ADHD : Types & Symptoms

Types of ADHD

ADHD is a condition marked by difficulties controlling impulsive behavior. Although not medically diagnosed, people may experience ADHD, or may have certain problems they suspect are related to ADHD. ADHD is also often described as an inability to sit still or pay attention in school or at work. It can cause problems at school and at home.

The three types of ADHD are each recognized by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and are officially defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the official guide to mental disorders used by mental health professionals. In this guide, ADHD is described as an attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Anyone who feels they may have ADHD should speak with a doctor about the possibility of a formal diagnosis. It is worth noting that ADHD does not mean that the person will have trouble performing any particular task. Rather, ADHD means there are some behaviors associated with ADHD.

Fast facts on the types of ADHD

There are three types of ADHD. Learn more about each type.

When talking about a diagnosis, therapists use “a” or “b” for example, not “ADHD-ID” or “ADHD-ID(A).”

ADHD is not always indicated. People may have the same problem, but not have ADHD.

Treatment depends on the type of ADHD.

ADHD-I is rare, affecting 1-3 percent of the population, depending on the definition used.

ADHD-II affects 1-6 percent of the population.

ADHD-III affects 0.5-2 percent of the population.

What is ADHD?

ADHD-I is characterized by hyperactivity that is not expressed in other activities. ADHD-I is characterized by hyperactivity that is not expressed in other activities.

The characteristics of ADHD describe difficulties with:

Hyperactivity or inattention, which can be expressed through:
– increased talkativeness, talking a lot
– increased physical activity, or
– increased restlessness or fidgeting

Abnormal behavior in combination with the above, which is hyperactive or inattentive. Inattentive inattention may cause difficulty concentrating and organizing the environment. The disorder also is often accompanied by:

  • Impulsive behavior, such as:
  • easy problems
  • time wasting, such as watching TV or playing computer games
  • interruptions in the flow of thought
  • difficulty following instructions, such as directions from a teacher or parent
  • Social or behavioral problems, such as:
  • narcissistic behavior
  • less conscientious behavior
  • difficulty following rules or authority
  • repetitive and excessively upbeat speech
  • Repeatedly postponing or canceling plans
  • Having trouble with falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking early
  • Problems paying attention in class or at work
  • Reaching a peak at certain times of the day, such as during the morning or during the first few hours of the school day
  • Skipping class
  • Difficulty meeting deadlines

To complicate matters, people with ADHD may not show these behaviors to anyone except others with ADHD.


The more commonly known version of the disorder is ADHD-I. The term ADHD-I describes the symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that are not expressed in other behaviors.

People with ADHD-I are thought to have a milder form of the disorder.

The preferred term for this form of the disorder is nonrestrictive co-ordination disorder. For example, a person with ADHD-I may need to concentrate or pay attention more than those with ADHD-I, but they do not necessarily act impulsively.

ADHD-I is a more specific condition and does not encompass the full range of symptoms of the more commonly known ADHD.


The most common type of ADHD, ADHD-II is characterized by the combination of hyperactivity and impulsivity. People with ADHD-II tend to have problems organizing and carrying out plans, as well as paying attention to tasks, and may have trouble with transitions between activities or at home.

ADHD-II is also associated with impulsive behavior.

Hyperactivity is more common in people with ADHD-II than in those with ADHD-I.


ADHD-III is the most severe form of the disorder and often occurs with symptoms of both inattention and hyperactivity. It is not considered a separate disorder, but rather a symptom of the more commonly known ADHD.

Symptoms of ADHD-III include:
  • impulsivity, such as:
  • misbehaving, even if told not to
  • hyper-extending body and limbs
  • having a hard time controlling the body and often shaking
  • Being easily distracted
  • Overly excited

Because of the number of symptoms that can occur with ADHD-III, it may be hard for others to distinguish between the two types of the disorder.

Treatment options

ADHD medications can be used to treat the symptoms of the disorder. ADHD medications can be used to treat the symptoms of the disorder.

Medications can help to treat the symptoms of ADHD. They may reduce excessive impulsivity and hyperactivity and may also help with some of the social or behavioral symptoms.

The best medication for ADHD varies by a person’s personality, because not everyone responds the same way to medications. However, the most widely used medication for ADHD is methylphenidate.

Methylphenidate is also known by the brand names Ritalin and Concerta. Methylphenidate also has its own doctor-recommended brand, Relpaq.

To find a doctor to help find the right medication, ask for a referral from a doctor or a trusted family member.


ADHD medication is available as tablets, capsules, or liquids. A dose of 4 mg (mg) or less is recommended for children.

Women should take the same dose as their partners, as the drugs are most effective when taken with a partner’s.

Some people need less or more than the recommended dose. People with severe ADHD or serious health issues may need more or less of the medication than recommended.

