Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disorder which affects behavior and concentration in children and adults. Individuals with ADHD usually show some degree of trouble sustaining attention, as well as hyperactivity and poor impulse control. However, not all cases of ADHD are created equal. ADHD can be classified as one of three types: primarily inattentive type, hyperactive-impulsive type or combined type. ADHD types are determined by the predominant symptoms affecting each individual.
ADHD: Inattentive Type
Children with this type of ADHD may seem to daydream often or appear “spacey.” It may seem as if they are not listening, or they may ask for frequent repetitions of directions. This subtype was once known as attention deficit disorder (ADD). Children with inattentive type ADHD may:
- Appear forgetful, disorganized or lazy
- Avoid work that requires sustained mental effort
- Become distracted easily
- Fail to complete work, chores or tasks
- Fail to pay close attention to details or make careless mistakes
- Have difficulty following instructions
- Have trouble sustaining attention
- Lose things frequently
- Seem to not listen.
ADHD: Hyperactive-Impulsive Type
Children with hyperactive-impulsive type ADHD are full of energy. They may appear to have reduced control over their bodies or thoughts. Children with hyperactive-impulsive type ADHD may:
- Blurt out answers to questions in class
- Feel restless
- Have difficulty remaining seated
- Have trouble taking turns
- Interrupt in conversation
- Move, fidget or squirm constantly; appear unable to sit still
- Have a hard time staying quiet
- Run or climb excessively
- Suffer accidents or injuries from impulsive physical behavior
- Talk constantly.
ADHD: Combined Type
Some individuals experience symptoms of both types of ADHD. Symptoms of ADHD combined type can include signs of inattention, distractibility, hyperactivity and impulsivity.
Diagnosis and Treatment of ADHD Types
If you suspect ADHD in your child, make a detailed list of behaviors and bring the list to your child’s pediatrician. A thorough explanation of your child’s behaviors, along with observations of behavior while in the office (and testing completed by a specialist) can provide a complete picture of your child’s condition. This will help the doctors to determine whether or not your child suffers from ADHD, and to identify the predominant type.
Treatments are available for each type of ADHD. Several different classes of ADHD medication, including stimulants and antidepressants, are approved to treat the disorder. Therapy, behavior modification strategies and classroom modifications may also be helpful, though they must be tailored to the individual child and her specific symptoms.
Centers for Disease Control. (2010). Facts about ADHD. Retrieved August 11, 2010, from http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/facts.html.
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2009). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Retrieved August 10, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/adhd/DS00275/.
Medline Plus. (2010). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Retrieved August 10, 2010, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001551.htm.
U.S. News and World Report Health. (2008). About ADHD. Retrieved August 11, 2010, from http://health.usnews.com/health-conditions/brain-health/adhd.