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My child is hyperactive – does this mean they have ADHD?

Updated: Oct 29, 2019

Every child is different. A lot of young kids are fully of energy and have short attention spans, so hyperactivity is often a normal part of childhood!However, hyperactivity and inattention can also be signs of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

If you have noticed that your child is significantly more hyperactive than other children his or her age, you might have questioned if they have ADHD.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a developmental problem, which results in poor concentration and control of impulses. It can affect a child’s learning and social skills, and how they interact with their families and with peers and teachers at school.

It is usually first diagnosed in childhood, and often continues into adulthood.

Different children do behave differently, within a normal spectrum. But when a child’s behaviour starts to interfere in the classroom, with homework, and/or with friendships and relationships, this is when we start to worry about it.

About 3-5 children out of every 100 in Australia have ADHD. It is more common in boys than girls.

What are some other signs that my child may have ADHD?

Signs of ADHD may include:

  • Inattention. They may be forgetful, or have trouble following instructions and organising tasks.

  • Impulsivity. They may frequently interrupt conversations, speak out of turn or talk over others.

  • Overactivity. They may be impatient, fidgety and restless.

While some children with ADHD are hyperactive, some are NOT hyperactive. They can present with primarily inattentive features, and appear inactive and unmotivated. These problems usually occur over a long period of time, and in both the home and at school environment. This can affect their schoolwork, and also cause negative interactions with others.

What causes ADHD?

No-one knows exactly what causes ADHD, nor if there are any risk factors for it. Current research, however, shows that genetics play an important role.

Research has shown that things like eating too much sugar, watching too much TV or family turmoil do not cause ADHD.

What next?

If you are concerned about your child’s behaviour, we encourage you to see a GP, who can arrange a referral to a paediatrician or child psychiatrist for a full assessment. They can assess to see if your child’s behaviour is abnormal, if they have ADHD, and what treatment might be helpful for them.

It is important to know that with the right treatment and care, a child with ADHD can live a normal, happy life.

Please feel free to come in and see one of our friendly GPs if you have any concerns. Please contact us on 8340 2233 to book an appointment.


· Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2016, ‘Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD),’ US Department of Health & Human Services,

· Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, ‘ADHD – an overview,’ Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne,

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