What are the 3 types of ADHD? (2023)

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is not a single, unified condition. Not all people who have ADHD show the same signs or symptoms. Depending on a person's symptoms, they may have one of three different types of ADHD. In this article, you'll learn what these three ways are by learning about the main symptoms of ADHD and what can be done to treat them.

What are the 3 types of ADHD? (1)

What is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that often occurs during a person's childhood. If left undiagnosed and untreated, it can persist into adulthood.

Many of the signs and symptoms become evident during the school years. They may exhibit behaviors such as B. Not being able to sit still, being particularly talkative, daydreaming, being distracted, and having difficulty completing homework.

However, these are just a few of the possible symptoms that a person with ADHD may exhibit, and they can be divided into two main groups: inattention and hyperactivity.

These are important in determining what type of ADHD a person has, and in the next section you'll get a complete picture of ADHD signs and symptoms by reading through the DSM-5 criteria.

ADHD DSM-5 Criteria

The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) is a manual used by all mental health professionals in the United States to diagnose disorders, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Read about the followingdiagnostic criteriaIt is used to help professionals accurately diagnose children and adults in order to initiate appropriate treatment. [1]

(Video) Are There Really 3 Types of ADHD?

  1. Inattention: Six or more symptoms of inattention in children up to 16 years of age, or five or more in adolescents 17 years and older and adults; The inattentive symptoms have been present for at least 6 months and are not developmentally appropriate:
  • Often does not pay attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
  • Often has difficulty sustaining attention on tasks or play activities.
  • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
  • Often does not follow directions and does not complete schoolwork, chores, or job duties (eg, loses concentration, is left out).
  • Often has trouble organizing tasks and activities.
  • Often avoids, likes, or is reluctant to do tasks that require mental effort over a long period of time (such as school or homework).
  • Often loses things necessary for homework and activities (eg, school supplies, pens, books, tools, wallet, keys, papers, glasses, cell phone).
  • Often easily distracted
  • You often forget about daily activities.
  1. Hyperactivity and impulsivity: Six or more symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity in children up to 16 years of age, or five or more in adolescents 17 years and older and adults; The symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have persisted for at least 6 months to a degree bothersome and inappropriate for the person's level of development:

What are the 3 types of ADHD? (2)

  • Often fidgets or pats hands or feet, or squirms in seat.
  • He often stands up in situations where he is expected to sit down.
  • Often runs or climbs in situations where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may feel restless).
  • Often unable to play peacefully or participate in recreational activities.
  • It is often "on the go" and behaves as "powered by a motor".
  • Often talks in excess.
  • Often blurts out an answer before a question is complete.
  • He often has trouble waiting his turn.
  • Often interrupts or annoys others (eg, interferes with conversations or games)
  1. In addition, the following conditions must be met:
  • Multiple inattentive or hyperactive-impulsive symptoms were present before the age of 12 years.
  • Multiple symptoms occur in two or more settings (eg, home, school or work, friends or relatives, other activities).
  • There is clear evidence that the symptoms impair or reduce the quality of social, academic, or occupational functioning.
  • The symptoms are not better explained by another mental disorder (eg, a mood disorder, an anxiety disorder, a dissociative disorder, or a personality disorder). The symptoms are not exclusive to schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders.

Depending on the symptoms reported by these criteria, clinicians may classify them into one of three types, discussed below.

The 3 types of ADHD

Using the DSM-5 criteria and careful consideration of an individual's symptoms, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can be divided into three categories, also known as presentations:

  • mostly inattentive
  • Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive
  • combined presentation

These are the requirements for each type of ADHD as follows:

Mostly inattentive presentation

When a child or adult is diagnosed with the predominantly inattentive type of presentation, it means that they have had symptoms of inattention in the last 6 months (six indicators for children under 15 years of age and five for those over 17 years of age). Symptom group, but not in the hyperactive.

That doesn't mean that someone who is predominantly inattentive doesn't have any symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity. However, signs of inattention, such as difficulty paying attention, following directions, and completing tasks, become much more apparent.

Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive presentation

Instead of symptoms of inattention, this type of ADHD shows quite a few signs of hyperactivity-impulsivity. This means that people with this presentation mainly show signs such as an inability to sit still, restlessness, and talking too much or at inappropriate times.

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What are the 3 types of ADHD? (3)

Due to impulsiveness and excessive movements, this type of ADHD is most commonly associated with injuries and injuries or other accidents. [1] For this reason, parents and teachers of children with hyperactivity-impulsivity problems should try to create a safe environment by removing dangerous objects.

combined presentation

A combined presentation occurs when a person diagnosed with ADHD has many signs and symptoms from the symptom groups discussed. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, theThe combined presentation is the most common typeseen in children. [2]

A combined presentation does not mean that a person has both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity to the same degree. Instead, there are quite a few symptoms of both, 6 for children under 17 and 5 for the elderly. Someone can have all of the symptoms of inattention but only 6 of hyperactivity and still be considered mixed ADHD because the minimum for each symptom has been met.

Although there may be similarities between people, each person with ADHD is different. Certain individuals may have difficulty with certain areas more than others, as can be seen from these different accounts. Still, all of the symptoms can significantly affect anyone with ADHD, regardless of their type.

Are ADHD presentations permanent?

The type of ADHD a person has can change over time and is therefore not permanent. However, this does not mean that people with ADHD will outgrow their symptoms. Rather, it indicates that the condition may develop.

For example, if someone has been diagnosed as predominantly hyperactive and impulsive, there is always a chance that they will transition to the inattentive or combination type as they age.

In fact, it is very common for those who start preschool to have problems with hyperactivity and impulsivity. However, by the time they reach primary school, they exhibit symptoms of inattention that can severely affect their academic performance. [2] Once they reach puberty, the hyperactivity may subside, but the others may still persist.

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This means that parents and doctors need to keep up with their children's symptoms to ensure that they can manage those symptoms and lead more productive lives and improve their chances of success.

How is ADHD treated?

Regardless of the type of ADHD a person has, the condition is treated with a combination of medication and behavioral therapy.

The drugs, which are often prescription stimulants, can help increase levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, which are essential neurochemicals involved in alertness and concentration. There are also non-stimulant medications that people can use that can also help if side effects become a problem.

Although these drugs are considered relatively safe, even at the prescribed doses, they can cause side effects. Therefore, they must be carefully monitored by parents and doctors to minimize these risks.

The drugs are generally not prescribed for children under 6 years of age. Instead, behavioral therapy is usually recommended first.

Behavior therapy can help address many of the other ADHD symptoms and replace negative behaviors with positive ones. Your therapist can suggest techniques such as sticking to schedules and routines and encouraging other healthy habits that can improve discipline.

These good behaviors can easily be rewarded and enforced by parents and teachers without the help of a therapist.

For example, if a child wants to play video games or spend time with friends, they are told to do their homework and have dinner first. If they comply, they should be promptly rewarded after their excellent behavior, as this can help enhance positive reinforcement.

If they don't do this, they shouldn't be rewarded for their bad behavior, which will have the opposite effect on them.

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What are the 3 types of ADHD? (4)

Also, as the child gets older, parents and other guardians will likely need to change their reward and punishment system to achieve similar results.

For example, taking time off might be ineffective for a teenager, but taking away privileges or assigning chores might have a similar effect to taking time off when you were younger.

Do you or your child have ADHD?

Getting help for ADHD requires a diagnosis from a doctor or psychologist. Therefore, it is necessary to make an appointment and as soon as possible, since ADHD is a chronic condition that does not disappear with age.

Many people are not diagnosed until adulthood. Statistics on ADHD in adults are on the rise because the diagnoses were often overlooked.

If this sounds like this might apply to you, then you may as well.ADHD Free Testand determine if you may be dealing with undiagnosed ADHD. It is not a substitute for a diagnosis, but the results can help a doctor determine what type of ADHD you or your child have.

As symptoms change over time, you should continue to monitor and change treatment strategies to ensure they are managed appropriately.


Hopefully, by reading this article, you will have a better understanding of ADHD symptoms and how they determine the type of ADHD a person has. However, no matter how challenging the symptoms may be, ADHD can be treated. People with this disorder can be successful with treatment at home, at school, and for the rest of their lives.

