The 7 Types of ADD
Type 1: Classic ADD
This first type of ADD is usually evident early in life. As babies, they tend to be colicky, active, and wiggly. As children, they tend to be restless, noisy, talkative, impulsive, and demanding. Their hyperactivity and conflict-driven behavior gets everyone’s attention early on. Classic ADD is often called ADHD, with an emphasis on the hyperactive behavior trait. At Amen Clinics, we do not use the term ADHD exclusively because not all the ADD types are hyperactive.
Parents of these kids are often tired, overwhelmed, and even embarrassed by the behavior of their non-stop and hard-to-control children. Classic ADD tends to be more frequently seen in boys. Even as adults, those with this type of ADD tend to have a great deal of energy and a preference for physical activity rather than a more sedentary lifestyle.
Common Symptoms in Classic ADD include:
- Easily distracted
- Poor follow-through
- Trouble listening when others talk to them
- Making careless mistakes/poor attention to detail
- Forgetfulness and losing things
- Being fidgety and restless
- Difficulty awaiting their turn
- Act as though driven by a motor
- Being noisy
- Talking excessively
- Interrupting others
Classic ADD SPECT scan findings often show normal activity at rest, but during concentration there tends to be decreased activity in the underside of the prefrontal cortex as well as in the cerebellum and basal ganglia. The latter are structures deep in the brain that produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is critical for motivation, attention, and setting the body’s idle speed.
Type 2: Inattentive ADD
Inattentive ADD is the second most common type of ADD. Those suffering with this type are usually quiet, more introverted, and appear to daydream a lot. They may be labeled as unmotivated—even slow or lazy. Inattentive ADD is common but is often missed because children with this type tend to have fewer behavioral problems. They don’t draw the negative attention to themselves as do those with Classic ADD.
Common Symptoms in Inattentive ADD Include:
- Trouble focusing
- Being easily distracted
- Poor follow through
- Trouble listening when others talk to them
- Problems with time management
- Tendency to lose things
- Making careless mistakes; poor attention to detail
- Excessive daydreaming
- Complaints of being bored
- Appearing unmotivated or apathetic
- Being tired, sluggish, or slow moving
- Appearing “spacey” or preoccupied
Inattentive ADD is the perfect example of why the general term “ADHD” does not fit all ADD types. If clinicians and parents are looking for hyperactivity to reach a diagnosis, those with this type, which does not have hyperactivity, may be left untreated and go on living life below their true potential.
SPECT scan findings of Inattentive ADD show normal activity at rest, but during concentration there tends to be decreased activity in the underside of the prefrontal cortex, cerebellum, and basal ganglia.
Type 3: Overfocused ADD
In order to focus, it is necessary to be able to shift your attention as needed. People suffering with Overfocused ADD have most of the ADD features, but rather than not being able to pay attention, they have difficulty shifting their attention; they become hyper-focused on certain things while tuning out everything else. These folks tend to get stuck or locked into negative thought patterns and behaviors. This type of ADD is often found in substance abusers as well as the children and grandchildren of alcoholics.
Common symptoms in Overfocused ADD
- Core symptoms of ADD
- Excessive or senseless worrying
- Getting stuck in loops of negative thoughts
- Being oppositional and argumentative
- Tendency toward compulsive behaviors
- Difficulty identifying options
- Excessive worrying
- Tendency to hold grudges
- Difficulty shifting attention from one thing to the next
- Tendency to hold onto their own opinion and not listen to others
- Needing to have things done a certain way or they get upset
- May or may not be hyperactive
Overfocused ADD SPECT scan findings show increased activity at rest and during concentration in the anterior cingulate gyrus (the brain’s “gear-shifter”), as well as decreased activity in the underside of the prefrontal cortex, cerebellum, and basal ganglia.
Type 4: Temporal Lobe ADD
People with this type of ADD have the hallmark features of ADD plus symptoms associated with temporal lobe problems, such as issues with learning, memory, mood instability, aggression, temper outbursts, and sometimes, even violence. It is not unusual to see this type of ADD in people who have had head injuries.
Common symptoms in Temporal Lobe ADD
- Core symptoms of ADD
- Memory problems
- Auditory processing issues
- Episodes of quick temper
- Periods of spaciness or confusion
- Periods of panic and/or fear for no reason
- Visual changes such as seeing shadows or objects changing shape
- Episodes of déjà vu
- Sensitivity or mild paranoia
- Headaches or abdominal pain of uncertain origin
- History of head injury
- Dark thoughts (may involve suicidal or homicidal thoughts)
- Possible learning disabilities
- May or may not be hyperactive
Temporal Lobe ADD SPECT scan findings show decreased activity (and occasionally increased) activity in the temporal lobes at rest and during concentration, as well as decreased activity in the underside of the prefrontal cortex, cerebellum, and basal ganglia during concentration.
