to treat hyperactive ADHD include atomoxetine (Strattera), guanfacine, or clonidine, which can be especially helpful if hyperactivity is accompanied by anxiety or tic disorders. 

While stimulants are often the first line of treatment, they may not be suitable for everyone.

Reduce or Eliminate Food Additives and Artificial Colors

Some people with hyperactivity in ADHD find that eliminating food additives and artificial colors from their diet helps to lessen some of their symptoms.

This approach should only be tried under the guidance of a healthcare professional, as it can be challenging to follow and can have other health implications. 

There is no one-size-fits-all management option for hyperactivity in ADHD. But by understanding the symptoms and seeking treatment, you can find what works best for you or your loved one.

How to Avoid ADHD Hyperactive Symptoms?

There are some things you can do at home to help reduce hyperactivity symptoms in children and adults with hyperactive ADHD:

Eat a healthy diet

Make sure to include foods high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, fats, proteins, and carbohydrates in your diet.

Do not skip meals or snacks; eat small frequent meals instead of large ones.

Ensure that each meal is well-balanced with plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds, lean proteins like chicken or fish.

Limit sugar intake to less than 30 grams a day for children under 12 years old, no more than 40 grams a day for children between 12 and 18 years old, and 50 grams a day for adults.

Be active in some form or another daily.

It is highly recommended that you get at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day. But aim to get more exercise when possible with activities like walking, biking, swimming laps, running stairs, jumping ropes, and other cardio or aerobic exercises.  

Create and stick to a daily schedule

Having structure in your day can help to minimize hyperactivity symptoms. Try to stick to a routine as much as possible, with set times for meals, homework, chores, and playtime.  

Set up a quiet space for your children to do homework or other tasks, and encourage them to use it.

Limit screen time and the use of electronic devices like smartphones because hyperactivity in ADHD can be worsened by too much exposure to technology.

Set rules and limits

Limiting screen time (television, video games, smartphones) and having rules about how long electronics can be used each day can also help to reduce hyperactivity symptoms.

Make sure that there is a designated break time after school where no electronics are allowed, and set bedtimes for both weekdays and weekends.

Create positive reinforcement systems

When your children complete tasks or chores, they are assigned, offer praise and rewards like stickers, points, privileges (extra playtime, dessert, special outing), or money. 

Be encouraging and cheerful, but also be clear about expectations and rules.

Keep a journal of hyperactivity symptoms.

This can help you to track what triggers hyperactivity symptoms in your child or loved one, as well as any treatments that seem to be effective.  

You can also take this journal to your doctor’s appointments and update it as hyperactivity treatment changes.

Remember that being hyperactive is a common symptom of ADHD, but everyone experiences hyperactivity differently.

So, keeping a journal of your specific symptoms can help you come up with a treatment plan that’s unique to you yet highly effective.

Get enough sleep and manage your stress levels.

Most people, especially those with hyperactive ADHD, need to have between seven and eight hours of sleep per night.

Manage stress levels as best you can. Practices like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises may be helpful.

Also, avoid using electronic screens for entertainment two to three hours before bedtime.

These are just some general tips that may help reduce hyperactivity symptoms in people with ADHD. Hence, we highly recommend that you consult a healthcare professional for more individualized advice.

Hyperactive Type of ADHD in Children and Teens

A hyperactive child or hyperactive ADHD symptoms in children and teens may be identified by:

  • Having difficulty playing quietly, getting up to move around during class at school, interrupting others when they speak.
  • Being unable to sit still for long periods of time (for example, while doing homework), fidgeting with hands or feet, squirming in a chair.
  • Being hyperactive and impulsive with behaviors, such as interrupting others while they speak, constantly fidgeting with their hands or feet, having difficulty sitting still during long periods of time (for example, when doing homework), running around without appropriate clothing on for the weather outside. 
  • Blurting out answers in class without waiting to be called on, speaking excessively and rapidly.
  • Having difficulty waiting their turn, being impatient, not taking turns in games or during conversations.

Hyperactivity symptoms can also lead to problems with social interactions and academic achievement. Kids with hyperactive ADHD may have trouble making and keeping friends because they can appear to be too disruptive.

They may talk excessively, interrupt others, or be too physically active during playtime with their classmates.

As a result of hyperactivity symptoms in children and teens, it can also affect their academic performance.

For example, kids who are hyper tend to have a difficult time staying focused on schoolwork, completing assignments on time, and taking tests. This can lead to poor grades.

ADHD hyperactivity symptoms should not be confused with average childhood energy and activity levels.

Normal, healthy children may also have some of the behaviors described above, but they will likely lessen or go away as the child gets older.

ADHD hyperactive type is diagnosed when these symptoms are more severe and occur more often than in other children of the same age.

Hyperactive Type of ADHD in Adults

ADHD hyperactive symptoms in adults may be identified by the following:

  • Having problems staying organized, being late for appointments or deadlines.
  • Problems with follow-through on tasks (for example, forgetting to do errands before getting ready to leave the house).
  • Difficulty concentrating and finishing work at home or work; feeling restless while trying to focus.
  • Frequent daydreaming, feeling easily bored.
  • Excessive talking, being a fast walker.
  • Interrupting others, difficulty waiting turns.
  • Feel restless and fidgety.
  • Talk excessively, interrupt others a lot, or be impatient and easily frustrated during conversations.
  • Have difficulty doing quiet tasks that require sitting still for extended periods of time (for example, listening to a lecture).
  • Get up frequently from their seat in meetings, social gatherings, or while working.
  • Be hyperactive and impulsive with behaviors, such as yelling out answers before others have finished asking questions, being unable to wait their turn, or being impatient.
  • Have problems with alcohol or drug abuse.
  • Experience relationship difficulties due to severe hyperactivity symptoms.

Hyperactivity in adults may also affect their work performance.

For example, adults with hyperactive ADHD may have problems maintaining focus on tasks that require sitting still for long periods of time (for example, doing paperwork), getting started on projects, and following through to completion.

They will often procrastinate or find it difficult to complete assignments without constant supervision or help.

Some hyperactive adults may also have a history of job changes, disciplinary problems at work, or poor performance reviews.

In adults, hyperactivity may not be as easy to spot as it is in children and teens because the symptoms can sometimes look like normal behaviors for adults.

For example, hyperactivity may look like an adult who is frequently “on the go” or experiences problems focusing on tasks.  

This can be misinterpreted as simply being energetic or not wanting to sit still.

However, hyperactivity is actually more severe than that and may lead to problems in the workplace, home life, relationships with others, academic success at school or college, and the overall well-being of an individual.

Concluding Thoughts

While hyperactivity is a common symptom of ADHD, it can also be seen in people without the disorder. 

This makes it difficult to make a diagnosis of ADHD hyperactive type.

However, if hyperactivity symptoms are severe and occur more often than in other children or adults of the same age, then it is likely that hyperactivity is a symptom of the hyperactive type of ADHD.

In some cases, hyperactivity symptoms may lessen or go away as the person gets older, and they will no longer meet the full criteria for the condition at age 18.

However, in other people, hyperactivity symptoms continue to be present throughout adulthood due to the disorder itself. 

Thankfully, there are several treatment and management options available to anyone dealing with ADHD—make sure that you consult a mental health professional to help you plan out the best treatment options.

If you want to learn more about ADHD and how to manage it, check out these educational resources and join this online community of mental health advocates and professionals.

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