Ask the Experts

ADHD or Just Hyperactive?

“My six-year-old was diagnosed with ADHD, but I’m not sure she has all the traits. She can pay attention and gets very good grades – she just cannot sit still in class. Is there such a thing as just ‘hyperactivity disorder’?”

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders recognizes three subtypes of ADHD: primarily inattentive, primarily hyperactive, and combined type. ADHD cannot be the diagnosis if the only behavior is hyperactivity, especially if the hyperactivity occurs during specific situations. If she’s only hyperactive during class, this might be due to anxiety, or perhaps she’s not being challenged by the work and gets bored. I’d discuss your concern with the doctor, and look for other causes of the hyperactivity.

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