Ask the Experts

ADHD Speak: Terminology Explained

“Can you tell me the difference between ADHD and inattentive ADHD?”

Some with ADHD are restless, find it hard to sit still, and are hyperactive. Others have trouble thinking before they speak or act. They are impulsive. Still others have trouble with attention span, and tasks that require time management and organization. They are inattentive.

Doctors diagnose ADHD in people who have a chronic and pervasive history of one or more of these behaviors. We add a term to the diagnosis to clarify which of these behaviors is present: ADHD, Primarily Inattentive Type (problems with attention span/inattention); ADHD, Hyperactive-Impulsive Type (problems with hyperactivity and/or impulsivity); ADHD, Combined Type (problems in all three areas).