ADHD Signs, Symptoms, and Triggers

According to the CDC, 9.4% of children have ADHD. Could your child be one of them and do you know the best way to treat it? 

What is ADHD? 

Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in children aged 3-17, according to the CDC. Any child is susceptible to ADHD, but it is most likely to occur in boys. Today, we will go into more detail about ADHD, including the signs, symptoms, and treatment options for your child. 

Understanding ADHD 

ADHD can manifest, or present, itself in three different ways. The symptoms and signs of ADHD can change over time, so the presentations of ADHD can change as well.

Predominantly Inattentive presenting ADHD means that it is hard for the person to pay attention to directions or conversations. Your child may need reminders for everyday tasks they need to complete, such as making their bed.

Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive presenting ADHD means that your child may have difficulty with impulse control, fidgeting, or talking out of turn. Children with this form of ADHD may interrupt others or grab toys or other things from people without permission.

Combined presentation simply means that your child, or the person with ADHD, shows signs and symptoms of both types mentioned above.

One of the things to be aware of is the difference between typical behavior in a child and behavior that is present in a child with ADHD. Let's be honest, most children you know have had one moment where they were inattentive or hyperactive. "Young children are naturally energetic." says the Mayo Clinic. 

"Children should never be classified as having ADHD just because they're different from their friends or siblings."

It's important to speak with your child's teacher about their behavior at school and compare it to the behavior seen at home. Do you notice differences in the behavior demonstrated at school versus behavior at home with siblings or peers? If so, it may be time to speak to your doctor.

ADHD in Children

ADHD can manifest itself in many different ways. We will discuss some things to be aware of and what to look for in different age groups of children. Children from preschool age to 2nd grade can have a very different ADHD experience compared to teenagers. It's all about knowing your child and what to look for.

For example, children who are from preschool age to 2nd grade can do things like take toys from their peers without asking, have a hard time following directions or staying in their seats, and fidget frequently. On the other hand, children ages 13-16 can have issues with time management, organization, and completing homework or other assignments.

If you believe your child may be struggling with ADHD and you have noticed these behaviors in your child, be sure to take note of them. Keeping a log of the behavior, when it happens, and how your child reacts is important information to take when you make an appointment with your pediatrician. 

ADHD Triggers 

A number of things can trigger or worsen ADHD. Some of the most common triggers include sleep deprivation, low physical activity, and technology use. Here, we'll dig deeper into what can trigger ADHD and what you can do to make it manageable. Sometimes, a simple lifestyle change can make a world of difference. 


Around 50% of people who have ADHD also have trouble sleeping at night. Sleep deprivation symptoms tend to exacerbate ADHD symptoms in children. Some of the most common side effects of sleep deprivation in children with ADHD affect their attention, impulse control, energy levels, and comprehension.

While each child is different and sleep requirements vary by age, children ages 6-13 should receive anywhere from 9 to 11 hours of sleep each night. Getting a good night's sleep could make managing ADHD symptoms easier the next day, according to Healthline. 

Physical Activity 

Keeping your child active is not only good for their overall health, but for managing ADHD. Physical activity is important for kids of all ages, and each child should get 60 minutes (or more!) of physical activity each day.

Exercise can help with memory, building strong muscles and bones, self-esteem, and more in children. Children with ADHD can further benefit from exercise with improved mood, regulation of emotions and behavior, and enhanced retention of information. 


While there is no definitive answer as to whether or not children are negatively affected by the overuse of technology, scientists are seeing trends in recent studies related to this. A recent study with high school students showed that students with high exposure to technology showed symptoms of ADHD, such as inattentiveness and hyperactivity.

Children who have ADHD and spend prolonged periods of time on technology may experience worse symptoms of ADHD. Technology is an incredible resource for many children and can assist them with daily functions at home and school, but it is important to be aware of their time on their devices. 


Think your child may have ADHD? You are in the right place! Call us today at 910-763-2476 (Wilmington, NC office) or 910-777-2013 (Hampstead, NC office).

Easily schedule your appointment online with our patient portal! 









Starting Saturday July 15, 2023 we will be allowing walk-in visits between 8-10 a.m. for patients with acute illnesses with recent onset. We will only be offering walk-in visits on Saturday mornings in the Wilmington office.

Wilmington Office

715 Medical Center Drive
Wilmington, NC  28401

Phone: (910)763-2476
FAX: (910)763-8176

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Hampstead Office

16747 US HWY 17N, Suite 114 Hampstead, NC  28443

Phone: (910) 777-2013
FAX: (910) 821-1060

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