It can be treated with medical diagnosis.

People with the condition may become depressed or anxious, especially if they struggle to find effective treatment programs.

Education resources


What is hyperactivity?

Hyperactivity – characterized by constant movement, impulsive, and aggressive behavior – is a condition in children and adults. It can be a symptom of another health condition, such as ADHD. Doctors will try different approaches to help people who have hyperactivity.

Hyperactivity is a state or condition of excessive activity that might be unusual within its context (a child being unable to sit and listen in a lesson) or abnormal (an adult displaying aggressive behavior, for example.) It can be difficult and sometimes upsetting for people with hyperactive tendencies and those around them, including family members, friends, teachers, and employers. Hyperactivity can be challenging.

What are the causes of hyperactivity?

A range of physical and mental conditions can lead to hyperactivity. These conditions include those that affect the thyroid or nervous system. Some of the most common are:

  • ADHD
  • Brain disorders
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Nervous system disorders
  • Psychological disorders

Lifestyle factors may also lead to hyperactivity, such as the use of stimulant drugs. These might include prescription drugs or recreational drugs such as methamphetamine and cocaine.

Broad characteristics of hyperactivity

Common characteristics of hyperactivity include the following:

  • Constant movements, which may be almost unconscious and very difficult for the individual to control or lesson
  • Impulsive behavior, which can lead to risks with substance abuse, injuries, and other risky behaviors
  • A lack of concentration and focus, which is difficult for children at school and people at work
  • Aggressive behavior can cause strained personal relationships and lead to accidents.

What are typical signs of hyperactivity in children?

Children with hyperactivity can display certain impulse behaviors and struggle to concentrate at school. Signs include:

  • Speaking out of turn (such as during group work or when a teacher is leading a lesson)
  • Blurting out words when they should be quiet (during a period of classtime concentration)
  • Hitting or pushing other children and teachers
  • Difficulties in remaining seated

What are typical signs of hyperactivity in adults?

Common signals include:

– A short attention span
– Difficulties remembering information such as dates, names, and numbers
– Difficulties with concentration and focus at work

Implications of hyperactivity

Hyperactivity can lead to various challenges in the lives of people with the condition and those around them. For example:

  • Children may struggle at school, and adults may struggle at work
  • Children may find making and retaining friendships challenging, and adults can find it difficult to maintain relationships.
  • Hyperactivity may lead to injuries and accidents through impulsive behavior
  • It increases the risk of alcohol abuse
  • It can lead to feelings of isolation, anxiety, and depression. This is particularly the case in older children, teenagers, and adults, who may anticipate complex outcomes from their condition.

The link between hyperactivity and other conditions

Research shows that hyperactivity is often a symptom of something else, including physical or mental health conditions. For example, one of the most common conditions linked with hyperactivity is ADHD.

Hyperactivity diagnosis

When people have ADHD, they are often inattentive, overactive, and prone to poor impulse control. Increasingly, ADHD and ADD are diagnosed in childhood. When a diagnosis is made in childhood, it can be easier to prescribe the right treatments and find the right support plan.

As awareness about hyperactivity and ADHD has grown in recent years, many adults are now being diagnosed with the conditions for the first time. This can be a mixed experience for those who have struggled throughout their lives, even though they may benefit from increasingly effective treatments as adults.

Treatments for hyperactivity

The good news is that hyperactivity is a treatable condition, and the treatments used for it are being improved and developed constantly. People must get an early assessment and treatment to get the best results.

Many adults diagnosed with hyperactivity have shown signs of it since childhood.

What is the diagnosis process for hyperactivity?

The first step for parents is to speak to a doctor if they have concerns. The parents may have raised these concerns directly or via the school. Often, teachers are well placed to see the early signs of hyperactivity and other linked conditions.

The doctor will investigate the symptoms and ask when they first began. They will look at the patient’s health overall and consider any existing conditions and medications. The answers to these questions can help the doctor assess the following:

  • Which kind of hyperactivity may be present
  • Whether an existing condition is causing it
  • Whether a new condition is stimulating it
  • Whether it is a side effect of medication.

The doctor may also take urine or blood samples as part of the appointment to measure hormonal levels. This is important to rule out any underlying hormone issues. For example, hyperactivity can be caused by a hormone imbalance.

Treatments for hyperactivity

The first stage is to get a complete diagnosis. The doctor will then consider the best course of action. This could include medications and a program of therapy. Therapy is particularly effective if the patient has other mental health conditions. Still, it can take time to have an effect and may not be suitable (or available) in all instances. Medication can have immediate effects, but it usually has side effects.

Therapeutic interventions for hyperactivity

Therapeutic interventions include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT, and talk therapy, which can effectively treat the symptoms of hyperactivity. CBT is a proven technique that adjusts your thought patterns and the resulting behaviors. Talk therapies involve discussing your symptoms and experiences with a qualified therapist. The therapist can help to devise strategies that help people with the condition manage and reduce its effects.

Medical treatments for hyperactivity

Medications may be prescribed to children and adults to calm symptoms. Typical treatments include:

  • Dextroamphetamine and amphetamine (Adderall)
  • Dexmethylphenidate (Focalin)
  • Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse)
  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
  • Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine, Dextrostat)

If misused, some of these medications can become habit-forming. Doctors will monitor the use of these symptoms to prevent any unwanted issues from forming. Doctors may also recommend that patients avoid stimulants such as nicotine and caffeine, which can exacerbate the effects of prescription drugs.


Hyperactivity can be present in children and adults, often as a link to another condition, such as ADHD. It can be distressing for people with the condition and those around them, so seeking a diagnosis as early as possible with the right treatments and support is essential.