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Understanding ADHD: The 3 Different Types and Their Symptoms

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterised by symptoms such as hyperactivity, impulsivity, and difficulty with attention and concentration. However, not everyone with ADHD experiences the same symptoms, and there are actually three different types of ADHD
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Understanding ADHD: The 3 Different Types and Their Symptoms

18/04/2023
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Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterised by symptoms such as hyperactivity, impulsivity, and difficulty with attention and concentration. However, not everyone with ADHD experiences the same symptoms, and there are actually three different types of ADHD: predominantly inattentive type, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type, and combined type.

Understanding the different types of ADHD and their associated symptoms is essential for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. In this article, we will explore each of the three types of ADHD and their symptoms in detail, helping to improve your understanding of this complex condition and lead to better symptom management.

What is ADHD? Understanding the Condition and Its Prevalence

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, commonly known as ADHD, is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects both children and adults. ADHD can have a significant impact on daily life, including academic and social functioning, and is characterised by symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. If you suspect that you or your child may have ADHD, you are not alone. According to research, approximately 5% of children and 3% of adults in the UK are diagnosed with ADHD, although the actual incidence rate of ADHD could be much higher due to large numbers of people being undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.

ADHD is a complex condition, and its exact cause is still not fully understood. However, research suggests that both genetic and environmental factors play a role in its development. People with ADHD often have a lower level of certain brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, which affects their ability to control their impulses and pay attention.

The symptoms of ADHD can vary depending on the individual and the type of ADHD; however, in general, people with ADHD experience difficulty with attention, organisation, time management and self-control. They may also exhibit hyperactivity and impulsivity, which can be disruptive to their daily lives.

At The ADHD Centre, we offer a range of services to help people with all types of ADHD manage their symptoms effectively. Our diagnostic assessments are designed to identify ADHD and any coexisting conditions that may be contributing to symptoms. We also offer personalised treatment plans that may include medication, therapy and lifestyle change recommendations.

If you suspect that you or your child may have ADHD, it’s important to seek professional help. Our team of experts can help you understand the condition and provide the support you need to manage it effectively. With the right care, people with ADHD can lead fulfilling and successful lives, but this largely comes down to understanding the condition better and working to identify symptoms and their triggers.

The 3 Different Types of ADHD: Inattentive, Hyperactive-Impulsive, and Combined

There are three different types of ADHD: predominantly inattentive type, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type, and combined type. It’s thought that the most common type is combined type, which accounts for around 50-75% of all cases. Inattentive type is thought to be the second most common, accounting for around 20-30% of cases, followed by hyperactive-impulsive type ADHD which accounts for approximately 15% of ADHD cases (NICE).

Each type of ADHD presents different challenges and may require different types of treatment. It is important for people with ADHD to receive a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan designed around their specific ADHD type in order to manage their symptoms effectively.

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Symptoms of Inattentive ADHD: Difficulty Paying Attention and Staying Organised

People with inattentive ADHD (formerly known as attention deficit disorder, or ADD) often struggle with paying attention to tasks or conversations, even when they are important. If you have this type of ADHD, you may be easily distracted by external stimuli or your own thoughts, making it difficult to focus on what’s in front of you. This can lead to forgetfulness, difficulty completing tasks and poor time management skills.

Staying organised can also be a challenge if you have inattentive ADHD. You may struggle with keeping track of appointments, deadlines and other important information, creating problems at work or school, and in the home where bills are concerned, too. It’s also not uncommon for people with this subtype to lose things frequently or have messy living and work spaces.

It’s important to remember that these symptoms are not a reflection of intelligence or effort. Inattentive ADHD is a neurological condition that requires proper diagnosis and treatment. At The ADHD Centre, we offer evidence-based treatments that can help you or your child manage symptoms and improve focus and productivity.

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Symptoms of Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD: Restlessness and Impulsivity

People with hyperactive-impulsive ADHD often struggle with sitting still or staying quiet, even when it’s necessary. If you have this type of ADHD, you may feel the need to constantly move, fidget or tap your feet, which can make it difficult to focus on tasks or engage in conversations. You might also struggle with impulsivity, acting without thinking about the consequences, and interrupting others while they’re speaking.

Hyperactive ADHD symptoms can lead to social and academic difficulties, as well as problems with time management and productivity. At The ADHD Centre, we offer evidence-based treatments that can help you or your child manage hyperactive and impulsive symptoms, improve focus and increase productivity. Our friendly and experienced team of healthcare professionals are dedicated to providing personalised care and support to help you or your child achieve success in all areas of life.

