Six Subtype of ADHD

While most ADHD specialists usually refer to the three main forms of ADHD (ADHD predominantly hyperactivity, predominantly inattentive and combined type ADHD), fascinating new research is coming in that suggests there are six distinct subtypes of ADHD.

The research is led by Dr. Daniel Amens, a neuropsychiatrist who specializes in ADHD. The data coming in on the six subtypes of ADHD is from brain SPECT (Single Photon emission Computerized Tomography) imaging.

Using these brain scans is a powerful way of identifying types of ADHD, as it helps the patient come to terms with the symptoms of ADHD and it proves irrefutable evidence of the disorder subtypes.

Let's take a look at the six subtypes of ADHD that Dr. Amens has identified.

  1. Classic ADD
    The symptoms include inattentiveness, hyperactivity, impulsive, disorganized and easily distracted.
  2. Inattentive ADD
    Symptoms of inattentive ADD include being inattentive, slow moving or sluggish, lack of motivation. Individuals with this subtype of ADD are often described as daydreamers (think John Lennon's 'Imagine').
  3. Overfocused ADD
    This is perhaps the best worked out subtype of ADD. Individuals with overfocused ADD have trouble shifting their attention and often get stuck on one thought; they have cognitive inflexibility. They are also excessive worriers, often over-analyzing and blowing things out of proportion (mountains from mole hills). They are emotionally and physically fragile, have a fear of failure and change and are very self-critical. In these individuals, there is an overabundance of blood flowing to the prefrontal cortex.
  4. Temporal Lobe ADD
    The temporal lobes regulate mood stability and memory. Individuals with temporal lobe ADD are inattentive, irritable and aggressive. They usually entertain dark thoughts and are extremely impulsive.
  5. Limbic ADD
    Individuals with the limbic subtype frequently entertain feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness. They're negative and have low grade depression, always seeing the glass as half empty.
  6. Ring of Fire ADD
    These individuals display irritable and overly aggressive behaviors. They're also easily distracted and overly sensitive. They're very oppositional and argumentative and are 'hyperverbal', constantly speaking.
To have your child diagnosed, set an appointment with a Brain SPECT specialist and have them perform a diagnosis. Getting a professional diagnosis is instrumental in having your child begin a treatment program.

For more information, please visit Dr. Amen's website at

It may help to chat online with other parents about symptoms of ADD and ADHD.