The Hyperactivity part of the term Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be quite misleading. Until very recently, ADHD, particularly the aspect, had the stereotypical association with naughty boys. The boys that hosting parents dreaded getting yes please! RSVPs from at their own kids’ parties. Any child, usually male, who demonstrated an excess of energy was casually referred to as so ADHD.

Nowadays, some of us are a little more enlightened. So, let’s set the record straight. Hyperactive, specifically in relation to ADHD, includes a wide range of behaviours. Here are some examples:

  • Difficulty with sitting quietly – fidgety, twitchy, digits and limbs on the move (stimming), often getting up to attend to something or fiddle with something.
  • Struggling to cope in environments that require stillness for longer periods – meetings, watching films, attending shows or the eternal wait at the GP surgery.
  • Finding the concept of waiting in line excrutiating.
  • Hyperverbalism, including cutting in to conversations, talking over people, finishing others’ sentences or answering incomplete questions.
  • Relaxation, even using techniques such as mindfulness and meditation, proves elusive.
  • With these hyperactive behaviours, impulsivity is another prominent feature for many – shopping extravagances, decisions with lasting consequences made spontaneously, sudden outbursts of emotion.
  • Singing, humming and talking to ourselves.

So far we’ve only touched on the outward signs of hyperactivity in adults, and not all of those! Now, on to that ever-whirring hyperactive mind…

  • Difficulty falling and staying asleep.
  • Racing, often unproductive, thoughts – day and night – that just will. not. quieten. down – wherever we are, whatever we’re doing.
  • Hyperfocus and hyperfixations – hypers feature heavily in our lives.

And this brings us to one that many people wouldn’t imagine would appear in a list about hyperactive traits:

  • Fatigue – the amount of mental and physical effort involved, even the condensed list above, is utterly exhausting. The lethargy in mind and body can be incredibly debilitating, leading to meltdowns, shutdowns and burnout.

There we have it: the complexity of the hyperactivity element for adult ADHDers… Not so very different to children, but so much less fun than creating utter chaos at a bouncy castle birthday party.