Written by Tara Boustany on
September 13, 2021
Reading Time: 15 minutes

Medically Reviewed by our Medical Affairs Team

Written by Tara Boustany on:

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Is Short Temper Symptom of ADHD?

It’s important to understand the symptoms of ADHD and anger issues. Temper is one that can be mistaken for other conditions like bipolar disorder. Temper is an emotional event that has not been controlled by the person experiencing it.

They may also have trouble controlling their anger or frustration. A temper tantrum would be an example of temper. So would yelling at someone who cut you off while driving or getting angry when something doesn’t go your way – even if this happens once in a while. But how do you know if temper could be related to ADHD? Keep reading!

What is ADHD?

ADHD stands for Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. The symptoms of this disorder affect children and adults. They may have difficulty regulating themselves, managing emotions, or following instructions.

How is ADHD Diagnosed?

A doctor diagnoses ADHD by asking questions about the patient’s symptoms. They also watch the patient do things like play. This evaluation should be done by a doctor who has experience with ADHD.

DSM-5 Criteria for ADHD

The DSM-5 is the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It is published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and has almost 300 pages.

The DSM-5 was released in 2013, which replaced the previous edition DSM-IV that was published in 1994. The revision process took thirteen years because it was very important. Mental health professionals had to think about many different disorders while researching them.

The fifth edition of this classification system has five parts. There are clinical disorders, developmental disorders, psychological conditions, behavioral challenges, and disabilities. This manual is for people who do not know how to take care of people with mental illness. It tells you what to do and what not to do.

What Are the Types of ADHD?

There are three types of ADHD: predominantly hyperactive, predominantly inattentive, or combined type.

The main symptoms for each type of ADHD are as follows:

  • Hyperactive-impulsive type is characterized by fidgeting, talking excessively, and interrupting others.
  • Inattentive types have a hard time remembering things. They also forget about what they are doing, and have a hard time paying attention to details.
  • Combined type presents a combination of the symptoms for both types.

Definition of Temper

Temper is an abrupt change in behavior that lasts for a brief time, usually occurring when someone is angry or upset.

The temper has three common undertones: frustration, quick temper, and schizophrenic temper. These tempers are recognized by their reactions to all stimuli. What they get angry about and the intensity of the anger. Also, whether these feelings last longer than others.

Folks with ADHD often let their tempers flare up without knowing why. This is because attention deficit hyperactivity disorder diminishes impulse control. Harsh words may result because the person either did not know better to remain silent or did not realize that what was said needs no defending.

Tips to Control Your Temper

It’s easy to say that temper is just a natural part of life, but it can actually be an ADHD symptom. So how do you control your temper? There are many ways to reduce anger and frustration.

You could practice mindfulness, which involves focusing on your breathing or body sensations in order to calm down. Or you might try replacing distorted thoughts with realistic thinking.

If you are trying to stop having a temper but it doesn’t work, talk to someone who has experience in the field. This includes a therapist or doctor. There are plenty of ways to get started if temper is something that’s been holding you back from living your best life! Here are some tips that may help.

Understand how ADHD affects your emotions

Some people with ADHD may feel that they are unattractive or have low self-confidence. They might be distracted, impulsive, and disorganized.

People can feel sad when they don’t get what they want. They can feel angry if they haven’t done their work, or guilty if they have been mean to other people. People might also feel unhappy and bored because of the negative thoughts that go through their head all day long.

In order to cope with these emotions, it is important to identify them and then figure out how to deal with them. You may want to try a number of different strategies that have been used by others.

Own your feelings

It is important to be aware of how ADHD affects your emotions and temper. Understand that temper is a symptom of ADHD. If you feel yourself getting frustrated or even angry, take some time to bring yourself into the present moment by taking a few deep breaths. Remember that temper is only temporary. Try to find another way to release your energy instead of getting aggressive with someone else.

