ADHD Flags: Warning Signs of ADHD

ADHD Warning Signs

  • Interrupting
  • Unfinished Tasks
  • Impulsivity
  • Inability to Sit Still
  • Problems Staying Organized

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is a mental health condition that is becoming quite prevalent in modern society, so it makes sense that people would want to be aware of the red flags for ADHD, which WebMD shares. There are many signs that could point to the issue, and these vary depending on age and gender. However, let’s take a look at some of the more common ones across the board in order to help identify potential concerns. Of course, these symptoms could be a sign of something else, like a learning disability.  The assistance of a qualified mental health professional is needed in order to make an official diagnosis.

ADHD Interrupting

ADHD warning signs

Constant interrupting can be an ADHD flag. Those with both attentive and hyperactive aspects of the disorder may be prone to self-focused behavior. It can be difficult for them to look outside themselves to the needs of those around them. Thus, interrupting becomes a habit. They have things to say and feel their views are important, sometimes more important than waiting for someone else to finish talking. In fact, taking turns in general can also be one of the warning signs of ADHD. This doesn’t mean these individuals have a character flaw. ADHD and interrupting usually go hand in hand.   Combined with another warning sign, impulsivity, interrupting and trouble taking turns are bound to develop.

So Many Unfinished Tasks…

ADHD warning signs

Because inattentiveness is prevalent to some extent in most folks with this disorder, trouble staying on task is often observed. Individuals may become interested in a number of things, but they find it difficult to stick with just one as their mind or attention flits to the next thing. That’s why it’s not unusual to see chores, projects, homework and other activities remain incomplete without constant prompting. Even enjoyable things can be hard to finish for someone with ADHD who has a hard time seeing things through to the end.

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ADHD warning sign

Impulsivity is a problem for many folks with this condition. They may make rash decisions or act without thinking things through quite frequently. Emotional outbursts can come along with this inability to restrain themselves. Slowing their brain down enough to weigh the pros and cons of a decision is very difficult for someone with this diagnosis.

An Inability to Sit Still

Those on the hyperactive end of the spectrum may exhibit problems sitting still. An inability to sit still one of the most common ADHD flags in children.  Their bodies want to be in constant motion, and this can be most problematic in places like school where quiet attention and stillness is needed. These individuals want to be on the go, and children who suffer most from hyperactivity may be a distraction to classmates and disrupt the teacher.

Problems Staying Organized

ADHD warning signs

Organizational tasks can be red flags for ADHD. Such things as prioritizing, planning and follow-through are difficult for such individuals. Such issues can haunt a person throughout their lives in such settings as school, home and work.  Lack of organization can result in careless mistakes.


ADHD warning signs

Research shows that people with ADHD daydream more than those who don’t have ADHD.  Daydreaming in ADHD causes an individual to lose focus as their thoughts drift off to other things.  It is difficult for the brain to self-regulate in an individual with ADHD.  Sometimes people with ADHD aren’t even aware they are daydreaming.  They might hyperfocus on their daydream, making it more difficult to come back to reality.

While we all daydream from time to time, it could be a sign of ADHD if it causes difficulties in relationships or at work/school.

Avoiding Tasks That Require Sustained Mental Effort

ADHD warning signs

The avoidance cycle is a significant symptom of ADHD and ADD.  When the integration of various areas of the brain fail and the activity becomes difficult, our natural response is to ignore the activity.  In the ADHD brain, that response triggers a cycle of avoidance behavior.

We all avoid unpleasant or difficult tasks.  The difference with an ADHD diagnosis is the degree of avoidance.  If a child is failing courses because they avoid homework or an adult has a poor credit rating because they avoid paying bills, ADHD could be to blame.

Losing Things Necessary for Key Tasks

ADHD warning signs

Misplacing your keys or purse can be very frustrating.  For an individual with ADHD, forgetting items is a daily occurrence.  According to the DSM, frequently losing things is one of the criteria for an ADHD diagnosis.  Losing things is believed to be a consequence of other ADHD flags including disorganization and inattention.  When our mind wanders to other things, we aren’t paying attention to the task at hand, like putting down our keys.  When it is time to find the keys, there have been so many moments of inattention, it’s hard to focus on where they were left.

These are just some of the most common signs to be aware of when it comes to ADHD. There are a wide range of red flags for ADHD, but these should help to start important conversations on the way toward diagnosis.

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