What Does Hyperactivity in Adults Look Like?

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"Effectively managing hyperactivity involves a multi-faceted approach that addresses both behavioral and environmental factors."

What Does Hyperactivity in Adults Look Like?

When you picture hyperactivity, you might imagine a child racing around the classroom or climbing the furniture. After all, most of the early research on ADHD zeroed in on little boys who exhibited such behavior. But though it may look different, hyperactivity is just as prevalent in adults. Read on to find out how it manifests, how to know if your symptoms mean you’re hyperactive, and what steps you can take to manage hyperactivity for more calmness and clarity.

How Hyperactivity Manifests

Hyperactivity in ADHD is not a one-size-fits-all concept. It encompasses a spectrum of behaviors and tendencies that can be challenging to pinpoint. Here are some common ways in which hyperactivity manifests in adults.


One of the primary manifestations of hyperactivity is a persistent sense of restlessness. Adults with hyperactivity may find it challenging to sit still or stay in one place for an extended period, which can pose a problem in professional settings and meetings. This restlessness can also manifest physically, with constant fidgeting, tapping, or shifting positions, making it difficult to maintain a calm and composed demeanor.


Impulsivity is another facet of hyperactivity that can have significant consequences. People experiencing hyperactivity may act without thinking, making risky decisions on a whim without considering the potential outcomes. This impulsivity can affect various aspects of life, from personal relationships to work environments.

Talkativeness & Difficulty Engaging in Quiet Activities

Excessive talking and a preference for activities involving high levels of energy are common signs of hyperactivity. Individuals may struggle with engaging in quiet, focused tasks, preferring instead to be in constant motion or engaged in activities that stimulate the mind and body.

Difficulty Relaxing

Relaxation poses a significant challenge for those with hyperactivity. The constant need for movement and stimulation can make it difficult for individuals to unwind and experience a sense of calm. This can make it difficult to stay on task or even to fall asleep. Relaxation and mindfulness techniques that work for others may prove ineffective when not used consistently, leading to heightened feelings of frustration. However, such techniques can be learned over time with consistent practice, helping to train the mind and body to settle down.

Inability to Stay Seated

Remaining seated, particularly in situations that demand it, becomes a considerable struggle for individuals with hyperactivity. This difficulty can create challenges in academic or professional settings and impact overall productivity.

Racing Thoughts

The mind of someone with hyperactivity is often plagued by racing thoughts, making it challenging to focus on a single task or idea. This cognitive restlessness can contribute to feelings of overwhelm and frustration, as the individual grapples with a constant stream of thoughts that may be difficult to organize or prioritize.


Impatience is a pervasive aspect of hyperactivity, influencing how individuals interact with time. Waiting for tasks to be completed, for responses in conversations, or for events to unfold can be a struggle. This impatience can lead to a sense of agitation and may impact the quality of relationships and daily functioning.

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How to Know if Your Symptoms Mean You Are Hyperactive

While there is no specific medical, physical, or genetic test for ADHD, a qualified healthcare professional can help diagnose hyperactivity after gathering information regarding your medical history, family history, and current symptoms. ADHD cannot be diagnosed accurately from one brief office observation, which is why you should always be wary of online diagnosing sites, which are notorious for providing inaccurate diagnoses and prescription drugs after brief 30-minute consultations, or any doctor that prescribes drugs without conducting a full and comprehensive evaluation.

Doctors will typically refer to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) when deciding on a diagnosis of ADHD. Like the manifestations mentioned above, there should be at least five of the following symptoms present for ADHD-Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive type:1 

  • Constant fidgeting
  • Has difficulty remaining seated
  • Extreme restlessness 
  • Difficulty quietly engaging in activities 
  • Feeling like you’re being driven by a motor
  • Excessive talking
  • Blurting
  • Difficulty waiting for your turn
  • Interrupting others

Controlling Hyperactivity Symptoms

Effectively managing hyperactivity involves a multi-faceted approach that addresses both behavioral and environmental factors. Here are some strategies to help control hyperactivity symptoms:

  • Structured routine: Establishing a structured daily routine can provide a sense of predictability, helping individuals with hyperactivity manage their time and activities more effectively.
  • Physical exercise: Regular physical exercise is a powerful tool in managing hyperactivity. Engaging in activities that involve movement and exertion can help channel excess energy and promote a sense of calm.
  • Proper nutrition: Cutting down on sugar, caffeine, and processed foods, and following a healthy diet consisting of whole foods can help reduce hyperactivity and lower the likelihood of experiencing a mid-day crash.
  • Mindfulness and relaxation techniques: Incorporating mindfulness and relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises and meditation, can assist in calming the mind and reducing restlessness.
  • Behavioral therapy: Behavioral therapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), can be beneficial in addressing impulsive behavior and developing coping mechanisms to navigate hyperactivity.
  • Environmental modifications: Making adjustments to the environment, such as minimizing distractions and creating a conducive space for focused activities, can also be advantageous.
  • Adequate sleep: Ensuring adequate and consistent sleep is crucial for managing hyperactivity. Not getting enough sleep is known to exacerbate hyperactivity and other ADHD symptoms.2
  • Controlled screen time: Excessive screen time, especially before bed, can be too stimulating, exacerbating hyperactivity symptoms and making it difficult to fall asleep.
  • Medication: If you make healthy lifestyle changes and behavioral modifications and still feel like you need more support, consider using a medication like Brillia. Consisting of antibodies to the brain-specific S100B protein, which plays a crucial role in how your brain cells communicate with each other, Brillia reduces symptoms like hyperactivity, restlessness, and impulsivity without harsh, synthetic chemicals or harmful side effects. As a result of Brillia’s regulating effect on the S100B protein, the medication also helps to balance out the levels of monoamines in your brain (dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine). These neurotransmitters are highly related to mood stabilization, focus, and attention. Without altering blood chemistry or affecting any other systems in the body, Brillia helps to promote calmness and clarity without masking your personality, causing fatigue or drowsiness, or affecting your appetite in any way. Find out more about how Brillia works, explore our clinical studies, and find out what some of our happy customers have to say about their experience with Brillia in our reviews.    

Want even more support for hyperactivity and other symptoms related to adult ADHD? Check out this podcast episode on taking Brillia for hyperactivity and find more resources on managing ADHD at the Brillia(nce) Resource Center.

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References: 1https://chadd.org/for-adults/diagnosis-of-adhd-in-adults/, 2https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6299464/
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