Type 5: Limbic ADD
In Limbic ADD, the prefrontal cortex is underactive during concentration while the deep limbic area—which sets your emotional tone, controlling how happy or sad you are—is overactive. Depression is also associated with overactivity in the deep limbic area, yet a person’s developmental history in addition to some subtle differences on SPECT scans (between Limbic ADD and depression) helps us differentiate between the two conditions so we can choose the best course of treatment to resolve symptoms.
Common Symptoms in Limbic ADD
- Core symptoms of ADD
- Low energy
- Frequent irritability
- Tendency for social isolation
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Perceived helplessness
- Feelings of guilt
- Loss of interest in things
- Sleep changes (too much or too little)
- Chronic low self-esteem
- May or may not be hyperactive
Limbic ADD SPECT scan findings typically show increased deep limbic activity at rest and during concentration. There is also decreased activity in the prefrontal cortex, cerebellum, and basal ganglia during concentration.
Type 6: Ring of Fire ADD
In Ring of Fire ADD, there is a pattern of overall high activity in the brain. Those with this type tend to have difficulty “turning off” their brains and typically feel overwhelmed with thoughts and emotions. This type tends to get much worse on stimulant medications alone. Ring of Fire ADD can be related to some form of allergy, infection, or inflammation in the brain, or it can be related to bipolar disorder. There are some subtle differences between Ring of Fire ADD and bipolar disorder in the scan data as well as some differences in the presentation of a person’s symptoms. For instance, we have found that the kids with Ring of Fire ADD tend to have their problems all the time whereas bipolar kids tend to cycle with their mood and behavior problems. Adults with bipolar disorder have episodes of mania or hypo-mania, whereas adults with Ring of Fire ADD do not—their behavior issues tend to be consistent over long periods of time.
Of note: It is possible to have both conditions—in fact some research studies suggest that as many as 50% of those with bipolar disorder also have ADD.
Common Symptoms in Ring of Fire ADD
- Core symptoms of ADD
- Sensitive to noise, light, clothes, or touch
- Cyclic mood changes (highs and lows)
- Inflexible rigid thinking
- Demanding to have their way
- Periods of mean, nasty, or insensitive behavior
- Periods of increased talkativeness
- Unpredictable behavior
- Periods of increased impulsivity
- Grandiose or “larger than life” thinking
- Rapid speech
- Racing thoughts
- Appears anxious or fearful
- May or may not be hyperactive
Ring of Fire ADD SPECT scan findings show patchy increased activity in many areas of the brain, which looks like a “ring” of overactivity. We have found that there is some variability in Ring of Fire patterns from individual to individual. In differentiating between bipolar disorder and Ring of Fire ADD, it is important to consider the SPECT scan data in addition to the patient’s clinical history.
Type 7: Anxious ADD
With Anxious ADD, there is low activity in the prefrontal cortex while there is overactivity in the basal ganglia, which sets the body’s “idle speed” and is related to anxiety. The ADD symptoms in people suffering with this type tend to be magnified by their anxiety. Treatment for people with Anxious ADD often includes both calming and stimulating the brain.
Common Symptoms in Anxious ADD
- Core symptoms of ADD
- Frequently anxious or nervous
- Physical stress symptoms such as headaches
- Tendency to freeze in social situations
- Dislikes or gets excessively nervous speaking in public
- Predicts the worse
- Conflict avoidant
- Fear of being judged
Anxious ADD SPECT scan findings show increased activity in the basal ganglia at rest and during concentration. Additionally, there is decreased activity in the prefrontal cortex and cerebellum during concentration.
