Mental Health

What is Inattentive ADHD?

By December 13, 2021 No Comments
Man suffering from Inattentive ADHD

Inattentive ADHD is a term used to describe a subset of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), a neurological condition that is characterized by symptoms of inattention, distractibility, poor working memory, and frequent careless mistakes.1 Before Inattentive ADHD was given its current name, it was called ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder).

For individuals with Inattentive ADHD, this may manifest daily in a variety of ways. For example, adults with this subset may tend to forget where they put things, have trouble following instructions, find it difficult to follow directions, or have problems focusing on their school work or their job.

While Inattentive ADHD and general ADHD have many similar qualities, there are some differences between the two conditions. There are many people who may use the terms ADD and ADHD interchangeably, which may cause a degree of confusion regarding the symptomatology of both disorders.

ADD (attention deficit disorder) is the colloquial term for one particular type of ADHD. ADD is a medical condition that is based on outdated terms and is no longer used in medical diagnoses. However, it is still commonly used in a social setting to describe a subset of symptoms that fall under the umbrella of ADHD.

Diagnostic Criteria and Symptoms of Inattentive ADHD

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-5), these are the diagnostic criteria for the Inattentive type of ADHD:2

  • Difficulty listening or retaining information.
  • Frequent loss or misplacement of important items.
  • Being easily distracted when exposed to external stimuli, even irrelevant.
  • Forgetfulness regarding details in commonly repeated daily activities.
  • Compromised attention span.
  • Failure to complete important tasks in an academic or professional setting.
  • Disinclination to begin activities or chores that require concentration.
  • Failure to address details in tasks, or frequent careless mistakes.

Determining General ADHD Vs Inattentive ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impairs a person’s ability to pay attention and control impulses. It often causes people to act impulsively, have trouble staying focused, and may lead to poor academic or professional performance.

Mental health professionals often use the word ADHD to diagnose individuals who display signs of both hyperactivity and inattentiveness. The hyperactive element of ADHD can include symptoms such as not being able to sit still, blurting out answers before they’re asked a question, and not listening when you’re trying to talk with them.

Some individuals with ADHD may not have the hyperactivity component as a prominent feature of their behavior, but many still struggle in ways that interfere with daily functioning.

In comparison, those with Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD align more closely with the stereotypical understanding of attention deficit disorder. They’re often described as a fidgeting, impulsive individual, and they struggle to hold their attention and patience. Children who have this type of ADHD often have behavioral problems that may be more noticeable at school or in public than at home.

Treatment For ADHD & ADD

When seeking treatment for Inattentive ADHD, there are a variety of options available.

There are some medication-based approaches that utilize CNS stimulant medications like Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, Vyvanse, Dexedrine, and others.3 These drugs increase dopamine levels in the brain, which can help mitigate inattentive presentation in individuals with ADHD. For individuals with the hyperactive type, CNS stimulants may also reduce symptoms of hyperactivity and  impulsivity.

Other methods may include psychotherapeutic approaches, such as Behavioral Conditioning or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.3 These treatment methods specialize in identifying and  reframing thought patterns or behaviors that negatively impact one’s life.

Let Meridian Advanced Psychiatry Help with Inattentive ADHD

It is important to note that each individual’s needs are different regarding treatment for Inattentive ADHD. Some options may be more effective for one person, but have less efficacy for another.

That’s why our team of licensed professionals at Meridian Advanced Psychiatry take the time to collaborate with our clients to ensure the best course of action is taken for you and your loved ones.

Meridian Advanced Psychiatry is the only provider within the treasure to provide a complete diagnosis for ADHD.

Our detailed intake and assessment process utilizes the latest technology to examine your genetic history. We use brain wave monitoring and computerized testing to create the best possible treatment plan for each individual.

Contact us or call us at (208) 515-CARE to get started.


  1. Symptoms and Diagnosis of ADHD | CDC. (2020). Retrieved 13 December 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/diagnosis.html
  2. https://www.aafp.org/dam/AAFP/documents/patient_care/adhd_toolkit/adhd19-assessment-table1.pdf
  3. Here are the Best ADHD Treatment Options. (2021). Retrieved 13 December 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/treatment-overview
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