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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, September 21). ADHD symptoms and diagnosis. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/diagnosis.html
  2. National Institute of Mental Health. (2019, September). Hyperactive disorder and attention deficit. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/index.shtml


What are the 3 types of ADHD? ›

Three major types of ADHD include the following:
  • ADHD, combined type. This, the most common type of ADHD, is characterized by impulsive and hyperactive behaviors as well as inattention and distractibility.
  • ADHD, impulsive/hyperactive type. ...
  • ADHD, inattentive and distractible type.

What is ADHD Type 3 overfocused? ›

Over-Focused ADD is the third most common type of ADD. Those with Type 3 ADD can have difficulty shifting their attention. They become hyper-focused on one thing while tuning out everything else. People with Over-Focused ADD tend to get “stuck” in negative thought patterns and behaviors.

How many types of ADD and ADHD are there? ›

Using diagnostic techniques, including non-invasive SPECT scans to study blood flow and brain activity patterns, Amen has found that attention deficit issues are more complex than previously thought; and that, in fact, there are seven different types of ADHD, each with its own symptoms and treatment options.

What are the basic skills for ADHD? ›

Kids and teens with ADHD know what they need to do.
ADHD: 7 Life Skills Your Child Needs to Master
  • Independence. ...
  • Time Management. ...
  • Organization. ...
  • Money. ...
  • Medications. ...
  • Relationship Skills. ...
  • Wise Decision-Making.
Jun 24, 2016

Are there still 3 types of ADHD? ›

The three types of ADHD are primarily hyperactive and impulsive, primarily inattentive, and combined. Each presentation is distinguished by a set of behavioral symptoms outlined in the DSM-5 that physicians use to diagnose the condition. Here, learn those criteria, and what symptoms look like — from severe to mild.

What are 3 main symptoms of ADHD? ›

Some people with ADHD have fewer symptoms as they age, but some adults continue to have major symptoms that interfere with daily functioning. In adults, the main features of ADHD may include difficulty paying attention, impulsiveness and restlessness. Symptoms can range from mild to severe.

What is ADHD Type C? ›

The DSM-IV diagnosis of ADHD in adults and children describes three different subtypes: those who have six or more symptoms of inattention and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms are considered combined subtype (ADHD-C), while those who only meet this criteria for attention are considered inattentive subtype (ADHD-I), and ...

What is Type 2 ADHD? ›

2. ADHD, predominantly inattentive presentation. People who have this type of ADHD have difficulty paying attention. They're easily distracted but don't have much trouble with impulsivity or hyperactivity. This is sometimes unofficially referred to as attention-deficit disorder (or ADD).

What is Type 4 ADD? ›

Type 4: Temporal Lobe ADD

Symptoms: primary ADD symptoms plus a short fuse, misinterprets comments, periods of anxiety, headaches or abdominal pain, history of head injury, family history of rages, dark thoughts, memory problems, and struggles with reading. Often seen in families with learning or temper problems.

What type of ADHD is anxious? ›

While not a clinical diagnosis, "anxious ADD" refers to someone who meets criteria for the neurodevelopmental disorder ADHD and experiences clinically significant symptoms of anxiety. Symptoms typically interfere with their functioning in multiple areas.

How many ADHD traits are there? ›

The symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be categorised into 2 types of behavioural problems: inattentiveness (difficulty concentrating and focusing) hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

What are the different types of ADHD in woman? ›

Symptoms of ADHD in Women

There are three main types of ADHD: inattentive, hyperactive/impulsive, and a combination of the two conditions.

How do people with ADHD behave? ›

Others with ADHD show mostly hyperactive-impulsive symptoms like fidgeting and talking a lot, finding it hard to sit still for long, interrupting others, or speaking at inappropriate times. Many people with ADHD have a combination of inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms.

How do ADHD people learn best? ›

Napping, Breaks, and Memory

Taking a break helps all kids learn more, especially those with ADHD. Studies show that students remember more when they take breaks between study sessions instead of studying straight through for an extended period.

How do people with ADHD act normal? ›

Strategies for Adults Living With ADHD
  1. Get Organized. If you often spend your day trying to figure out where to start but wind up getting very little done by dinnertime, a new organizational approach might be in order. ...
  2. Follow a Routine. ...
  3. Make Big Tasks More Manageable. ...
  4. Minimize Distractions. ...
  5. Respect Your Limits.
May 11, 2021

What is ADD called now? ›

ADD (attention-deficit disorder) is an outdated term for what is now called ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder). Some kids with ADHD have hyperactive behaviors and some don't, but the diagnosis is ADHD either way.