Stimulants are the best-known and most widely used ADHD medications. Between 70-80% of children with ADHD have fewer ADHD symptoms when taking these fast-acting medications. Nonstimulants were approved for the treatment of ADHD in 2003.What is the best treatment for attention deficit disorder? ›
ADHD Treatment. Standard treatments for ADHD in adults typically involve medication, education, skills training and psychological counseling. A combination of these is often the most effective treatment. These treatments can help manage many symptoms of ADHD , but they don't cure it.What type of therapy is used for ADD? ›
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is essentially brain training for ADHD. It is a short-term, goal-oriented form of psychotherapy that aims to change negative patterns of thinking and reframe the way a patient feels about herself and her symptoms of ADHD.What are 3 treatments for ADHD? ›
Based on the best available evidence, effective strategies include treating ADHD with medication, parent-delivered behavior therapy, and teacher-delivered behavior therapy.Is ADHD ADD considered a mental illness? ›
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental disorders affecting children.What's the difference between ADD and ADHD? ›
What is the difference between ADD and ADHD? There is no difference between ADD and ADHD. ADD (attention-deficit disorder) is an outdated term for what is now called ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder). Some kids with ADHD have hyperactive behaviors and some don't, but the diagnosis is ADHD either way.What aggravates attention deficit disorder? ›
Common ADHD triggers include: stress. poor sleep. certain foods and additives.What triggers attention deficit disorder? ›
Risk factors for ADHD may include: Blood relatives, such as a parent or sibling, with ADHD or another mental health disorder. Exposure to environmental toxins — such as lead, found mainly in paint and pipes in older buildings. Maternal drug use, alcohol use or smoking during pregnancy.What is the root cause of attention deficit disorder? ›
The cause(s) and risk factors for ADHD are unknown, but current research shows that genetics plays an important role. Recent studies link genetic factors with ADHD. In addition to genetics, scientists are studying other possible causes and risk factors including: Brain injury.What is behavioral therapy for ADD? ›
Behavior therapy, given by parents teaches children to better control their own behavior, leading to improved functioning at school home and in relationships. Learning and practicing behavior therapy requires time and effort, but has lasting benefits for the child.
- Classic ADD.
- Inattentive ADD.
- Over-focused ADD.
- Temporal Lobe ADD.
- Limbic ADD.
- Ring of Fire ADD (ADD Plus)
- Anxious ADD.
- ADHD, combined type. This, the most common type of ADHD, is characterized by impulsive and hyperactive behaviors as well as inattention and distractibility.
- ADHD, impulsive/hyperactive type. ...
- ADHD, inattentive and distractible type.
Answer: Using caffeine, either in a drink or in an over-the-counter preparation, is not recommended by medical experts as a treatment for ADHD. Although some studies have shown that caffeine may improve concentration in adults with ADHD, it is not as effective as medication.What are the two main medications for ADHD? ›
Medications for ADHD
There are only two stimulant medications, methylphenidate (the active ingredient in Ritalin, Concerta and other formulations) and amphetamine (the active ingredient in Adderall, Vyvanse and other formulations).
Stimulant medicines are the first-line ADHD treatment for school-aged children. However, there are criteria that must be met before medicine is considered. In addition, caregivers (and the child, when appropriate) should understand the need for close monitoring during treatment.Is having ADD a disability? ›
Yes. Whether you view attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as neurological — affecting how the brain concentrates or thinks — or consider ADHD as a disability that impacts working, there is no question that the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) covers individuals with ADHD.Is ADD a genetic disorder? ›
Genetics. ADHD tends to run in families and, in most cases, it's thought the genes you inherit from your parents are a significant factor in developing the condition. Research shows that parents and siblings of someone with ADHD are more likely to have ADHD themselves.Is ADD a brain impairment? ›
For example, a child or teen with ADHD may have trouble in school and home with paying attention, concentrating, losing things, following directions, sitting still, acting without thinking, or getting mad and frustrated easily. ADHD is a brain disorder.Is ADD form of autism? ›
In short, the answer is “no”. While autism and ADHD are both neurological conditions, they're not the same thing. There are, however, many overlapping symptoms between ADHD and autism and it's not uncommon for people to have a dual diagnosis.What are the 3 primary characteristics of ADD ADHD? ›
The three primary characteristics of ADD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. The signs and symptoms of attention deficit disorder may vary. Most children show some of the characteristics below at one time or another, which can be age appropriate.
Anxious ADD is one of the theorized “7 types of ADD” (Classic ADD, Ring of Fire ADD, Temporal Lobe ADD, Limbic ADD, Inattentive ADD, Overfocused ADD) and is characterized by a severe feeling of anxiousness and nervousness as well as inattention.. These symptoms are caused by a dysregulated brain.What vitamins help with attention deficit disorder? ›
Supplements and Vitamins for ADHD Focus
Vitamins — particularly zinc, iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin B, and magnesium — are critical to healthy brain function. Experts recommend that people should strive to eat well-balanced meals and maintain healthy levels of these key nutrients, experts say.
