Skip main navigation

What is and what is not ADHD?

Catharina Hartman gives an answer to the question what's the difference between somebody who's just noisy or easily distracted and somebody with ADHD.
8.2
CATHARINA HARTMAN: So what’s the difference between someone with ADHD and someone who is hyperactive, impulsive, or inattentive sometimes? That’s a good question, and your answer isn’t easy. ADHD is not an all or nothing kind of disorder. There are many people around with some symptoms of ADHD, but they don’t get the diagnosis, because they’re not impaired. So if you go to the baker to get bread, but you come back with a cake because it looks so delicious, you may have been impulsive, but you don’t have ADHD. And when you don’t clean up your room for a while and you lose a couple of things, that doesn’t mean you have ADHD either. So what’s the difference between ADHD and not ADHD?
53
You have to have multiple symptoms and in more than one situation, for example, at school and at home. You have to be impaired by these symptoms, such that you cannot accomplish your daily tasks. And finally, your symptoms have to be present since childhood. If you have all this, then you have ADHD.

In this video Catherina Hartman explains the difference between someone with ADHD and someone who occasionally does not pay attention or is very active or impulsive.

This article is from the free online

Young People and Mental Health

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education