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The Three Types of AD/HD

Part of the AD/HD For Dummies Cheat Sheet

AD/HD looks different in almost everyone. You may have problems regulating yourself if you’re dealing with AD/HD. This can happen in areas of attention, behavior, and motor movements. The term attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) comes from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) and the DSM-IV outlines three basic types of AD/HD:

  • Predominantly inattentive type. Having this type of AD/HD means that you have difficulty focusing but are able to sit still. Classic symptoms include:

    • Making careless mistakes

    • Not seeming to listen as someone else speaks

    • Being disorganized or forgetting things

    • Having trouble focusing on a specific task

  • Predominantly hyperactive/impulsive type. If you have this type of AD/HD, maintaining attention is less of a problem than being able to control your body movements or behaviors. The basic symptoms include:

    • Speaking or acting out of turn

    • Not considering consequences before acting

    • Fidgeting or feeling restless when trying to sit

    • `Being excessively physically or verbally active

  • Combined type. If you have a number of symptoms from both the inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive lists, you may have the combined type of AD/HD.

To have AD/HD, your symptoms must meet certain guidelines, including:

  • Existing for at least six months

  • Appearing before you were 7 years old

  • Having a significant impact on your life in more than one setting

  • Not being attributable to a different condition (such as bipolar disorder)

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