ADHD is divided into three sub-types
Inattentive type, (ADD)
Hyperactive-impulsive type, (ADHD)
Combination of the above two types, (ADHD combined)
In the following symptom breakdown, you will recognise the core executive function deficits that play a major role in your ADHD sub-type. Your symptoms will determine which type of ADHD you have. We all have a bit of ADHD in us. To be diagnosed with ADHD, symptoms must have an impact on your day-to-day life and be present across all settings. Symptoms can change over time, so the type of ADHD you have may change, too.
The 3 core criteria for an ADHD diagnosis are:
Inattention: getting distracted, having poor concentration and organisational skills
Impulsivity: interrupting, taking risks, struggling with self-control
Physical hyperactivity: always on the go, never seeming to slow down, talking and fidgeting, difficulty staying on task, non-stop racing thoughts
PREDOMINANTLY INATTENTIVE ADHD (ADD)
In the UK this type of ADHD is called ADD, (without the H)
If you have this type of ADHD, you may experience more symptoms of inattention than those of impulsivity and hyperactivity. You may struggle with impulse control or hyperactivity at times. But these aren’t the main characteristics of inattentive ADHD.
The person with ADHD typically:
- Has difficulty organising thoughts and learning new information
- Has problems with organising their belongings and papers
- Has a working memory deficit
- Misses details, misunderstands information more than others, and is easily distracted
- Gets bored quickly, and shifts focus often
- Has trouble focusing on a single task
- Moves slowly and appear as if they’re daydreaming
- Processes information more slowly and less accurately than others
- Has trouble following directions
- Loses pencils, papers, or other items needed to complete a task
- Doesn’t seem to listen
PREDOMINANTLY HYPERACTIVE-IMPULSIVE ADHD
This type of ADHD is characterised by symptoms of impulsivity and hyperactivity. People with this type can display signs of inattention, but it’s not as marked as the other symptoms.
People who are impulsive or hyperactive often:
- have trouble engaging in quiet activities
- Talk constantly
- Touch and play with objects, even when inappropriate to the task at hand
- Blurt out answers and inappropriate comments
- Squirm, fidget, or feel restless
- Have difficulty sitting still
- Are impatient
- Act out of turn and don’t think about consequences of actions
COMBINATION ADHD (COMBINED ADHD)
If you have the combination type, it means that you have a combination of symptoms from both of the categories are exhibited.
Most people, with or without ADHD, experience some degree of inattentive or impulsive behaviour. But it’s more severe in people with ADHD. The behaviour occurs more often and interferes with how you function at home, school, work, and in social situations.
Most children have combination type ADHD. The most common symptom in preschool-age children is hyperactivity.
Everyone is different, so it’s common for two people to experience the same symptoms in different ways. For example, these behaviours are often different in boys and girls. Boys may be seen as more hyperactive, and girls may be quietly inattentive
TAKE THIS SIMPLE TEST TO FIND OUT IF YOU MAY HAVE ADHD
This quiz will give you a sense of whether or not you have ADHD/ADD. But it will NOT replace a full assessment by a psychiatrist.
If what we are describing happens often choose “yes”. If it happens not so often then choose “no”. The symptoms need to be visible in multiple settings, such as work, home, college and have been present since a young age or teen years.
Disclaimer – This is form is not a substitute for a full assessment by a professional who understands ADHD.
Answer “yes” or “no” to the following questions.
PART 1- INATTENTION
- I do not like to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort and focus.
- I often lose important documents, keys phone etc.
- I seem to put things down and then I can’t find them again.
- I have piles of paper and clutter around my space. I struggle to remain focused during lectures, lengthy reading and conversations.
- I find it difficult to finish long and complex tasks, even leisure activities. I often do a few tasks at once.
- I get distracted by my external environment. I find it difficult to filter out the outside stimuli. I get distracted by my inner world. I am often lost in thought imagining ideas and scenarios. I am clever but a bit absent minded.
- I forget appointments, and buy duplicates of items that I forgot I owned.
