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Alternative Names Return to topActivity - increased; Hyperkinetic behavior
Definition Return to top
Hyperactivity is a state of too much muscle activity. This term is also used to describe a situation when a particular portion of the body is too active, such as when a gland produces too much of its particular hormone.
See also: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Considerations Return to top
Hyperactive behavior usually refers to a group of characteristics. These can include constant activity, being easily distracted, impulsiveness, inability to concentrate, aggressiveness, and similar behaviors.
Typical behaviors may include fidgeting or constant moving, wandering, too much talking, and difficulty participating in quiet activities (such as reading).
Hyperactivity is not easily defined, because it often depends on the tolerance of the observer. Behavior that seems excessive to one observer may not seem excessive to another. However, certain children -- when compared to others -- are clearly far more active, which can become a problem if it interferes with school work or making friends.
Hyperactivity is often considered more of a problem for schools and parents than it is for the affected child. However, many hyperactive children are unhappy or even depressed. Hyperactive behavior may make a child a target for bullying, or make it harder to connect with other children. Schoolwork may be more difficult, and hyperactive kids are frequently punished for their behavior.
Hyperkinetic (excessive movement) behavior often decreases as the child grows older, and may disappear entirely by adolescence.
Causes Return to top
Home Care Return to top
A child who is normally very active often responds well to specific directions and a program of regular physical activity. A child with a hyperactivity disorder, on the other hand, has a hard time following directions and controlling impulses.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
What to Expect at Your Office Visit Return to top
The medical history will be obtained and a physical examination performed. There may also be a review of the home and school environments.
Medical history questions documenting hyperactivity in detail may include:
The provider may recommend a thorough psychological evaluation.Update Date: 5/8/2008 Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.