In adults, the main features of ADHD may include difficulty paying attention, impulsiveness and restlessness. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Many adults with ADHD aren't aware they have it — they just know that everyday tasks can be a challenge.Are people with attention deficit disorder smart? ›
Does ADHD affect IQ? A popular misconception is that all children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are naturally smarter and have a higher IQ than children without ADHD. However, there is no correlation between this condition and intelligence.Do you get ADHD from mom or dad? ›
A comparison with DNA from unaffected patients showed an abnormality in the sequences. Thayer's study shows that the ADHD group of children had larger and more frequent variations. Fathers with ADHD will pass this code discrepancy to offspring. Barkley explains that the heritability of ADHD runs around 80 percent.Does attention deficit disorder get worse as you get older? ›
Can Your ADHD Get Worse as You Age? ADHD is a developmental disorder that's typically diagnosed during childhood. While the symptoms of ADHD may change with age, this condition often persists into adulthood. Rather than intensifying with age, ADHD tends to improve, especially with ongoing treatment and management.Is ADD caused by trauma? ›
Trauma and traumatic stress, according to a growing body of research, are closely associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD). Trauma and adversity can alter the brain's architecture, especially in children, which may partly explain their link to the development of ADHD.Can you outgrow Attention Deficit Disorder? ›
Many children (perhaps as many as half) will outgrow their symptoms but others do not, so ADHD can affect a person into adulthood. 2. There are different types of ADHD: predominantly hyperactive/impulsive presentation; predominantly inattentive presentation; combined presentation.Why is ADD no longer a diagnosis? ›
However, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) only recognizes only ADHD. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) does not provide criteria for ADD. Doctors now consider ADD an outdated term.What are the core symptoms of attention deficit disorders? ›
Often has trouble holding attention on tasks or play activities. Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly. Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (e.g., loses focus, side-tracked). Often has trouble organizing tasks and activities.
Use visual prompts that remind them of their goals, what is important to them and what motivates them. Additionally, they can break big tasks into pieces, develop a plan of action and make time visible. Practice being kind to themselves and show themselves compassion.How do you train someone with ADD? ›
- Cut down on distractions so they can focus better and stay on task. ...
- Create daily routines for them to follow.
- Give them more time to finish tasks or training and follow up to see if they need help understanding any part of their work.
Behavioral therapy can help people with ADHD develop new, more positive behaviors and help them manage their symptoms more effectively. Behavioral therapy may work alongside medication and is often a part of an ADHD treatment plan.Can ADD be seen on a brain scan? ›
Though brain scans cannot yet reliably diagnose ADHD, some scientists are using them to identify environmental and prenatal factors that affect symptoms, and to better understand how stimulant medications trigger symptom control vs. side effects.Is ADD a form of depression? ›
ADHD and depression are separate disorders but tend to have much overlap. If you've been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and depression, you might wonder what this means for you in terms of prognosis, treatment, and lifestyle changes you can make to improve your situation.What are the main traits of ADD? ›
- being unable to sit still, especially in calm or quiet surroundings.
- constantly fidgeting.
- being unable to concentrate on tasks.
- excessive physical movement.
- excessive talking.
- being unable to wait their turn.
- acting without thinking.
- interrupting conversations.
Difficulty paying attention
In school aged children, symptoms of inattention may look like: difficulty with sustaining attention, in play or completing work. difficulty listening and following directions. difficulty paying attention to detail and making seemingly small mistakes.
Biological: ADHD is associated with the way certain neurotransmitters (chemicals in the brain that help control behavior) work, especially dopamine and norepinephrine, and this difference causes changes in two different attentional networks of the brain — the default network, associated with automatic attention and the ...What is the best ADD medication for adults? ›
ADHD specialists recommend methylphenidates as the first-choice medication for treating children and adolescents, and amphetamines as the first-choice medication for adults.How does sugar affect ADHD? ›
A study1 conducted by the University of South Carolina concluded that the more sugar hyperactive children consumed, the more destructive and restless they became. A study2 conducted at Yale University indicates that high-sugar diets may increase inattention in some kids with ADHD.
