What are the types of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?

The following are the types of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD):

  • Inattentive type—People with this type of ADHD consistently have trouble paying attention, resisting distractions and sustaining their focus.
  • Hyperactive-impulsive type—People with this type are too active (hyperactive) and tend to act without much thought or control (impulsive).
  • Combined type—People with this type of ADHD show all 3 types of symptoms: inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. This type is the most common—50 to 75 percent of people with ADHD have the combined type.
Dr. Thomas Jensen
Psychiatrist (Therapist)

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) comes in three subcategories: inattentive type, hyperactive impulsive type and combined type. As counterintuitive as it is to have "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder inattentive type," it means that patients are inattentive/distractible but not hyperactive, that is in fact the official label since the older ADD label was abolished. ADHD hyperactive impulsive type is reserved for those who have the hyperactive impulsive symptoms without inattention or distractibility. ADHD combined type, by far the most common in childhood, is used for people who are inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive.

There are three different types of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depending on which symptoms are strongest in the individual:

  • Predominantly Inattentive Type: It is hard for the individual to organize or finish a task, to pay attention to details, or to follow instructions or conversations. The person is easily distracted or forgets details of daily routines.
  • Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type: The person fidgets and talks a lot. It is hard to sit still for long (e.g., for a meal or while doing homework). Smaller children may run, jump or climb constantly. The individual feels restless and has trouble with impulsivity. Someone who is impulsive may interrupt others a lot, grab things from people, or speak at inappropriate times. It is hard for the person to wait their turn or listen to directions. A person with impulsiveness may have more accidents and injuries than others.
  • Combined Type: Symptoms of the above two types are equally present in the person.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.