What is ADHD C vs ADHD I? ›

Combined subtype (ADHD-C): The presence of six or more inattentive symptoms and six or more hyperactive-impulsive symptoms. Predominantly Inattentive subtype (ADHD-I): The presence of six or more inattentive symptoms and five or fewer hyperactive-impulsive symptoms.

How many types of ADD are there? ›

Through our brain imaging work, we have identified 7 types of ADD/ADHD. Each type has its own set of symptoms, and when it comes to treatment, one size does not fit all.

Are there different levels of ADHD? ›

Clinicians can designate the severity of ADHD as “mild,” “moderate” or “severe” under the criteria in the DSM-5. Mild: Few symptoms beyond the required number for diagnosis are present, and symptoms result in minor impairment in social, school or work settings.

How do I tell if Im ADHD? ›

Often has trouble holding attention on tasks or play activities. Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly. Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (e.g., loses focus, side-tracked). Often has trouble organizing tasks and activities.

Is ADHD a mental illness? ›

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental disorders affecting children. Symptoms of ADHD include inattention (not being able to keep focus), hyperactivity (excess movement that is not fitting to the setting) and impulsivity (hasty acts that occur in the moment without thought).

What is the rarest form of ADHD? ›

The rarest type of ADHD diagnosed is the hyperactive-impulsive type with no indication of inattentive or distracted behavior, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Which type of ADHD is most common? ›

Combined Type

This is the most common type of ADHD. People with it have symptoms of both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive types.

What is ADHD H vs ADHD I? ›

ADHD-I is most likely to show impairment in school because of the attention demands. At the same time, ADHD-H is more likely to show impairment at home due to behavioral difficulties, and people with ADHD-C are the most likely to show impairment in multiple contexts.

How is type 1 ADHD treated? ›

Psychostimulants are the medications of choice in treating ADHD. The two types that are most commonly used are amphetamine and methylphenidate. Mixed amphetamine salts are marketed under the brand name Adderall®. Methylphenidate is sold under the brand names Ritalin®, Concerta®, Metadate® and others.

Can you have ADHD and be quiet? ›

For starters, not everyone with the hyperactive side of ADHD is loud and talkative. While talking non-stop is part of ADHD for some people, there are many other ways hyperactivity can express itself.

What is Type 6 ADHD in adults? ›

ADD Type 6 Symptoms

Impulsivity. Sensitive to noise, light, clothes or touch. Periods of mean, nasty or insensitive behavior. Grandiose or inflexible thinking.

What is Type 6 ADHD Ring of Fire? ›

Ring of Fire:

Overactivity in the cerebral cortex and other parts of the brain cause all the classic symptoms of ADD in addition to being extremely easily distracted, angry, irritable, and overly sensitive to stimuli such as noise, light, and touch.

What does brain type 7 mean? ›

Type 7: Unfocused Anxiety/Depression is characterized by feelings of anxiousness or low moods in addition to inattention, trouble concentrating, or in some cases, brain fog. This type is often seen in conjunction with ADD/ADHD.

Can ADHD be caused by trauma? ›

Trauma and traumatic stress, according to a growing body of research, are closely associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD). Trauma and adversity can alter the brain's architecture, especially in children, which may partly explain their link to the development of ADHD.

Does ADHD count as a disability? ›

Yes. Whether you view attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as neurological — affecting how the brain concentrates or thinks — or consider ADHD as a disability that impacts working, there is no question that the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) covers individuals with ADHD.

Does ADHD affect memory? ›

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been associated with large magnitude impairments in working memory, whereas short-term memory deficits, when detected, tend to be less pronounced.

What does mild ADHD look like? ›

Adults with mild ADHD can find it challenging to focus for extended periods, are easily distracted, and sometimes act or speak without thinking. Adults with ADHD symptoms have a history of low academic achievements as children.

What is the opposite of ADHD? ›

People with SCT have trouble focusing and paying attention, but they're less likely to be impulsive or hyperactive.

