ADHD Classic: Symptoms and Info

Classic ADHD is the most common type of ADHD; it is easily recognizable and is usually diagnosed early. While it seems to show more frequently in boys, it is not exclusive to one gender. Due to their constant need for excitement and conflict-seeking behavior, the Classic ADHD person is often the center of attention. They tend to be very active in general, never really standing in one place. The symptoms in classic ADHD are specific to it, whilst the main ADHD symptoms are seen in any kind of ADHD.

The main adhd symptoms

While we are exploring different branches of ADHD, I do want to remind you of the main symptoms. I won’t be going in detail for these here, but they include:

  • Short attention span
  • Difficulty with routines and habits
  • Being easily distracted
  • Problems with impulsivity
  • Procrastination
  • Problems with organization in any form

These ADHD symptoms are sometimes known as the “core” or the main ADHD symptoms. It is very rare, if not impossible, to have ADHD without these specific traits. However, as you’ll see below, with those main symptoms come a plethora of mix and match options.

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ADHD Classic – sounds fancy!

One of the main ways to recognize it is hyperactivity. The Classic type is all about this “excess of energy” we see in the typical ADHD portrayal in movies and a lot of documentaries. That is why we often diagnose it early; they are the most turbulent in class.

Pictured: woman sipping from a coffee cup, captioned "classic adhd symptoms or not, there is no pause button on adhd"

Hyperactivity in ADHD

The main symptom may be hyperactivity, but I think that we often omit some “side-effects” of that hyperactivity. Things like having difficulties waiting for your turn to do something or frequently interrupting other people talking, for example. Someone with a severe hyperactivity trait in their ADHD could also speak excessively; or just about as fast as their brain thinks! They need to make noise and they need to expand energy, a LOT of energy!

isn’t that just being a kid?

Not really, no. Along with a need to use up all of their energy, a kid with ADHD will often have behaviors that would be considered rude. Interrupting people, talking quickly and a LOT, and having trouble listening to others speaking (which, in turn, leads to interrupting) are all behaviors that are not typical to being a child.

Note: I do understand that some children are rude due to poor upbringing, but that is an entire other issue.

classic adhd: symptom list

In addition to the main symptoms, here is what defines classic ADHD:

  • Inattentiveness, having trouble listening when others are speaking
  • Frequently interrupts others
  • Restlessness, possibly fidgeting (i.e.: leg shaking, playing with a small object or pen-clicking)
  • Making careless mistakes or having poor attention to detail
  • Difficulty handling stress
  • Hyperactivity, both physical and mental + talking excessively
  • Having difficulty waiting their turn (whether in a conversation or in line at the amusement park and activities)

As we can see, ADHD encompasses many, many symptoms, this being just one of the ADHD types. But why is that?

It’s all in your head

Quite literally! As I explained in my article about how people with ADHD have physically different brains than neurotypicals, our brains are not made the same. First of all, some key portions of our brain develop more slowly than they should, which is why a lot of types of ADHD give the idea of a learning disability. Second, some portions remain smaller throughout our lives, which can explain why we act the way we do. The brain differences I highlighted all affect specific spots in the brain that have a clear link to ADHD symptoms.

In fact, one specific part of the brain that I mention, the cerebellum, would explain why people with Classic ADHD have trouble waiting for their turn or interrupting people. The lower part of the cerebellum needs dopamine to thrive, and we don’t make enough of that. A dopamine-seeking person would want to cut the line to get the rush faster, or be the center of attention more often.

The main thing to retain here is in the wording: we don’t make enough dopamine, but our lower cerebellum still uses and needs dopamine. If our body lacks in it, we will seek the dopamine elsewhere, in the outside world.

Decorative pattern with a text box, reading: I can't take vacation from my own mind. ADHD symptoms can't be put on hold.
Make sure to check out that brain post! (click on the image to go to it!)

What to do as an adhd classic-type

For Classic ADHD, what you want to focus on is spending energy. It has been proven in a study with ADHD children that cardio before class made it easier for them to concentrate afterwards. While cardio is not the only answer, a good workout session in the morning could be a good solution to handle your Classic ADHD symptoms.

Note that the stronger the hyperactivity, the more exercise may be needed. Now is the time to think of ways to complicate things unnecessarily just to add movement and spend some energy!

Brains, just wanna have fun!

Make it a game, an obstacle course, or a race! Our dopamine-deprived brains crave FUN. It stimulates us and it makes us concentrate so much more. Note that in this case, it is not necessary to be physically engaging; there are plenty of fun games to help us concentrate even while sitting down at a desk.

The worker’s dilemma

Are you working at a desk, by any chance? Even my non-hyperactive ADHD has issues with desk jobs. One small thing you may be able to implement(especially if you are work from home or if your boss is understanding) is to have a sit-stand desk. You should move around a few minutes per hour, but if your job doesn’t let you, a sit-stand desk can give you the option of standing, doing squats, walking or jogging in place, etc.

Sleep tight

After all of that daily exercise, one would think you’d sleep like a bear in the dead of winter. The exercise you do throughout the day will help you, but you may still need to make adjustments to your daily actions for better sleep. Some useful things to try are limiting screen time before bed, limiting caffeine consumption if it keeps you awake(I will have an entire blog post about caffeine and ADHD later), avoiding naps during the day and trying some sleep-inducing teas.

It is a good idea to have 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, or, if you know what your specific needs are, make sure to meet those needs.

Do you have classic adhd?

After all this reading, is this the ADHD for you? Let me know in the comments if you think you have Classic ADHD, which symptoms bother you, and if you have any questions that remain unanswered. I’ll make sure to take a look and see if I can find some answers for you!

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