At a high level, ADHD is a brain-based disorder. The American Psychiatric Association has defined three types: inattentive, hyperactive-impulsive, and combined, which is often believed to be the most common form of ADHD.  Each has certain criteria and symptoms that must be met in order for it to be a relevant diagnosis.


(must have 6 of the 9 symptoms here and few of the hyperactive-impulsive ones):

  1. Ignoring details
  2. Not listening
  3. Makes careless mistakes
  4. Fails to pay attention / keep on task
  5. Unable to follow instructions
  6. Avoids tasks that involve effort
  7. Distracted, appear to daydream
  8. Forgetful
  9. Lose things needed for tasks


(must have 6 of the 9 symptoms here and few of the inattentive ones):

  1. Fidgeting
  2. Squirming
  3. Difficult staying seated
  4. Talk constantly
  5. Touch and play with objects
  6. Constantly on the go
  7. Trouble doing quiet activities
  8. Impatient
  9. Act out of turn
  10. Blurt out comments


Various elements of both other types of ADHD.

As the name suggests, the combination of inattentiveness and hyperactive-impulsive behavior can mean someone falls into this category. It’s the most common diagnosis of ADHD, but it’s also worth noting that most people exhibit some or many of these behaviors at one point or another. But it’s more acute in people with ADHD and generally means that the behavior is interfering with how someone functions at home, work, school, and in social situations. 

Where to go from here

How ADHD develops and why someone falls into a particular category is open to some level of debate within the scientific and medical communities. Some speculation centers around environmental issues like a chaotic home setting or dietary effects like excessive sugar, while others believe it’s genetic and may even be related to brain injuries or exposure to toxins. 

Upwards of 4.5% of the U.S. adult population are believed to have ADHD although it’s also considered to be on the rise. That would make for at least 12-14 million adults in the U.S. living with the disorder. Maybe it’s someone you know. Maybe it’s you.

Whatever your classification or diagnosis, ensure the right treatment options work for you. It may be therapy, medication, or a combination of both. Therapy can help create new behaviors to replace the old ones and find new ways to express feelings. Medications can help manage ADHD depending on the severity. 

Start by taking the Done. 1-minute assessment test to learn more.