The Three ADHD Types

The Three ADHD Types

Categories of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is an intricate neurodivergent disorder that affects an individual’s ability to do daily tasks, manage workplace or school environments, and act in certain circumstances. The challenges or difficulties can result in the judgement of others. Still, it is essential to note that the symptoms and severity differ from one individual to the next. Much was understood when Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder began to be recognized in the early 1900s. However, today, we are aware of more.

We know it is an affliction that causes behavioural issues, which means it’s not an attitude issue. During their research, experts have found that this neurodivergent issue may be related to the brain’s structure. There are differences in the brains of people with ADHD and those with neurotypical symptoms.

In terms of learning, a lot has been discovered in the last century. The discoveries range from how it affects children’s behaviour to how it may create problems for adults. Of course, research has also helped find other signs that are commonly seen.

The experts initially thought that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) could be a problem only for children who are unfocused or easily distracted. We now know that mental health professionals can classify ADHD into three types depending on the primary symptoms.

Attention Deficit Disorder: With and Without Hyperactivity

The earlier version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders initially utilised”Attention Deficit Disorder with or without Hyperactivity because their emphasis was on the patients’ (primarily children’s) inability to regulate their behaviour. Experts then didn’t believe that Hyperactivity was a typical condition; they created the subtypes without or with Hyperactivity.

However, the American Psychiatric Association soon realised that Hyperactivity was a prevalent symptom. Therefore, in the 3rd edition, DSM added Hyperactivity to the list of manifestations, inattention, and the tendency to be impulsive. This is why they changed ADD into what we recognize as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD. However, at this time, three kinds of ADHD were not present.

They were first established in the 4th edition of DSM. In the present, when a trained mental health professional can diagnose someone with ADHD, they also have to determine the kind of ADHD the patient has.

As per the American Psychiatric Association, to identify ADHD precisely, the adult or child must satisfy various criteria based on what kind of ADHD they are suffering from.

Types of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ADHD is a complicated condition, and, as such, it can be challenging to identify it. For example, a few people I know have had issues with something I don’t have a problem with; however, we both received the ADHD diagnosis.

Therefore, I may have to improve my emotional regulation as I struggle with dealing with my reactions to unavoidable circumstances. However, a person I know can manage her emotions like a pro! The best part is that we all have ADHD! This proves that ADHD experiences differ from one person to the next.

This is where different kinds of ADHD become apparent. It is important to note that the ADHD symptoms we experience may differ from other types. Mental health professionals will evaluate the present symptoms to determine the kind of ADHD an individual may suffer from. Following a thorough assessment, it is possible to have ADHD diagnosed by analysing these.

Three ADHD Types:

  1. Predominantly Inattentive Type
  2. Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type
  3. Combined Type

It is essential to understand how the symptoms and characteristics of ADHD are displayed in various ways and is advantageous for a variety of reasons. It will help teachers, parents, and mental health professionals know what you are experiencing as a person with ADHD. It is also possible to discuss the methods of tackling and treating ADHD with your physician and what you could do to make life with ADHD more manageable for you.

Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation

According to the DSM-V, the majority of people with the hyperactive-impulsive type of ADHD tend to have the urge to be constantly on the go, have struggles in controlling impulses, or make rash decisions. The majority of children suffering from this kind of ADHD are maybe those who have trouble sitting for too long, are somewhat fidgety, and cannot wait for their turn to complete something. The same goes with adult ADHD, but the symptoms are more defined as hyperactivity-impulsivity behaviours.

Hyperactive Symptoms

Fidgeting, squirming on your seat, tapping fingers or feet

Sometimes, they leave their seat after they are required to take their seat

A feeling of numbness that comes from climbing up something or moving between two places

Are you inclined not to be quiet about things?

You’re always on the move and surrounded by people who struggle to keep up.

Hyperactive behaviour, such as talking too much.

Impulsive Symptoms

Controlling impulses is complex and can blurt out answers, even when they aren’t asked

It doesn’t feel like waiting for a long time

Interrupting conversations and the necessity always to tell something that isn’t essential

To identify this kind of ADHD, a child between the ages of 16 must have at least six signs. The 17-year-olds and above must show at least five symptoms. Be aware that these symptoms should be present for a minimum of 6 months and be disruptive or, at a minimum, not suitable for the individual’s stage of development.