- I dislike following instructions. I like to do things my own way. I struggle to keep to routines and schedules. I know what I should do, I just don’t do it.
- I have problems with organisation. I have paper piles everywhere. I procrastinate and get overwhelmed. I have problems with organising my finances and my thoughts.
- I often make careless mistakes in school work and other activities. I skim read. I get small details wrong and make simple errors because I fail to pay attention.
- During long conversations I tune out the speaker. I often miss parts of the conversation because my mind has wandered off. Sometimes I lose my train of thought and wander off on a tangent.
You need to score at least 5 “yes” answers. If you score less than 5 it suggests it may be something else.
You may be overly stressed by a stressful situation such as a recent divorce, a death in the family, job loss, or other life changes. It might also be any one of a number of medical issues. Talk this over with your GP.
If you scored 5 and above then you may have the Predominantly Inattentive Subtype of ADHD. You may struggle with attention and distractibility. You may be forgetful, sensitive to your environment, easily distracted, or overwhelmed by busy situations.
Many adults with undiagnosed ADHD find coping strategies, (not always healthy ones) to cope with their challenges. Around 50% of children who have been diagnosed with ADHD grow out of their symptoms, but around 50% still do suffer from them into adulthood. If you still feel focus, overwhelm, and distraction are a problem consider what your answers would have been back in primary school would your score have been higher?.
PART 2 – IMPULSIVITY AND HYPERACTIVITY
Read the following questions, answer, “yes” or “no” and find out if you have an element of hyperactivity and impulsivity.
- I talk a lot. I tell great stories, and don’t have patience to hear others out. If someone else tries to speak, I may get louder if I feel pressured to say my piece.
- I often feel restless during long meetings/classes. I find it very difficult to sit still, and need to fidget to focus.
- I find it difficult to unwind and relax. Making conversation for its own sake is so boring. I often rush into and past things because I haven’t got the patience to work it through.
- My mind is always moving, and making new connections. I have had many different jobs and have moved around a lot.
- I hate long queues and slow traffic is maddeningly frustrating. I hate waiting for other people. Spare me the details, just give over the bare points.
- My mind races and I have to get out what I say right now. I don’t have patience to hear people out and I interrupt them before they have finished what they say.
- I say “yes” to things without thinking things through. Then I am left with too many commitments, and I feel totally overwhelmed.I have an engine that is always pushing me forward, I can’t seem to sit still for a minute.
- I move on and on, until I crash. I can hyper-focus on hobbies that excite me, and then when I get bored, I simply move on. I sprint rather than run a marathon.
- I wish I could have “walking meetings” Doing nothing hurts my brain and gets me upset.
- I don’t have patience to wait for others to finish speaking, and often interrupt before the person has finished speaking. I often dominate conversations because I get excited.
If you have scored over 5 you may have the Combined Subtype of ADHD, and an assessment by a professional may be in order.
While most people struggle with some of these symptoms, that doesn’t mean they have ADHD. You could be stressed by major life events or any number of medical issues. But your score suggests a full assessment by a specialist who understands ADHD may be in order. You struggle with Hyperactivity and Impulsivity. You may feel restless, talkative, impatient, and have strong emotions that overpower you, both negative and positive. You are internally driven, curious, and creative. Problems with Attention, Restlessness, and Impulsivity make up the Combined Subtype of ADHD.
If you have the combined type of ADD, your score will be higher. You struggle with attention and distractibility. You may be forgetful, sensitive, distracted, or overwhelmed by hectic situations. You may be poor at listening, your thoughts wander, you tune out. You may be hyper-sensitive to loud noise, busy places, a light touch, or strong odours.
With all types of ADHD, you may be overwhelmed when watching scary films, or stressful situations. You may lose track of what we were saying, what you were meant to be doing, or people’s names.
Some people struggle with Attention but not Hyperactivity or Impulsivity. They may be quieter, daydreaming, often lost in thought. This is known as the Predominantly Inattentive Subtype, or ADD.
NOTE: ADHD/ADD is a spectrum disorder. There are a range of symptoms and severity. Some symptoms may be a constant challenge for you, others rarely if ever.