There are between 4-7 million children (5-9% of the population) and 9-13 million adults (4-6% of the population) diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the United States. A diagnosis of ADHD can be daunting and symptoms can be a challenge for parents and children. But treatment can make a big difference, and most children with ADHD grow up to be normal adults.

There are three types of ADHD:

ADHD, predominantly inattentive type

  • Individual does not display symptoms of hyperactive/impulsive behaviors—only ADD*
  • Has trouble paying attention, finishing tasks or following directions
  • Easily distracted; appears forgetful, careless and disorganized
  • Appears sluggish and slow to respond and process information
  • Day dreamy, spacey, shy or withdrawn
  • Often overlooked and not diagnosed with ADHD

ADHD, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type

  • Most common type
  • Individual may appear restless, fidgety, overactive and impulsive
  • Might act or speak without thinking; interrupts others
  • Talks excessively and has trouble waiting and staying seated
  • Seems to be constantly moving

ADHD, combined type

  • Individuals display both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms

*Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is a term frequently used to describe individuals that have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder without the hyperactive and impulsive behaviors. For the purposes of this guide, the more general term ADHD will be used to refer to all three types.