Practice mindfulness

Take five minutes a day to do a mindfulness exercise, like guided meditation or sitting quietly with your eyes closed. This will help you learn to stay calm and offer you time to recharge if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Refocus your energy

Find something to keep your hands busy, like knitting or even origami. You can also try using a fidget toy. This can be very helpful for those who suffer from ADHD. Do something you enjoy, such as playing a video game or watching your favorite show. You can even listen to music or read a book.

Get physical

Exercise gets the blood pumping, promotes oxygen flow to all your cells and relieves stress. Frequent physical activity can not only help manage temper as well as ADHD symptoms, it also improves your general health and moods.

Use a daily mood chart

You can think of a daily mood chart as a way to document how you’re feeling, and what affects these feelings. For example, if you are feeling sad because your dog died last year, you can use the mood chart to remember what happened.

You might want to make notes about how your mood is affected by things like what you eat, exercise, and friendships, and family environment.

Here are some tips for making a mood chart:

  • Keep it on your phone so it’s always with you.
  • Fill in the time of day when you complete it so you can see if there are any patterns in your emotions.
  • Be honest about what you’re feeling. Don’t try to put on a brave face or cover up your feelings with “positive” words.
  • Write down the emotions you’re feeling, not what caused them or how to fix them. Just write about your feelings.
  • Try to be as specific as possible when you write. Instead of writing “sad,” try writing down how your sadness manifests itself- maybe you feel like sleeping too much, or forgetting things.
  • Look for patterns in your mood chart and think about what is triggering your emotions.
  • Keep the mood chart for a week or two and then review it to see if you can pick up on any patterns

Be assertive, not aggressive

Be assertive and not aggressive. Assertiveness is a form of communication that is based on respect, empathy and understanding. There are many different techniques that you can use to learn to be more assertive. One of the most common ones that I use with patients is called “role-playing.”

In this technique, you practice how to say what you want in a situation by pretending to be someone else who has the same problem.

Know and stay away from your triggers

Stay away from triggers: It’s not always easy to stay away from temper-causing triggers. However, it is possible if you know what they are and take proactive measures to avoid them.

For example, if the temper cause is the TV show you watch with your friends, make a rule that no one can watch without giving each other a warning first.

Be prepared to respond to a situation you know will set off your emotions

Be prepared to react to situations that might make you angry. Make a plan to deal with those situations. In advance, decide how you will react and what steps you can take to stay in control of your temper.

Deal with triggers that set off emotions

Learn to relax. The emotional response is the key. Take time to de-stress and find ways to do so before you are faced with a trigger. Choose not to be around people who make you feel uncomfortable. If someone is a trigger, remove yourself from their company before you have a temper tantrum.

Stay away from negative people and situations. Choose your battles wisely and pick situations that will not lead to temper flare-ups. Do not confront people unless it’s necessary.

Temper often leads to anger but being assertive without being aggressive can work as well. Think about what you want to say, don’t try and speak out of emotion, temper things down a little if need be.

Replace distorted thoughts with realistic thinking

Think realistically about what you’re telling yourself. Is there any reasonable evidence to back it up? If not, then the belief is likely distorted. Replace the thought with one that’s more accurate about the situation you are in.

Express yourself

When you’re feeling angry and your temper is out of control, it’s better to let your feelings be known. The more you bottle up negative emotions, the greater chance they will explode in a way that hurts yourself or others.

It can be beneficial to express how you feel to someone else through non-verbal methods such as writing things down or drawing.

If you’re comfortable with another person, try speaking about your temper in a calm tone. This will help them understand what’s going on inside of you and assist you to find coping methods.

You might also want to keep an anger journal where you write down when something makes you angry or upset throughout the day. It can help you to dig deeper into what is making you angry and reduce temper problems in the future.

Learn to relax and take a time-out

Relaxation can help temper issues and manage stress. It helps with mood regulation and stress levels. You can use a variety of relaxation techniques. Try deep breathing, meditation, or reading a book. Some other ways to take a time-out are to go for a walk or take an afternoon nap. 

Prioritize self-care

One of the best ways to take care of yourself is to schedule downtime.

