Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) manifests in three primary types, each characterised by distinct behavioural patterns. The first is ADHD, Predominantly Inattentive Presentation (ADHD-PI), where individuals struggle primarily with attention and focus, finding it challenging to organise tasks and follow through on instructions. The second type is ADHD, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation (ADHD-PH), marked by heightened levels of hyperactivity and impulsivity. Individuals with this type may be fidgety, restless, and prone to interrupting others. The third and most common type is ADHD, Combined Presentation (ADHD-C), which encompasses a combination of symptoms from both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive categories. Recognising and understanding these distinct presentations is crucial for accurate diagnosis and the development of tailored interventions to support individuals with ADHD in managing their symptoms effectively.

ADHD, Predominantly Inattentive Presentation (ADHD-PI or ADHD-I)

ADHD, Predominantly Inattentive Presentation (ADHD-PI or ADHD-I), is one of the three primary types of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Individuals with this presentation face challenges primarily related to attention and focus. They often struggle to sustain attention on tasks, frequently becoming easily distracted by unrelated stimuli. Organising activities and following through on instructions may prove difficult, leading to an appearance of forgetfulness in daily activities. These individuals may also find it challenging to manage time effectively and often tend to lose items necessary for tasks. Despite the absence of overt hyperactivity, ADHD-PI can significantly impact academic, occupational, and social functioning, requiring tailored strategies to address the specific difficulties associated with inattention.

Interventions for ADHD-PI often include behavioural therapies, psychoeducation, and, in some cases, medication. Creating structured environments, breaking tasks into smaller, manageable steps, and utilising visual aids can assist individuals in managing their attention-related challenges. