What is Hyperactivity?The individual may experience strong emotional reactions and impulsive behavior. It is common that he may also experience a short attention span. Though an individual may experience hyperactivity on a situation-by-situation basis, it may develop into a disorder when the symptoms become problematic.
Clinical Symptoms of Hyperactivity DisorderAccording to the DSM-IV-TR, to diagnose hyperactive disorder, six or more of the following symptoms of hyperactivity must persist for at least six months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level: often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat, often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected, often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness), often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly, is often "on the go" or often acts as if "driven by a motor" or often talks excessively.
Implications of Hyperactivity DisorderSymptoms may cause impairment as early as before age seven and can be maladaptive in two or more settings (e.g. at work, school or home). To assess an individual, there needs to be clear evidence of clinically significant impairment in social, academic or professional functioning.
Primary Physician's RoleWith regard to assessment, the American Academy of Pediatrics provides six guidelines:
The child's primary physician should conduct an evaluation for school-aged children presenting with any of the core ADHD symptoms, academic underachievement or behavior problems. The physician should systematically collect information from parents and teachers regarding core symptoms (using empirically supported ADHD-specific rating scales such as the Conners' Parent Rating Scale).