  • Spend time with your family, friends, or pets.
  • Take a break from social media.
  • Give yourself permission to relax and take a nap.
  • Listen to music or go for a walk outside.
  • Get creative with your self-care by painting or creating something new.
  • Find a hobby that you enjoy and makes you feel good. You can learn a language, volunteer, garden, cook healthy food, or play an instrument.
  • Be kind to yourself by forgiving yourself when you mess up and continue to pursue your goals.

Set your boundaries

If someone is making you feel bad about yourself or if they are trying to make you do something that isn’t good for you, tell them. Set a boundary and stick to it. Take the time to think about what you’re going to say. When we practice mindfulness we learn how to deal with our temper.

We can see what’s happening at the moment and decide whether or not we’ll accept the situation. Mindfulness also helps us control our thoughts. Then we can focus more on the present moment and not on what happened in the past.

When we stay away from our triggers, we keep ourselves out of situations that bring out our temper. If we’re prepared to deal with situations, then when they happen we’ll know what to do because we’ve already thought about them and an action plan in place.

Check for other illnesses

It is important to check and see if temper is a symptom of ADHD, or if it is another illness. There are many factors that can contribute to temper, including genetics and environment. It may be helpful to talk to your doctor or a counselor about your temper.

They will be able to determine if temper is due to ADHD, as well as what treatment options would be best for you. Mental illnesses can have a huge impact on family, social life, school, and employment.

ADHD is also linked to additional mental health problems. Those with ADHD might have undiagnosed learning difficulties. That stress may be compounded by them.

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) can produce angry outbursts. The oppositional defiant disorder is a mental illness that is characterized by temper tantrums. Most children will have temper tantrums but not all of them are suffering from ODD.

The typical age of appearance for signs of Oppositional Defiant Disorder is during the preschool years. ODD occasionally develops later, but it almost always appears before the early adolescent years.

Recognizing this natural connection between emotional dysregulation and ADHD is also critical. Determining what certain conditions are related or identical can be done through this. An example is disruptive mood dysregulation disorder.

People who have disruptive mood dysregulation disorder often have strong, intense temper outbursts. They are always angry and unhappy. The symptoms of DMDD go beyond a “bad mood.” DMDD symptoms are severe. Youth with disruptive mood dysregulation disorder have a hard time at home, at school, and with friends.

They tend to have high rates of health care service use, like hospitalization, and school suspension. They are also more likely to develop other mood disorders.

Irritability and depression symptoms are other issues that can make one think they may have ADHD. Although you can experience these with ADHD, they can also be factors on their own. ADHD and depression often go hand in hand. It is important to get them both treated if you suspect that’s the case.

Find help now

If you have Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, you might be wondering how this disorder will affect your life. You may also be wondering what you can do to manage it. You can find the help that you need by looking for a specialist near you.

Ask your family physician or pediatrician for a referral to a clinician that specializes in ADHD. From there, work with them to come up with a personalized plan of action so that you can thrive!

Once you have found the right help for yourself, it is important to be proactive about managing ADHD. This means staying on top of your treatment plan.

The more you know about this condition, the better equipped you will be when it comes time to make important decisions for yourself.

Symptoms of ADHD

ADHD is one of the most prevalent psychiatric conditions in children. It affects 3% to 7% of school-aged children.

Core symptoms can appear at any age but are more commonly seen in school-aged children. ADHD symptoms usually continue into adulthood for approximately 60% of people who have it as children.


  • Is easily distracted by extraneous stimuli or has difficulty focusing on instructions or tasks.
  • Has difficulty completing tasks or activities that require organization and concentration.
  • Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
  • Often fails to pay close attention to details, misreads information, overlooks important things.


  • Fidgets and talks excessively, interrupts/intrudes on others or cannot stay still for a long time.
  • Has difficulty engaging in leisure activities quietly or for long periods of time.
  • Is always moving, running around at home and school/work.
  • Talks excessively.
  • Make careless mistakes.
  • Overshares personal information with strangers or people they barely know.


  • Frequent temper tantrums or outbursts, especially when frustrated
  • Has a strong temper and is quick to temper
  • Temper flares easily when frustrated, angry, or annoyed.