What does a person with ADHD experience? ›

People with ADHD will have at least two or three of the following challenges: difficulty staying on task, paying attention, daydreaming or tuning out, organizational issues, and hyper-focus, which causes us to lose track of time. ADHD-ers are often highly sensitive and empathic.

How can you tell if a female has ADHD? ›

Some key signs of ADHD in girls include:
  • talking frequently or excessively, even when parents or teachers ask them to stop.
  • extreme emotional sensitivity and reactivity, such as crying or becoming upset easily.
  • extreme focus on things that interest them.
  • trouble paying attention to directions at home or school.
Dec 20, 2021

Can you be both types of ADHD? ›

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that can affect a person's behavior. Combined type ADHD occurs when an individual has both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms. ADHD is a behavioral condition that can feature a variety of symptoms.

How do you tell if you have ADHD as a woman? ›

Symptoms and signs of ADHD in adult women can include:
  1. Difficulty with time management.
  2. Disorganization.
  3. Feeling overwhelmed.
  4. History of anxiety and depression.
  5. Difficulty with money management.
Mar 18, 2021

What are the 4 types of ADHD? ›

The latest version divides it into three types:
  • ADHD predominantly inattentive presentation (what used to be called ADD)
  • ADHD predominantly hyperactive-impulsive presentation.
  • ADHD combined presentation (both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms)

What are the 7 types of ADD? ›

Amen, the seven types of ADD/ADHD are as follows:
  • Classic ADD.
  • Inattentive ADD.
  • Over-focused ADD.
  • Temporal Lobe ADD.
  • Limbic ADD.
  • Ring of Fire ADD (ADD Plus)
  • Anxious ADD.
Jan 25, 2019

What are the 5 types of ADHD? ›

Here are the 6 different types of ADHD, each with different brain function issues and treatment protocols.
  • Type 1: Classic ADD. ...
  • Type 2: Inattentive ADD. ...
  • Type 3: Overfocused ADD. ...
  • Type 4: Temporal Lobe ADD. ...
  • Type 5: Limbic ADD. ...
  • Type 6: Ring of Fire ADD.

What is the diff between ADHD and ADD? ›

What is the difference between ADD and ADHD? There is no difference between ADD and ADHD. ADD (attention-deficit disorder) is an outdated term for what is now called ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder). Some kids with ADHD have hyperactive behaviors and some don't, but the diagnosis is ADHD either way.

How is ADHD classified? ›

There are three main types of ADHD:
  1. Predominantly inattentive presentation.
  2. Predominantly hyperactive/impulsive presentation.
  3. Combined presentation.

Is ADD a mental disability? ›

It also includes ADHD (also known as ADD). The three main symptoms of ADHD are hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. All of these impact behavior, mood, and thinking. That's why ADHD meets the criteria for mental illness.

What does ADHD C mean? ›

The DSM-IV diagnosis of ADHD in adults and children describes three different subtypes: those who have six or more symptoms of inattention and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms are considered combined subtype (ADHD-C), while those who only meet this criteria for attention are considered inattentive subtype (ADHD-I), and ...

Can you have ADHD without being hyper? ›

ADHD – Inattentive is formally known as ADD. It is ADHD without hyperactivity. Often developing early in childhood, it's easy to be confused as a parent as to the difference. Hence, if children or adults are not bouncing off the walls, it's easy for these individuals to get labeled as “distracted.”

What inattentive ADHD feels like? ›

People with ADHD of the inattentive type have trouble paying attention to details, are easily distracted, often have trouble organizing or finishing tasks and often forget routine chores (such as paying bills on time or returning phone calls).

Are you born with ADHD? ›

Genetics. ADHD tends to run in families and, in most cases, it's thought the genes you inherit from your parents are a significant factor in developing the condition. Research shows that parents and siblings of someone with ADHD are more likely to have ADHD themselves.

Why is ADD no longer a diagnosis? ›

However, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) only recognizes only ADHD. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) does not provide criteria for ADD. Doctors now consider ADD an outdated term.


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2. Understanding the Different Types of ADHD
3. Working with Brain Trauma and Babies: How soon can we apply Brain Therapy? Bruno Chikly, MD, DO.
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(Psych Hub)
5. 7 Types of ADHD according to Dr. Amen
6. Do You Have Adult ADHD Inattentive Type? Here Are 9 Hidden Signs
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