Inattentive, Hyperactive, and Combination: Outlining the Three Types of Adult ADHD

ADHD in Adults is not uncommon Background: Adult attention deficit–hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is underdiagnosed in the primary care setting despite 3% to 6% of adults having ADHD-like symptoms. The Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale-V1.1 (ASRS-V1.1) is a validated, 6-question screen for adult ADHD. Our purpose was to analyze this tool for evaluating patients in a busy primary care setting.

While it is more common for children to be diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), it’s important to remember that adults can be diagnosed as well. In fact, many adults may not be aware they have it if it went untreated previously. Some who suffer from adult ADHD may remember having difficulties as a child, but others may experience late-onset ADHD. In either situation, those dealing with this disorder may have trouble functioning independently, working or attending school. If you think you or someone you love has adult ADHD, an assessment may be needed to determine whether or not this is the case. A professional will be able to answer all your questions and help the individual move forward in their daily life.

There are three main types of adult ADHD. Symptoms may be either mild, moderate or severe in nature:


Adults who have inattentive ADHD struggle to maintain focus. They often get distracted easily and have a very hard time comprehending complex instructions. In their day-to-day lives, they may come across as forgetful or unorganized. They may be unable to concentrate on a task for a long period of time. Additionally, someone experiencing adult ADHD will also lose things often and grow uninterested in the middle of activities. While having a conversation, it may appear as if they are not listening to or fully engaged with the opposite party. 


Those with hyperactive ADHD are customarily restless, fidgety, and in need of continuous movement. For example, an adult with this type of ADHD may squirm or shift frequently in their seat at a movie theater. They might also want to chat with those around them constantly, and they will usually interrupt often. Someone experiencing this type of ADHD will make rash decisions and get frustrated easily, especially in a situation that requires them to wait or be still.


As you might expect, adults with combined ADHD have a combination of both inattentive and hyperactive behavior patterns. To be diagnosed as having combined adult ADHD, someone aged 17 or older must present a minimum of five symptoms for both inattentive and hyperactive ADHD. An individual suffering from combined ADHD will show signs of being unable to focus and acting impulsively. If you believe someone you love has combined ADHD, it is always wise to contact a professional to receive a proper assessment.

Get an Adult ADHD Assessment with Reflect Neuropsychology

Reflect Neuropsychology is a leading neuropsychology firm in Southern California, specializing in counseling, therapy and neuropsychological assessment of children, adolescents and adults. We also can address your medicolegal needs and provide expert witness testimony, legal examination of medical records as well as independent medical examinations for capacity assessments and more. As a highly specialized practice, we can focus on evidence-based, personally tailored treatment and evaluation. To learn more about our services and schedule an appointment, visit us online or call us at (818) 324-3800.

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