Understanding the 3 Types of ADHD

Despite all of the confusion and misunderstanding surrounding ADHD, understanding the three main types of the disorder is crucial to managing the condition. By understanding the differences between the different types, you will be able to use strategies to better manage symptoms and enhance your well-being. Knowing your disorder’s origin and the specific behaviors it causes will help you develop greater compassion for yourself. And, as you gain understanding, you’ll be able to better manage your symptoms.


People with inattentive ADHD may struggle to meet deadlines, pay bills on time, and send birthday cards. Oftentimes, these symptoms are mistaken for laziness or rudeness, but they are more likely the result of an underlying attention problem. Inattentive ADHD may lead to a lack of social interaction and social awkwardness. If you think that your child is inattentive, there are several ways you can tell.

Inattentive ADHD is characterized by repeated forgetfulness, which can result in incomplete tasks or missing steps of a process. People with this type of ADHD may also be prone to missing appointments and job duties. Children with inattentive ADHD may regularly lose or misplace items necessary for school or daily activities. In addition, they may display unusual misplacing of important items. Often, these symptoms are a sign that a child has an ADHD.

While many of the symptoms of ADHD are similar in both sexes, females are more likely to be diagnosed with inattentive than inattentive. Several studies suggest that genetics may play a role in developing this disorder, especially when it comes to inattentiveness. Low levels of dopamine may also be a contributing factor. Various medications and therapies are available for both genders, and can help with the symptoms.


Hyperactive ADHD is a common condition affecting children and adults. Children with this disorder may sing or hum. Adults may leave meetings or assigned positions. Both children and adults with this condition have trouble being quiet. Hyperactive individuals also may not wait their turn. Children may be disruptive during school or at home and crash into walls and climb on things. However, these behaviors are not always the result of ADHD. In fact, restlessness is usually a more internal feeling than an outward manifestation.

While a majority of adolescents have symptoms of hyperactivity, teenage girls generally do not display the disruptive behaviors and interruptive behavior associated with the hyperactive type of ADHD. This is because women are socialized to hide their emotions and have fewer symptoms of ADHD than their male counterparts. As a result, women with this disorder are less likely to be diagnosed. They tend to hide their problems and internalize their difficulties. But a child with this condition should not be regarded as a “troublemaker.”

Inattentive children do not have this disorder. Instead, they have a high energy level and have trouble sustaining attention. Hyperactive children have trouble making eye contact and expressing their thoughts in conversations. They tend to cut off conversations. This means they cannot focus on what they are trying to say. The hyperactive type of ADHD child will often cut off people who are trying to communicate with them. This disorder can have serious consequences, especially for relationships.


In a recent study, researchers followed a cohort of children diagnosed with combined type of ADHD throughout childhood. Their primary aims were to describe the rates of persistence of the disorder, investigate differences in outcome between children with persistent and subthreshold ADHD, and explore current symptomology and childhood predictors. They found that the combined-type population was more likely to experience higher rates of hyperactivity and impulsivity. These findings point to a more common underlying cause for ADHD.

Children with the inattentive type of ADHD are easily distracted and disorganized. These characteristics may be most noticeable during school. As adults, attention problems may become less visible, as they may develop coping skills to cover up the problem. But for a diagnosis of a Combined type of ADHD, a child must have five of the following signs:

Symptoms of the combined type of ADHD usually overlap with those of the predominantly hyperactive-impulsive form. While children with this form of ADHD are generally fidgety and talkative, adults with the combined type are more likely to display both kinds of symptoms. They may also show difficulty with impulse control and maintaining attention. However, while both types of ADHD can be difficult to identify in a child, the combined type is likely to require professional help.

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