What to watch for

People taking a medication to treat ADHD may experience:

  • headaches, especially when taking too much medication at the same time
  • discoloration of the skin (e.g., dark-colored eyes)
  • low blood sugar or decreased appetite
  • low blood pressure
  • low blood sugar
  • rash
  • People should talk to their doctor or pharmacist about any new symptoms or side effects.
Conditions that may mimic ADHD

Hyperactivity can be a symptom of other conditions, including:

Developmental disorders : These include autism spectrum disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, as well as ADHD. These disorders often occur together.

These include autism spectrum disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, as well as ADHD. These disorders often occur together.

Autoimmune diseases: A variety of conditions may also cause symptoms of hyperactivity, including Type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

During the ADHD diagnosis process, a doctor will usually check a person’s medical history and may ask about their family’s medical history and habits.

The doctor may then run blood tests to check for some of the symptoms that may be related to ADHD, such as:

  • tremors
  • autism spectrum disorders
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • anemia
  • diabetes
  • hepatitis
  • kidney failure
  • kidney damage
  • leukemia
  • cancer
  • swallowing disorders
  • loss of weight
  • seizures

Orthostatic hypotension: This condition occurs when the body’s blood pressure falls suddenly when standing up, causing the person to faint. It is more common in people with asthma, diabetes, and diabetes.


Many factors, both inside and outside of the body, can trigger the symptoms of ADHD. Common factors include:

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder was first classified in 1974. The specific symptoms of ADHD differ from person to person, and a person’s symptoms may vary over time. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder was first classified in 1974. The specific symptoms of ADHD vary from person to person, and a person’s symptoms may vary over time.


In the early stages of ADHD, the child may find school, sports, and friends difficult, which may lead to hyperactivity and anxiety.

ADHD may be triggered by stress at home, at school, or in the community. The higher-order functioning and anxiety symptoms may also be present in the early stages.

Depression and anxiety

ADHD may be difficult to treat in some people because of ongoing depression and anxiety. A doctor or mental health specialist may be able to recommend medications and therapy to improve ADHD symptoms.


Some children may have trouble sleeping because of ADHD-related stress or anxiety. Poor sleep quality can make ADHD symptoms worse.


Some ADHD symptoms may be worsened by significant stress, anxiety, or problems at home or school.

However, parents should talk to their child’s teacher or child care provider about other sources of stress that could be contributing to ADHD.


A combination of genetics and environmental factors can cause ADHD. There is no “cure” for ADHD. The disorder can be managed to improve a person’s ability to learn and function.

There is no specific cause of ADHD, but doctors believe that many children with ADHD have both inborn and environmental factors.

Some factors can include:
  • the home life of the child
  • their diet
  • their exposure to certain substances
  • their stress levels
  • their genetics

Some of these factors may be more important than others in determining a person’s chances of developing ADHD.


The most serious risk for ADHD is having a child with ADHD. ADHD affects one in every five U.S. children, and most cases are caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors.

The main risk factors are not being tested for as a child and having low IQ, low weight, low blood sugar, or delayed growth.


ADHD is often considered to be a disorder of impulsivity and hyperactivity. However, ADHD can also cause a person’s attention to become focused on repetitive behaviors or routines. This type of attention can be very difficult for others to deal with.

ADHD affects one in every five U.S. children. Most people with ADHD learn to live with the condition and many can learn how to overcome the challenges it creates.

To manage symptoms, a person with ADHD needs to follow an individualized treatment plan.

Regular exercise and weight loss can be helpful. A doctor or mental health specialist can help a person create a plan tailored to their specific needs.

Occasional medication to help reduce hyperactivity and reduce ADHD-related symptoms may be beneficial.

For those with ADHD, physical activity and music can be relaxing and beneficial, which can help them control and reduce their symptoms. Music therapy can also help a person identify what it is that they are trying to control and take action to reduce it.

Bipolar disorder is also common among people with ADHD. Many people with ADHD have bipolar disorder as well, which means that they can have both ADHD and bipolar disorder at the same time.

ADHD is treatable, with many people finding that therapy and medication have been successful in managing their symptoms.

It is important for parents to get regular, in-depth medical and mental health screenings for their children, because ADHD can often be misdiagnosed.

People should also talk to a doctor about how they can help their child manage their symptoms and get the help that they need.

Other causes

Though ADHD is the most common cause of inattentive symptoms, other causes include:

  • Learning disabilities
  • Some people are born with learning disabilities that interfere with their ability to learn and develop during childhood.
  • A person can learn at their own pace. Learning disabilities can range from mild to severe, depending on the specific disability.
  • Inattentive symptoms may be part of a learning disability or may be caused by brain damage or injuries.


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