Impulsivity is a symptom of ADHD, diagnosed by DSM-5 Criteria. People with impulsivity often act before thinking through consequences. This can lead to temper issues. Talking too much, interrupting other people’s conversations, and not staying on task are common signs of ADHD. Practicing mindfulness can help with this condition.

Related Conditions in Children and Teenagers with ADHD

Other related conditions in children and young adults with ADHD are the following:

  • Depression
  • Social awkwardness
  • Anxiety
  • Suicide

Related Conditions in Adults with ADHD

Other related conditions for adult ADHD are the following:

  • Mood swings
  • Addictive behavior
  • Low self-esteem
  • Financial difficulties

Common Challenges of People With ADHD 

People with ADHD face a lot of challenges that most people do not face. People have temper outbursts when they are feeling stressed. A person might yell or break something during these times.  Impulsivity means you do not think before you do things.

Impulsivity can make people mad when their friends and family don’t understand that impulsivity has a name: ADHD. Impulsivity can affect temper at work, school, or in social settings. It can be frustrating when the person with impulsivity is not able to control their temper.

Some of the challenges faced by people with ADHD are:

  • Having a temper and angry outbursts.
  • Feeling jealous and having low self-esteem.
  • Trouble getting started on tasks such as chores or homework.
  • Being impulsive and not able to wait for something fun to happen before acting.
  • Not being able to focus on one task at a time.
  • Troubling memories pop up without warning, such as in school or when in public places.

Problems at School

Problems at school can be a symptom of temper and ADHD. The temper problem manifests as anger which is inappropriate to the situation. The child may also become aggressive or disrespectful. ADHD typically manifests as inattentiveness, distractibility, and impulsivity.

Inattentiveness is defined as a lack of attention to tasks and homework given by teachers and parents. This results in incomplete work and low performance overall because of inefficiency.

Distractibility is often manifested by paying attention to other things than what the teacher or parent asks for or wants them focused on. Impulsivity manifests as making quick decisions without thinking through the consequences first. This leads to many poor decisions throughout their school career.

Problems at Work

A temper can cause problems at work. For example, temper control may get in the way of completing tasks. A temper may also get someone fired. To avoid problems at work, you should know how to be mindful of your temper and how it can affect your emotions and reactions. This way, you can respond appropriately to the situation. To control your temper, you can do things like taking time to be active and relax. These are all ways to help you deal with difficult situations at work.

Problems in Life

Living with ADHD is a lot like swimming upstream in a river. It’s difficult to stay focussed, you’re easily distracted and it feels like an uphill battle that is going nowhere. This can cause problems in both your career and personal life. A person with ADHD may get mad quickly when they see something that is not fair or just.

They may also have missed deadlines or fallen behind on work tasks because they don’t plan ahead and prioritize what needs to be done. These people might not take care of their family responsibilities.

They may get a car that they can’t pay for, or fill up the tank in it before getting stuck in traffic. This can lead to more problems when you need milk from the grocery store one day after school, but forget to bring it with you when you left the house.

Relationship Problems

Many individuals with temper difficulties have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. ADHD can cause significant issues in your relationships.

The following are three ways that ADHD can cause relationship problems:

  • A temper can lead to outbursts or shouting matches.
  • A temper can also cause occasional mood swings where someone seems energized one minute and frustrated the next.
  • A temper may lead to impulsive decisions which could do damage between family members or friends.

What Causes ADHD?

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disturbance that begins in childhood. It’s caused by a range of extensive factors, including environmental, genomic, and other brain misfires.

Some causes of ADHD are not well-understood. These include head injury, oxygen deprivation at birth, prenatal toxins such as alcohol or drugs, and genetics.

If a baby is around drugs while they are in the womb, they might not show any symptoms of ADHD when they are born. But later in childhood or adolescence, ADHD can happen.

How Is ADHD Treated?

The main type of treatment for ADHD is psychotherapy and/or medication. There’s no single therapy that works for everyone. The right therapy depends on the individual and their situation.