Beginning around puberty, people with ADHD are more likely to experience shorter sleep time, problems falling asleep and staying asleep, and a heightened risk of developing a sleep disorder. Nightmares are also common in children with ADHD. See Full Reference , especially those with insomnia.How do you get energy with ADHD? ›
Everything from taking a shower, to going for a walk, to dancing around the living room for a few minutes were recommendations that people offered. Other activities, like doing the dishes or vacuuming, can help too. Anything that gets the blood flowing to the muscles will give a boost to the brain, as well.What is the best long term ADHD medication? ›
Adderall XR is the longer-lasting form, designed to be effective for 10-12 hours.What is the most common treatment for ADHD? ›
Stimulants. Stimulants are the most common type of prescription medication healthcare providers use to treat ADHD. Despite their name, stimulants don't work by increasing your stimulation. Rather, they work by increasing levels of certain chemicals (neurotransmitters) in your brain called dopamine and norepinephrine.What are the top 3 ADHD medications? ›
The most popular ADHD medications among ADDitude readers include (in alphabetical order): Adderall XR (amphetamine) Concerta (methylphenidate) Dexedrine (amphetamine)What are the 4 ways ADHD can be treated? ›
Standard treatments for ADHD in adults typically involve medication, education, skills training and psychological counseling. A combination of these is often the most effective treatment. These treatments can help manage many symptoms of ADHD , but they don't cure it.What are 3 ways to treat ADHD? ›
Standard treatments for ADHD in children include medications, behavior therapy, counseling and education services. These treatments can relieve many of the symptoms of ADHD , but they don't cure it. It may take some time to determine what works best for your child.What is the most popular ADD medication? ›
Stimulants are the best and most common type of medication used to treat ADHD. There are only two stimulant medications, methylphenidate (the active ingredient in Ritalin, Concerta and other formulations) and amphetamine (the active ingredient in Adderall, Vyvanse and other formulations).What is prescribed for adults with ADD? ›
ADHD medications approved for adults include methylphenidate; Focalin, Focalin XR; Concerta; Daytrana; Metadate CD; and the amphetamines, Adderall XR and Vyvanse.What is the best medication for inattentive add? ›
Psychostimulants are the medications of choice in treating ADHD. The two types that are most commonly used are amphetamine and methylphenidate. Mixed amphetamine salts are marketed under the brand name Adderall®. Methylphenidate is sold under the brand names Ritalin®, Concerta®, Metadate® and others.
Iron, Zinc, and Vitamins C and B6 for ADHD
Vitamin C is a building block of neurotransmitters, while iron and vitamin B6 increase dopamine levels. Zinc regulates dopamine, and may help treat ADHD symptoms in some children when used with conventional medication and treatments.
Qelbree is a non-stimulant approved for the treatment of ADHD in children and adults in 2021 and 2022, respectively. Other new ADHD medications on the market include Jornay PM and Adhansia XR – stimulant medications approved in 2019 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in children and adults.What are 2 treatments for ADHD? ›
However, there are plenty of other treatment options available for those who do not want their child to use ADHD drugs. Therapy on its own is shown to be highly effective at treating ADHD. Types of therapy used for ADHD include behavior therapy, talk therapy, and family therapy.What causes adults to develop add? ›
Genetics. ADHD can run in families, and studies indicate that genes may play a role. Environment. Certain environmental factors also may increase risk, such as lead exposure as a child.Can Add get worse with stress? ›
Stress can trigger or intensify ADHD symptoms. At the same time, living with ADHD may cause a perpetual state of stress. This could be due to a variety of reasons. Research has shown that stress affects the prefrontal cortex, the same location of the brain affected by ADHD.Is add a disability for adults? ›
In past decades, adults with ADHD were ineligible to receive disability benefits. Fortunately, today, adults with ADHD symptoms that are considered disabling by the Social Security Administration (SSA) may be eligible to receive benefits from the federal government.What are the 3 main symptoms of ADD? ›
ADHD, also called attention-deficit disorder, is a behavior disorder, usually first diagnosed in childhood, that is characterized by inattention, impulsivity, and, in some cases, hyperactivity.What are the 9 symptoms of inattentive ADHD? ›
- Lack of attention to detail. A child with inattentive ADHD may not pay careful attention to classroom assignments or household chores. ...
- Trouble staying focused. ...
- Frequent spaciness. ...
- Difficulty following instructions. ...
- Easily distracted. ...
- Forgetfulness. ...
- Often misplacing possessions. ...
- Difficulty sustaining mental effort.
- Take a high-quality multivitamin and mineral supplement every day. ...
- Take omega-3 fatty acids. ...
- Eliminate everyday stimulants. ...
- Exercise daily for 30-45 minutes. ...
- Limit screen time. ...
- Think of food as a drug. ...
- Get screened for other issues. ...
- Never give up seeking help.