ADHD symptoms: what are the signs, do they differ from children to adults, why did Jacques leave Love Island?

The rugby player’s family took to Instagram to say that his ADHD meant that he ‘can fundamentally struggle with his emotions at times’

On Tuesday (12 July) night’s episode of Love Island, rugby player Jacques O’Neill made the decision to remove himself from the villa in a bid to save his relationship with fellow islander Paige Thorne.

His departure came days after his family took to social media to ask viewers to be kind to the 23-year-old, sharing that his behaviour on the show could be linked to an ADHD diagnosis he got when he was nine.

This is everything you need to know about ADHD.

What is ADHD?

ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and is a condition that affects a person’s behaviour.

The NHS explains that a person with ADHD can seem “restless, may have trouble concentrating and may act on impulse”.

The exact cause of ADHD is unknown, but it’s understood that the condition can run in the family.

Research has also identified a number of potential differences in the brains of people with ADHD in comparison to those without.

ADHD can affect a persons ability to concentrate (Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)

Factors that may contribute to a person having ADHD include:

  • Being born prematurely (before the 37th week of pregnancy)
  • Having a low birthweight
  • Smoking or alcohol or drug abuse during pregnancy

“ADHD can occur in people of any intellectual ability, although it’s more common in people with learning difficulties,” the NHS says.

People with ADHD can also have additional problems as well, such as sleep and anxiety disorders.

What are the symptoms of ADHD?

The symptoms of ADHD can be split into two types of behavioural problems - inattentiveness, which refers to difficulty concentrating and focusing, and hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

Many people with ADHD have problems that fall into both of these categories, but that isn’t always the case for everyone.

According to the NHS, around two to three in 10 people with ADHD have problems with concentrating and focusing, but not with hyperactivity or impulsiveness. This form of ADHD is also referred to as attention deficit disorder (ADD).

Symptoms in children are more clearly defined than in adults (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

The symptoms of ADHD in children and teenagers are pretty well defined.

The main symptoms of inattentiveness are:

  • Having a short attention span and being easily distracted
  • Making careless mistakes – for example, in schoolwork
  • Appearing forgetful or losing things
  • Being unable to stick to tasks that are tedious or time-consuming
  • Appearing to be unable to listen to or carry out instructions
  • Constantly changing activity or task
  • Having difficulty organising tasks

The main signs of hyperactivity and impulsiveness are:

  • Being unable to sit still, especially in calm or quiet surroundings
  • Constantly fidgeting
  • Being unable to concentrate on tasks
  • Excessive physical movement
  • Excessive talking
  • Being unable to wait their turn
  • Acting without thinking
  • Interrupting conversations
  • Little or no sense of danger

Do symptoms differ in adults and children?

ADHD tends to be noticed at an early age, with most cases diagnosed when kids are between three and seven years old, however it’s sometimes diagnosed later in childhood.

Sometimes ADHD can go completely unnoticed in childhood and is then later diagnosed as an adult.

The symptoms of ADHD in adults are more difficult to spot, largely due to the lack of research into adults with the condition.

Because ADHD is a developmental disorder, it’s believed that it cannot come about in adults without first appearing in childhood - however symptoms of ADHD in children and teenagers can continue into adulthood.

It’s more difficult to obtain an ADHD diagnosis as an adult (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The NHS says that “the way in which inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness affect adults can be very different from the way they affect children” - for example, “hyperactivity tends to decrease in adults, while inattentiveness tends to remain as the pressures of adult life increase”.

Adult symptoms of ADHD tend to be more subtle than that of childhood symptoms.

Some specialists have suggested the following as a list of symptoms associated with ADHD in adults:

  • Carelessness and lack of attention to detail
  • Continually starting new tasks before finishing old ones
  • Poor organisational skills
  • Inability to focus or prioritise
  • Continually losing or misplacing things
  • Forgetfulness
  • Restlessness and edginess
  • Difficulty keeping quiet, and speaking out of turn
  • Blurting out responses and often interrupting others
  • Mood swings, irritability and a quick temper
  • Inability to deal with stress
  • Extreme impatience
  • Taking risks in activities, often with little or no regard for personal safety or the safety of others – for example, driving dangerously

How is ADHD diagnosed?

If you think you or your child have ADHD, then you should speak to your GP. While your GP cannot formally diagnose ADHD themselves, they can discuss any concerns with you and can refer you for a special assessment if required.

If you’re concerned that you, or your child, has ADHD, you should speak to your GP (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

When you see your GP, they may ask you questions about:

  • Your/your child’s symptoms
  • When these symptoms started
  • Where the symptoms occur, for example, at home, in school, college or university, or at work
  • Whether the symptoms affect your or your child’s day-to-day life – for example, if they make socialising difficult
  • If there have been any recent significant events in your or your child’s life, such as a death or divorce in the family
  • If there’s a family history of ADHD
  • About any other problems or symptoms of different health conditions you or your child may have

How is ADHD treated?

While there’s no cure for ADHD, the condition can be managed to make the symptoms less of a problem in your day to day life.

The NHS says that ADHD is best treated with a combination of medicine and therapy. Treatment is generally arranged by a specialist, such as a paediatrician or psychiatrist.

There are five types of medication licensed for treating ADHD:

  • Methylphenidate
  • Lisdexamfetamine
  • Dexamfetamine
  • Atomoxetine
  • Guanfacine

Common types of therapies that may also be used to help treat ADHD include:

  • Psychoeducation
  • Behaviour therapy
  • Parent training and education programmes
  • Social skills training
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy

Does Jacques from Love Island have ADHD?

After Jacques O’Neill made his appearance on ITV dating show Love Island, the rugby player quickly started getting backlash online for his behaviour, particularly in regards to his fellow islander Paige Thorne.

Following criticisms of Jacques, especially after his actions during Casa Amor, his family members handling his Instagram account took to the social media platform to ask viewers to be kind to the 23-year-old, sharing that he had been diagnosed with ADHD when he was nine.

The post included a screenshot about ADHD, which read: “Sometimes, people living with ADHD may behave in ways that come off as rude or disrespectful. These behaviours can stem from challenges with self-control, executive functioning, and self-stimulating action.

“How you perceive their behaviour often depends on your understanding of ADHD symptoms.

“If you start to look at things from their perspective, you may see that it’s not so rude after all.”

The caption of the post, written by Jacques’ sister, said: “Jacques was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 9 years old.

Jacques found a connection in the villa with fellow islander Paige (Photo: ITV)

“By no means is this a get out clause for his actions but it is to show that he can fundamentally struggle with his emotions at times.

“He is an amazing person who I’m proud to call my friend/little brother.

“All the hate thrown towards Jacques doesn’t go to him directly….It comes to his loved ones who have always supported him and not just whilst he is on Love Island.

“Love Island, although real. Is still a show where the producers do have control and we see 45minutes out of the 1440 in 24hours.

“Please be kind.”