One very popular therapy is called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT helps people to replace negative thoughts with positive ones and change behavior patterns. It also helps treat PTSD symptoms like nightmares.

Experts recommend that you do therapy. You will learn about other things that can help you if you have problems like depression or not being able to make friends.

Another option is to use medications alongside behavioral treatments. For kids under six years old, drugs are rarely prescribed. Kids this age usually do better with behavioral therapy only.

Doctors may prescribe ADHD medication for adults, but only if the person has tried other therapies first and they haven’t worked well. There’s a wide range of medications that doctors can use to treat ADHD in children and teens, all with varying levels of success.

Scientists are still investigating how ADHD drugs work. They believe that they improve signals transmission in the brain.

Medications to Treat ADHD

There are two main groups of medications for ADHD: stimulants and non-stimulants. What is the difference between stimulant medication and non-stimulant medication?

Stimulant ADHD drugs increase dopamine levels in the brain, which can be helpful for those who have a natural dopamine deficit. Non-stimulant ADHD drugs can reduce the amount of norepinephrine and/or serotonin in certain cells.

Because there are two types of medications used to treat ADHD, not all patients will benefit from stimulant medications.

A patient may need a different type of medication if they are not feeling the benefits from the medication or if all of the side effects are too much. It can take up to 12 weeks before you notice positive changes in your day-to-day life as a result of taking medication.

Therapy and Other Behavioral Treatments

There are two types of therapy that work for temper symptoms from ADHD. The first is called behavioral therapy. Behavioral therapy is a type of treatment. In this treatment, parents and educators work together to change children’s behaviors. This therapy often takes the form of rewards and punishments to shape good and bad behaviors.

Another popular therapy technique is called cognitive behavior therapy. Research has shown that this type of therapy helps people with ADHD symptoms and temper outbursts. The therapist will work on helping you identify the origins of your temper outbursts.

They will then teach skills to cope with emotional difficulties before they happen. They will teach you how to make better choices at the moment, and not to automatically react. They will also help you think more realistically about your temper outbursts and to accept what is happening.

Other Things You Can Do to Manage ADHD

Besides medication and therapy, there are several things you can do on your own to help temper from ADHD. These include:

  1. Pay attention to your temper. To make behavior modifications, it is critical that you first gain a complete handle on your moods. Begin tracking your emotions every day by keeping track of what occurred before you became furious and how long it took for you to feel better. This will help you identify what triggers your temper and show that tempers don’t last forever.
  2. Express your emotions appropriately, not aggressively or violently. It’s vital to understand when mood disorders, like depression or OCD, are affecting your temper. Make sure to talk with a doctor about the sequence of temper outbursts in relation to other symptoms.
  3. Have someone who understands ADHD as well as temper supervise you or monitor you when your temper seems to be out of control.

ADHD News & Research

There has been a lot of study and news dedicated to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder recently. In a dictionary or a scientific journal, look for the difference between temper and tantrums. There is also a difference between temper and depression. Finally, there is also a difference between temper and anger.

There is a great deal of information out there about ADHD. It is constantly being researched. As we learn more about temper and ADHD, additional treatment choices will become available to assist those who have the condition.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

We want to make sure you are getting the best care possible. We have provided this list of questions you should ask your doctor.

  • What is the best way for me to deal with temper outbursts?
  • How can I manage my temper without medication or other interventions?
  • Am I at risk of developing any long-term health issues due to temper problems?
  • What temper-related concerns should I be watching out for now that my temper is under control?
  • Do you think temper problems are symptomatic of ADHD or do they occur independently of the condition?
  • Is temper a symptom commonly associated with adult ADHD / ADD, and what can I expect if it does become an issue?

Start by asking about your specific health concern. Move on with any other personal information that may seem relevant (i.e., family history). Include details such as medicines or supplements taken regularly. Be as specific about symptoms including weight changes and sleeping patterns.

If you are still wondering whether or not you or your loved one has ADHD, feel free to take this ADHD quiz today.

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