The Seven Types of ADHD
Although the DSM-5 only recognizes three types of ADHD (as described above), Dr. Daniel Amen, a psychiatrist, researcher, and rexpert in ADHD who was written several books on the subject, puts forth an alternative concept of ADHD. According to Dr. Amen, he conceptualizes ADHD as have seven different subtypes. Due to the many complexities of ADHD, I believe it is worth taking time to look at Dr. Amen’s ideas, as it may help the reader understand how complicated it can be for laypeople to identify, as well as for clinicians to accurately diagnose ADHD. Indeed, these complexities contribute to controversy surrounding ADHD.
According to Dr. Amen, the seven types of ADHD are as follows:
- Classic ADHD
Classic ADHD is what people typically think of when they think of ADHD. Symptoms of this type of ADHD involve difficulty maintaining focus, impulsivity, hyperactive and impulsivity. This type of ADHD would be most close related to what the DSM-5 labels as ADHD, Combined Type.
- Inattentive ADHD
Symptoms of Inattentive ADHD “are short attention span, distractibility, disorganization, procrastination. People with this type are not hyperactive or impulsive. They can be introverted and daydream a lot (Amen, 2001).” This type of ADHD would most close resemble what the DSM-5 calls ADHD, Inattentive Type.
- Over-Focused ADHD
People with Over-Focused ADHD usually have the common stereotypical symptoms of ADHD, as well as a problem with being able to shifting attention. People with this type of ADHD tend to get stuck into negative thoughts and negative patterns and/or behaviors. In addition, they may have great difficulty to shifting thoughts and tasks, as well as having a tendency to be inflexible.
- Temporal Lobe ADHD
This [ADHD] type has core [ADHD] symptoms along with temporal lobe symptoms. The [temporal lobe]…is involved with memory, learning, mood stability, and visual processing of objects. People with this type have learning, memory, and behavioral problems, such as quick anger, aggression, and mild paranoia.
- Limbic ADHD
People with this type of ADHD tend to have high-levels of sadness and dysthymia. They also have chronic low self-esteem, low energy, feelings of guilt, and/or moodiness. Although aspects of this type of ADHD may resemble depression, Dr. Amen states that it is not depression..
- Ring of Fire ADHD
People with this type of ADHD “don't have an underactive prefrontal cortex, as with Classic and Inattentive ADD.” In contrary, their brain tends to be overactive across all areas. Symptoms of this type of ADHD may include being sensitive to noise, light, and touch. They have epsiodes in which they display mean behavior. In addition, these people can be unpredictable, fearful, and anxious.
- Anxious ADHD
People with Anxious ADHD have all the standard symptoms of ADHD, but are also very anxious, tense, and may have physical symptoms, such as headaches and stomache aches. They may be overly negative, tend to imagine the worst case scenario in all situations, and may freeze an anxiety-provoking situations, most of all in social situations where they may be juedged by others.
These seven types of ADHD proposed by Dr. Amen, illustrate how difficult it may be to accurately identify ADHD. Dr. Amen believes these complexities lead to an underdiagnosis of ADHD. Indeed, such complexities would further complicate the identification of ADHD in cultures in which ADHD may be poorly understood. I believe that this is the case with the identification of ADHD in Thailand which most likely leads to an underdiagnosis of ADHD in Thailand.