Types of ADHD

Symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity characterize ADHD. However, it is not a one-size-fits-all condition. There are different types of ADHD, each with unique characteristics and presentations.

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This article will explore the different types of ADHD, their distinct features, and how they may manifest in children and adults.

Types of ADHD

ADHD Predominantly Inattentive Type

Inattentive ADHD, or ADHD-PI, is primarily characterized by significant difficulties with attention and focus. Individuals with this type of ADHD may struggle to sustain attention, appear forgetful, and have trouble organizing tasks. They might have trouble following instructions, lose items frequently, and appear daydreamy or spacey.

ADHD Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type

Hyperactive ADHD, or ADHD-PH, is characterized by pronounced hyperactivity and impulsivity. Individuals with this type of ADHD may have difficulty sitting still, fidgeting constantly, and acting impulsively without considering the consequences. They might interrupt others frequently, struggle with waiting their turn, and engage in risky behaviors.

ADHD Combined Presentation (ADHD-C)

Combined type, or ADHD-C, is the most common type of ADHD. It combines symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Individuals with this type of ADHD may experience challenges across multiple domains, impacting academic performance, social interactions, and daily functioning.

Differences Between Types of ADHD

The different types of ADHD have distinct characteristics but also share common features, such as attention difficulties and impulsivity. The primary difference lies in the prominence of certain symptoms.

Inattention Vs. Hyperactivity-Impulsivity

Inattentive type is primarily characterized by inattention symptoms, while hyperactive ADHD is dominated by hyperactivity and impulsivity. ADHD-C combines both sets of symptoms.

Impact on Daily Life

ADHD-PI may lead to academic struggles due to attention and organization issues. ADHD-PH can affect social interactions and self-regulation. ADHD-C often results in a combination of academic, social, and behavioral challenges.

Types of ADHD in Adults

ADHD can persist into adulthood, and the symptoms may present differently than in childhood. Adults with ADHD may not always exhibit overt hyperactivity, which can lead to underdiagnosis or misdiagnosis. Instead, they may primarily experience inattention, leading to difficulties in organizing tasks, managing time, and sustaining focus.

Coexisting Conditions And Comorbidities

ADHD can coexist with other conditions, such as learning disabilities, anxiety, and depression. When ADHD coexists with another condition, it is referred to as comorbidity. For example, some individuals may have ADHD with coexisting dyslexia, which can further impact academic performance. Identifying and addressing comorbid conditions is crucial for providing comprehensive support and interventions.

Types of Attention Disorders

While ADHD is one of the most well-known attention disorders, other conditions also affect attention and focus:

Specific Learning Disorders

Learning disorders, such as dyslexia or dyscalculia, primarily impact academic skills like reading, writing, or math. These can coexist with ADHD, leading to additional learning challenges.

Executive Function Disorder

Executive function refers to cognitive processes that help with planning, organization, and self-regulation. Executive function disorder can affect attention, working memory, and impulse control, often overlapping with ADHD symptoms.


ADHD is not a one-dimensional condition; it comes in different types with unique presentations. Understanding the various types of ADHD can aid in accurate diagnosis and appropriate interventions. Predominantly Inattentive Type, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type, and Combined Presentation have specific characteristics that impact individuals' lives differently.

Recognizing the differences between these types is essential for providing tailored support and accommodations to children and adults with ADHD. Additionally, identifying and addressing comorbid conditions is vital for comprehensive treatment. By increasing awareness of the different types of ADHD, we can create a more understanding and supportive environment for individuals affected by this complex neurodevelopmental disorder.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Types of ADHD Are There?

There are three types of ADHD: