What are the Types of ADHD

Understanding the Different Types of ADHD: A Comprehensive Guide

Types of ADHD: ADHD, or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, includes three primary types: inattentive type, hyperactive-impulsive type, and combined type.

What are the Types of ADHD

Basically, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects brain chemistry, causing hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and inattentiveness. It also influences emotional and behavioral aspects.

  • If you want to know more about ADHD, then read our previous article ‘What is ADHD?

Understanding the specific type of ADHD is crucial for effective treatment. In this article, we will explore different types of ADHD and their Characteristics and Symptoms, Diagnosis and treatment options, etc.

What are the Types of ADHD?

Types of ADHD
ADHD Types

There are mainly three types of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder which namely are:

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

So, let us know the ADHD types in-depth for a better understanding of them –

1. Inattentive ADHD

Inattentive ADHD, also referred to as ADHD-PI (Predominantly Inattentive Type), is a specific subtype of ADHD.

Basically, Individuals with this type of ADHD struggle with maintaining focus, are easily distracted, and often seem forgetful or disengaged.

They may also show symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsiveness now and then, but inattentive symptoms are more dominant. This type is more common in girls than boys. 

Characteristics and Symptoms

Here are the main symptoms that people with this type often depict:

  • Easily get bored 
  • Trouble keeping the focus on one thing or struggling to complete tasks
  • Forgetfulness and distracted behavior 
  • Poor management and organizational skills 
  • Losing or misplacing things 
  • Poor listening skills and difficulty following instructions 
  • Seems like daydreaming 
  • Difficulty learning new information 
  • Difficulty with directions 

These are some symptoms that are dominant in people with inattentive type. 

Diagnosis and Assessment

For the diagnosis, there is no proper test that can help determine it. However, your doctor will ask questions, analyze symptoms, and will know about your and your family’s medical history. In addition, your doctor will check if your symptoms are due to other mental illnesses or if there is a coexistence. 

To confirm, a child must have at least six symptoms and an adult must have at least five symptoms persisting for six or more months. Also, symptoms must interfere with more than two aspects of life like social, work, or family.

These symptoms must be present from the age of 12 years interfering in various aspects of life to conclude ADHD. Also, as the child may become less active, it is harder to notice symptoms than the other type. 

Treatment Options

There are different treatment options that can help with reducing the symptoms so that one can lead a better life:

  1. Medications: Such as Stimulants like Adderall are often prescribed when other treatments for ADHD are ineffective, as they are considered highly effective in managing symptoms.
  2. Behavior Changes: Different counseling and therapies help to analyze, understand and change the behavior so that one can bring changes and emotions. 
  3. Coaching: This is a new technique that helps a person handle daily life better by learning time management, and other organizational skills. 
  4. Coping Strategies: By incorporating some daily lifestyle practices like building a routine, writing a journal, or reducing distractions can help manage daily life. 

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2. Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD

Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD, also known as ADHD-HI, is a subtype of ADHD characterized by excessive levels of physical activity, restlessness, impulsivity, and difficulty in controlling impulses and behaviors.

Basically, In this type, a person displays behavior that involves impulsiveness and hyperactivity. A person is usually restless and hyperactive and usually such kids become impulsive. Also, it is common for people who identify as boys.

  • This type is more common in children as hyperactivity lessens with age. 

Characteristics and Symptoms

The person with this type of ADHD shows symptoms like:

  • Constant restlessness and fidgeting 
  • Difficulty showing patience or waiting for their turn 
  • Interrupting others while talking or between other tasks 
  • Cannot sit still and constantly hyperactive like runny or climbing 
  • Cannot engage in quiet activities 
  • Talking or doing things without thinking 
  • Failing to keep doing one task
  • Always “on the go”
  • Talk excessively 

Diagnosis and Assessment

The first thing you can do is a self-assessment screening. There are various online ADHD tests or other self-assessments that can predict.

However, they are not accurate and it is a complex disorder that requires a deep jump to know the exact disorder and its type. If you are feeling positive about the self-assessment, you will need a further proper diagnosis from professional healthcare.

