Types of ADHD in Adults

December 15, 2022
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Types of ADHD in Adults

Types of ADHD in Adults

For a long period of time attention deficit hyperactive disorder was diagnosed either as ADD (inattentive) or ADHD (impulsive, hyperactive). According to the DSM-V , the gold standard of diagnosis guidance in mental health, following ADHD assessment we diagnose the following types of ADHD: Combined presentation, Inattentive and Hyperactive. To find out more watch the video, or continue reading this article.

Inattentive ADHD

The inattentive type of ADHD is dominated by symptoms of inattention and minimal or no symptoms of hyperactivity. For a long period, inattentive ADHD was not diagnosed as a neurodevelopmental condition. This type was more likely diagnosed with a mood disorder such as depression and anxiety. Recently inattentive ADHD managed to become more recognised by professionals, which is encouraging.

The typical presentation is usually in women, but also in men. The person suffering from inattentive ADHD has a quiet, and calm personality. Sometimes may have symptoms of anxiety in public, in situations when they need to interact with more than one person, or when engaging in public. Since their symptoms cannot be seen on the exterior, compared to other types, inattentive ADHD has the tendency to be misdiagnosed or diagnosed later in life.

Symptoms of Inattentive ADHD | Women

The presentation in the inattentive type is dominated by the symptoms of inattention such as: making careless mistakes, daydreaming, not keeping attention to tasks, losing things, or appearing forgetful. More recently, inattentive ADHD is more seen in women, as we are moving away from the misconception that ADHD can only be seen in “naughty young boys.” Finding it difficult to make decisions or feeling anxious can go under the radar for many years, or diagnosed with other conditions such as depression or anxiety.

Hyperactive ADHD

Woman jumping, hyperactive in holiday. Hyperactive ADHD symptoms in women

Hyperactive ADHD is also known as the impulsive type. This is the least common variant and presents mainly with impulsive and hyperactive behaviors. The inattentive symptoms are missing in this situation, or they are almost non-existent.

Hyperactive ADHD Symptoms | Presentation

Since this is one of the more uncommon types of ADHD, it is not seen very often in clinical practice in adults. Because the symptoms are easily noticed by others, the condition can be easily diagnosed during childhood. The presentation is usually of someone always on the go driven by a motor, fidgeting, talking too much, interrupting, and having trouble spending time quietly. Hyperactive ADHD is mostly seen in males and young boys and to a lesser extent present in women.

Combined ADHD

This is the most common type of ADHD and is described by the presence of both inattentive and hyperactive symptoms. The combined type was estimated to be more frequent in males compared in women. However, with the recent awareness of ADHD in women, future research studies may change the general perception.

Combined ADHD Symptoms

The person suffering from combined ADHD usually has both symptoms in their presentation. Depending on the stage in their life, they may encounter difficulties in the final exams in college. They may start the first year of university, and noticed to keep falling behind, not meeting deadlines, and always studying at the last minute. The previous compensation methods, that they used in school, are not working anymore. Due to the sheer amount of studying, cannot prepare for the exams on the night before the exam.

Some of the inattentive symptoms are: making careless mistakes, not being able to keep attention on tasks for too long, becoming dreamy or preoccupied, difficulties in completing admin tasks, challenges in planning activities of daily life, mislay items, forgetting appointments, difficulty shutting off external stimuli.

Some of the hyperactive symptoms: are fidgeting, difficulty sitting still, feeling restless, always on the go, talking fast, interrupting others, giving answers before people finished speaking, difficulty waiting in a queue, and interrupting others.

What type of ADHD do I have?

Woman wondering what type of ADHD she may have

Mental health symptoms can be different from one person to another, and very often present to be caused by multiple factors. Compared with physical health, mental health may be described as a marathon rather than a sprint. To have a reliable answer, you may want to seek support from someone specialising in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD. Whatever type of ADHD you think may have, with appropriate support such as medication, coaching, and therapy, you can aim to have a good quality of life.

Private support in London and UK

  • If you're ready to take the first step towards managing your ADHD symptoms, our practice is here to help. We offer private ADHD assessments that can provide you with the answers and support you need to succeed. To learn more about our approach to diagnosing and treating ADHD, check out the ADHD Assessment for Adults section. You'll discover how we can help you overcome the challenges of ADHD and reach your full potential.

Find out more about what happens during an ADHD Assessment.


Symptoms and Diagnosis of ADHD | CDC

Changes in the Definition of ADHD in DSM-5: Subtle but Important - PMC (nih.gov)

ICD-11 for Mortality and Morbidity Statistics (who.int)

DIVA Foundation - DIVA-5 - Use of DIVA-5 (divacenter.eu)

Disclaimer: The information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, and information, contained in this article is for general information purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional

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