Symptoms of Combined ADHD: A Combination of Inattentive and Hyperactive-Impulsive Symptoms

Inattentive symptoms of combined ADHD may include difficulty paying attention or staying focused, forgetfulness, disorganisation, and being easily distracted. You may find it hard to complete tasks or follow through on instructions. You may also have trouble listening to others or remembering details of conversations.

Hyperactive-impulsive symptoms of combined ADHD can include fidgeting, restlessness, impulsiveness, interrupting others, and difficulty waiting for your turn. You may also struggle with sitting still for extended periods of time or engaging in quiet activities.

It’s important to remember that these symptoms are not a result of a lack of effort or motivation. They are caused by differences in brain functioning, and treatment options are available to help you manage them.

At The ADHD Centre, we understand the challenges of combined ADHD and offer comprehensive assessments and personalised treatment plans to help people and families manage their symptoms. Our team of experienced healthcare professionals are committed to supporting you every step of the way.

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Diagnosing ADHD: Assessment, Evaluation and Testing

Some of the symptoms of ADHD can be indicative of other conditions or disorders, and as such, there is no single test that can be done to diagnose ADHD. Instead, a series of assessments and observations will be carried out in order to rule other conditions out. At The ADHD Centre, we follow the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V), as diagnosis guidelines.

Only qualified medical doctors, such as psychiatrists or clinical psychologists, can diagnose ADHD. At The ADHD Centre, all diagnoses are made by one of our ADHD specialist consultant psychiatrists. A diagnosis will be made after a standardised questionnaire is completed, as well as an assessment looking at medical and family history, history of symptoms (where they present and how long they’ve been going on), and input from people in close proximity, such as family members and teachers – if applicable.

Treatment Options for ADHD: Medication, Therapy and Lifestyle Changes

ADHD can have a significant impact on your life, but there are treatment options available to help manage the symptoms. At The ADHD Centre, we provide comprehensive care to help you or your child manage the challenges of ADHD, no matter the type.

Medication is a common treatment option for ADHD. Stimulant medications are often prescribed as they can help increase focus, reduce impulsivity and improve organisation skills. Non-stimulant medications such may also be used, mainly for those who cannot take stimulant medications.

Therapy can also be an effective way to manage ADHD. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviours. It can be particularly helpful for people with ADHD who struggle with anxiety, depression or low self-esteem.

In addition to medication and therapy, making lifestyle changes can also help manage ADHD symptoms. Regular exercise, a healthy diet and good sleep habits can all have a positive impact. Organisation strategies, such as using a planner or breaking tasks into smaller, more manageable steps, can also be helpful.

FAQs

What are the 3 different types of ADHD?

The three types of ADHD are:

Inattentive type: This type is characterised by symptoms of inattention, such as difficulty paying attention, forgetfulness and disorganisation.

Hyperactive-impulsive type: This type is characterised by symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity, such as fidgeting, restlessness, interrupting others and acting without thinking.

Combined type: This type is the most common and is characterised by symptoms of both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity.

How is ADHD diagnosed?

ADHD is diagnosed by a medical professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, who will use diagnostic criteria from the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition) to evaluate symptoms and determine if they meet the criteria for ADHD.

Can ADHD be treated?

Yes, ADHD can be treated. Treatment typically includes a combination of medication and behavioural therapy. Medications used to treat ADHD include stimulants and non-stimulants, which can help to improve focus and reduce impulsivity. Behavioural therapy can help individuals with ADHD develop strategies to manage their symptoms and improve their functioning in various areas of their life.

Is ADHD a lifelong condition?

While ADHD is typically diagnosed in childhood, it can persist into adulthood. Many adults with ADHD continue to experience symptoms that can impact their daily functioning. However, with proper treatment and management strategies, people with ADHD can learn to effectively manage their symptoms and lead successful lives.

Support and Resources for Individuals with ADHD: Finding Help and Coping Strategies

There’s no doubt that living with ADHD can be challenging, but with the right level of support, it is possible to overcome these hurdles and succeed in every aspect of life. At The ADHD Centre, we have a team of leading ADHD specialists who can help you navigate your ADHD diagnosis, no matter the sub-type, and work with you to develop a bespoke treatment plan and coping mechanisms that work for you, be it in the form of medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, or a mixture of all three.

We also offer a wealth of support and resources for parents of children with ADHD, allowing you to better understand your child’s condition and help them in the best way possible. To find out more, please call us on 0800 061 4276 or email us at enquiries@adhdcentre.co.uk.

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We have been diagnosing and treating people with ADHD since 2009.

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