Basically, The doctor will ask about the detailed medical history and present symptoms. One must have at least six symptoms that are present for 12 years to conclude ADHD. 

Treatment Options

For treating hyperactive-impulsive type, there are different options that your doctor may advise according to your health condition:

  1. Psychosocial Treatment: The treatment involves the use of psychotherapies to reduce and manage the symptoms. This may include CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and family and marital therapy. 
  2. Medical Treatment: Medicines are the first-line treatment for reducing the effect of the disorder. To treat hyperactivity and impulsiveness, several medications are prescribed by the doctor. These medicines are stimulants, antidepressants, non-stimulants, and high blood pressure medications. 

3. Combined ADHD

Combined ADHD is a subtype of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder characterized by a combination of symptoms related to inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

Basically, This is the most severe and complex type among all the types. Also, most people suffer from this type. As its name suggests, a person with his type shows the behavior of both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive types. 

Characteristics and Symptoms

Someone with combined ADHD will showcase characteristics and symptoms that are complex because they will show symptoms from both the other types. Therefore, in this type, a person will showcase symptoms of both. However, one type can overshadow the other at some point or vice versa. 

Diagnosis and Assessment

There are no different tests to know the type of the disorder. So, the doctor analyzes the symptoms and behavior.

However, in this type, one must depict at least six symptoms of inattentiveness and six symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsiveness. So, analyzing the symptoms that are present will do the diagnosis. 

Treatment options

Though there is no cure for ADHD, treating it can help bring balance to life. In the case of combined type, a combination of both medication and therapy is required. So, the treatment options are:

Medications: The two most common medications for the treatment and stimulants and non-stimulants and non-stimulants:

  1. Stimulants: These are the most effective medicinal treatments. Stimulants like Adderall affect the CNS and brain chemicals to show their effects. They usually work on the major population and most people respond well to them. 
  2. Non-stimulants: These medicines come into play when a person cannot respond well to stimulants or face its side effects. These medicines also treat ADHD, especially in people who cannot tolerate stimulant medications like Adderall (amphetamine) or Ritalin (methylphenidate).

Therapies: Treatment via therapy helps a person analyze and understand their emotions and behavior while learning to regulate them. Also, therapies help in better management of daily life. Some of the common therapies are:

  • CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)
  • Mindfulness happy 
  • Family or Marital therapy 
  • ADHD Coaching 
  • ADHD support groups 

So, these treatments reduce the symptoms to a minimum, lowering the impact of the disorder to a great extent on daily life. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Here are some frequently asked questions about different types of ADHD:

What is the most severe ADHD type?

The most severe type is Combined ADHD as it showcases the symptoms of both the other types. It is the most common type affecting life in different aspects like work, family, social life, and others.

What if ADHD is left untreated?

If the disorder is left untreated, it can make the situation worse and can result in various other mental health problems like anxiety, depression, or mood disorders. Also, the symptoms of ADHD can result in frustration, low self-worth, and irritability in a person.

Is ADHD a disability?

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, ADHD is considered a disability. It is categorized under different disabilities that the disorder brings with it like learning disability.

Is ADHD a form of autism?

ADHD is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and ADD is Attention Deficit Disorder. Though, both depict some of the common symptoms as ADHD also cause hyperactivity. However, ADHD is not on the spectrum. Some studies do show that having one disorder can increase the chances of having the other.

What is the main cause of ADHD?

There is ongoing research, but its root cause is still unknown. But researchers do believe that genetics do play a role in it. Apart from it, there are some other causes but they do not have any proof if they really cause it.


ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a neurodevelopmental condition that significantly impacts various aspects of life, making it challenging. It can be categorized into three main types: inattentive, hyperactive-impulsive, and combined.

Gaining knowledge about the different types of ADHD is crucial for comprehending the distinct ways this disorder manifests.

I hope this article, helps you understand all the types of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, their symptom patterns, and available treatment options.

  • If you have any questions about the types of ADHD covered in this article, please leave them in the comment box. We’re here to help!

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