Sometimes, it’s obvious when someone has ADHD…there’s the constant fidgeting, getting easily distracted and leaving things unfinished. But sometimes it’s a lot more difficult to tell when someone has it. That’s because ADHD is not a one-size-fits-all diagnosis. As any child psychiatrist will tell you, there are actually several types of ADHD and they all require different treatment plans.
Dr. Daniel Amen, an MD, psychiatrist and ADHD expert, has divided the types of ADHD into seven. His seven subtypes were developed from brain scans, which he believes helps get an accurate diagnosis.
Type One is Classic ADHD. This is the easiest type to spot due to the notorious ADHD symptoms. Primary symptoms include inattentiveness, distractibility, hyperactivity and disorganization. Brain activity is normal at rest, but activity is decreased during a concentration task. Classic ADHD is treated with behavioral therapy and medication like Ritalin or Adderall.
Type Two is Inattentive ADHD. This has most of the symptoms of classic ADHD, but instead of hyperactivity the patient has low energy. This type of ADHD is spotted on the brain scan because of low dopamine levels. This kind of ADHD responds well to natural treatments like L-Tyrosine supplements and a high protein, low carb diet with regular exercise.
Type Three is Over-Focused ADD. This includes the primary ADHD symptoms plus trouble shifting attention, being stuck on negative thoughts and behaviors, holding grudges, excessive worrying and being argumentative. People with over-focused ADD tend to need a strict routine. It is often seen in families with addiction problems. These patients tend to do well with behavioral therapy at an orange county counseling center along with serotonin-boosting supplements and medication.
Type Four is Temporal Lobe ADD. This has the hallmark features of ADHD plus irritability, aggressiveness, mild paranoia and learning problems. Antiseizure medications have been shown to be effective when treating Temporal Lobe ADD.
Type Five is Limbic ADD. This is a combination of classic ADHD, depression and low motivation. Poor appetite, excessive guilt and low self-esteem are common side effects. Antidepressants are usually prescribed for treatment.
Type Six is The Ring of Fire ADHD or “ADHD Plus.” Patients with this type of ADHD suffer from an entirely overactive brain. This is thought to be a cross between ADHD and bipolar disorder as patients are angry, moody, aggressive and talk excessively. Individualized treatment from a psychiatrist is essential.
Type Seven is Anxious ADHD. This includes classic ADHD symptoms along with tension, nervousness, physical stress and a tendency to predict the worst outcome of a situation. The treatment goal is to promote relaxation and boost GABA and dopamine levels in the brain.
No one should ever attempt to self-diagnose any type of ADHD. Professional treatment is always recommended. In addition, studies have shown that taking a daily multivitamin, limiting caffeine, getting daily aerobic exercise and limiting TV and video game time can help people with ADHD function better.