Types of ADHD

Medically Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari, MD on September 18, 2020

When it comes to ADHD, no one diagnosis or treatment fits all. Everyone is different. The American Psychiatric Association has identified three types. Each has different symptoms, and treatments are based on those symptoms.

Inattentive Type

A person with this type must have at least six of these nine symptoms, and very few of the symptoms of hyperactive-impulsive type:

  • Not paying attention to detail
  • Making careless mistakes
  • Failing to pay attention and keep on task
  • Not listening
  • Being unable to follow or understand instructions
  • Avoiding tasks that involve effort
  • Being distracted
  • Being forgetful
  • Losing things that are needed to complete tasks

Hyperactive-Impulsive Type

To have this type, a person has to have at least six of these nine symptoms, and very few of the symptoms of inattentive type:

  • Fidgeting
  • Squirming
  • Getting up often when seated
  • Running or climbing at inappropriate times
  • Having trouble playing quietly
  • Talking too much
  • Talking out of turn or blurting out
  • Interrupting
  • Often “on the go” as if “driven by a motor”

Combined Type

This is the most common type of ADHD. People with it have symptoms of both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive types.

Show Sources


National Institute of Mental Health: "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder."

CDC: "Symptoms of ADHD."

WebMD Live Events Transcript: "ADHD: Diagnosing a Disorder," Dec. 17, 2003.

The American Psychiatric Association. Council on Children, Adolescents and Their Families: "Brain Imaging and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry with Special Emphasis on Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT)."

FDA:"FDA permits marketing of first brain wave test to help assess children and teens for ADHD."


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