3 Types of ADHD And 10 Categories More: Basic Symptoms

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): The Definition

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a complex neurodevelopmental condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It’s characterized by a range of symptoms related to attention, impulse control, and hyperactivity. Based on these characteristics the medical classification into 3 types of ADHD was created.

3 Types of ADHD

While ADHD is often discussed in terms of three primary types, there are also alternative categorizations and subcategories that offer a deeper understanding of this condition.

3 types of adhd

In this article, we’ll explore the three main types of ADHD and then the 10 subcategories, each with its own set of characteristics.

1. ADHD, Predominantly Inattentive Presentation

ADHD, Predominantly Inattentive Presentation is one of the three primary types of ADHD, as per the ADHD ICD-10 classification. It’s characterized by a predominant display of inattentive symptoms. Individuals with this type of ADHD often exhibit the following characteristics:

– Difficulty sustaining attention on tasks

– Struggles with organization

– Frequent forgetfulness in daily activities

– Challenges in following through on tasks

2. ADHD, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation

This is the second primary type of ADHD listed in the ICD-10. Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation is marked by hyperactive and impulsive symptoms. Key characteristics include:

– Restlessness and difficulty sitting still

– Impulsive behavior without considering consequences

– An inclination to act before thinking

– An inability to remain quiet when expected

3. ADHD, Combined Presentation

The third primary type, ADHD, Combined Presentation, combines symptoms from both the inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive categories. It is the most common out of the 3 types of ADHD and includes a mix of the following traits:

– Inattentiveness

– Hyperactivity

– Impulsivity

Get 20% off right now! (automatically applied in the checkout)

10 Subcategories of ADHD: Basic Symptoms

1. Classic ADHD

  • Inattentive
  • Easily distracted
  • Disorganized
  • Impulsive
  • Poor follow-through
  • Trouble listening when others talk to you
  • Making careless mistakes/poor attention to detail
  • Forgetfulness
  • Restlessness
  • Being fidgety
  • Difficulty awaiting your turn
  • Acting as though driven by a motor
  • Being noisy
  • Talking excessively
  • Interrupting others

2. Inattentive ADHD

  • Trouble focusing
  • Easily distracted
  • Disorganized
  • 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
  • Forgetfulness
  • Excessive daydreaming
  • Complaints of being bored
  • Appearing unmotivated or apathetic
  • Being tired, sluggish, or slow-moving
  • Appearing “spacey” or preoccupied
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder adhd

3. Over-Focused ADHD

  • Core symptoms of ADD
  • Excessive or senseless worrying
  • Getting stuck in loops of negative thoughts
  • Oppositional and argumentative
  • A tendency toward compulsive behaviors
  • Difficulty seeing options
  • Excessive worrying
  • Tendency to hold grudges
  • Difficulty shifting attention from subject to subject
  • Tendency to hold onto one’s opinion and not listen to others
  • Needing to have things done a certain way or they get upset
  • May or may not be hyperactive

4. Temporal Lobe ADHD

  • Core symptoms of ADD
  • Memory problems
  • Auditory processing issues
  • Irritability
  • 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

5. Limbic ADHD

  • Core symptoms of ADD
  • Moodiness
  • Negativity
  • Low energy
  • Frequent irritability
  • A 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

6. Ring of Fire ADHD

  • Core symptoms of ADD
  • Sensitive to noise, light, clothes, or touch
  • Cyclic mood changes (highs and lows)
  • Inflexible rigid thinking
  • Oppositional
  • 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
  • Talks fast
  • Racing thoughts
  • Appears anxious or fearful
  • Irritability
  • May or may not be hyperactive

7. Anxious ADHD

  • Frequent anxiety or nervousness
  • Physical stress symptoms such as headaches
  • A tendency to freeze in social situations
  • Disliking or becoming excessively nervous when speaking in public
  • Predicting the worst outcome in various situations
  • A tendency to avoid conflicts
  • Fear of being judged or negatively evaluated by others
  • Restlessness or feeling on edge
  • Difficulty concentrating due to anxious thoughts
  • Perfectionistic tendencies
  • Procrastination driven by anxiety
  • Worrying about future events or outcomes
  • Muscle tension
  • Sleep disturbances related to anxiety

8. Sluggish Cognitive Tempo (SCT)

  • Difficulty maintaining focus
  • Easily becoming mentally “stuck” on a task
  • Slow response times
  • Difficulty completing tasks efficiently
  • Reduced alertness
  • Forgetfulness or absentmindedness
  • Lack of initiative or motivation
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Difficulty staying organized

9. ADHD with Emotional Dysregulation

  • Frequent mood swings
  • Extreme emotional sensitivity
  • Intense anger or frustration
  • Impulsive emotional reactions
  • Difficulty calming down after emotional outbursts
  • Emotional over-reactivity to perceived stressors
  • Feeling overwhelmed by emotions
  • Quick transitions between different emotional states
  • Low frustration tolerance
  • Difficulty managing emotions in social situations

10. ADHD with Specific Comorbidities

The specific symptoms associated with comorbid conditions, such as:

  • Anxiety disorders: Excessive worry, panic attacks, restlessness, muscle tension, and avoidance behaviors.
  • Depression: Persistent sadness, loss of interest in activities, changes in appetite or weight, sleep disturbances, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, and difficulty concentrating.
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD): Frequent temper tantrums, arguing with authority figures, refusal to comply with rules, deliberate attempts to annoy others, and a tendency to blame others for their mistakes.
  • Learning disabilities: Struggles with reading, writing, mathematics, or other specific academic skills, which may result in academic underachievement despite average or above-average intelligence.


In conclusion, while the 3 types of ADHD provide a foundation for understanding this complex condition, alternative categorizations and subcategories offer valuable insights into the diverse ways ADHD can manifest.

However, it’s essential to recognize that these subcategories are not universally accepted, but they contribute to a more nuanced comprehension of ADHD and can inform tailored treatment approaches for individuals with specific symptom profiles.

Finally, with ADHD across its various subtypes, a multifaceted approach is essential. This includes considering medication management, behavioral therapy, and educational support. Creating structured and organized environments, emphasizing a balanced diet, and stress management can all play a vital role in symptom management. And of course, good sleep habits and regular exercise are also on this menu, as always! Encouraging participation in support groups and ensuring regular follow-up with healthcare providers completes a holistic strategy.

Thanks for reading!

Get 20% off right now! (automatically applied in the checkout)

Disclaimer: The article contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase something after clicking on this link, we’ll probably earn a few bucks from it. However, keep in mind that we suggest only products that we use and deserve our recommendation. This is the only way you can support our efforts to stay on track for seeking a better life, backed by science. But, please advise your physician before you make any adjustments to your habits, diet, and or supplementation.