If you satisfy this criterion, the mental health expert might categorise you under the Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type.

Predominantly Inattentive Type ADHD Presentation

People who are on the other side of the inattentive type ADHD are more likely to have trouble managing and completing tasks and following instructions while paying attention to the details. They might also be easily distracted or prone to daydreaming frequently. Children who have this kind of ADHD might be classified to be”the “daydreamer” in class or one who is unable to stay focused; however, there is more to it in the case of Predominantly Inattentive Presentation.

Predominantly Inattentive ADHD Symptoms

Inattention to detail is a problem, and frequently makes careless errors

Trouble keeping attention during conversations or tasks

He doesn’t seem to pay attention when directly spoken to or gets distracted quickly

They usually begin their jobs enthusiastically but struggle with finishing them or having difficulties following directions

The problem of organising thoughts, lessons, and activities or even a schedule

Does not like doing activities or tasks that require a constant mental effort or becoming uneasy with documents or other school-related work

The misplacing or forgetting of essential things often

Exhausted by external stimuli or a sensory overstimulation

A lot of people are forgetful when it comes to managing tasks and activities, such as household organisation, errands, and completing deadlines

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, children between the ages of 16 must exhibit six or more signs that persist for six months to be diagnosed with inattentive ADHD. Aged 17 and above should have at minimum five symptoms and again for at least six months.

The symptoms of a predominantly inattentive presentation could be a source of problems in academic, social, or professional. It’s important to realise that individuals with this type of ADHD are not likely to exhibit excessive or impulsive behaviour since they’re at a level of inattention.

Additional Criteria:

Beyond the criteria set, Other things that must be considered when determining a particular kind of ADHD are:

The symptoms appear before the age of twelve.

The symptoms can be seen in two or more places (home or school, at work, etc.)

Evidence suggests that the symptoms hinder the development of the patient or their quality of life.

Another psychological disorder cannot explain the symptoms. But, it is essential to note that ADHD can co-occur alongside other health disorders.

Combined Presentation ADHD Type

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition that can cause multiple significant symptoms sufferers may experience. Those commonly diagnosed with impulsive/hyperactive and inattentive combination type ADHD can struggle to sustain attention and focus and have difficulty listening and following instructions. They might also get easily distracted, flit between tasks, or struggle to control their impulsive behaviour.

When a person experiences enough hyperactive-impulsive symptoms and inattentive ADHD traits, they may be diagnosed with Combined Presentation ADHD. According to data from the American Psychiatric Association, this kind of ADHD is the most frequent manifestation and the most common diagnosis for both adults and children.

Diagnosing Types of ADHD

When you know the details of your Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) manifestation, it’ll be much easier to comprehend this condition’s impact on your everyday life. A clinical psychologist or your mental health doctor, like the previously diagnosed ADHD type, depends on your experiences with the signs of ADHD. Apart from your past six months of occasions and your age, it can be a factor when you are diagnosed with ADHD.

Your mental health specialist may conduct psychological tests or interviews and questionnaires that can assist in determining whether you exhibit signs of ADHD. Other doctors might request an extensive background of any medical issues on the other members of your family since ADHD is a condition that can be passed down through families and is of genetic cause.

It is recommended to have a proper treatment and management plan for the specific condition you have. Treatment for ADHD, behaviour therapy, and lifestyle modifications are just a few methods that can assist people suffering from ADHD.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodivergent and complex condition because it may manifest differently. It’s crucial to be assessed by a specialist to determine the type of ADHD you suffer from and receive the proper treatment. If you have hyperactive ADHD, Inattentive ADHD, or Combined Type ADHD, the symptoms may range from severe to mild and alter your life in numerous ways.

While there isn’t a cure for this disorder, with early intervention, appropriate management, and lifestyle adjustments, those who have ADHD can live whole and complete lives. There is no need to view ADHD as a handicap or disease that may make it difficult for you to achieve your goals. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder may manifest symptoms that make everyday tasks more difficult, but there is no reason to be discouraged with the right attitude and help.

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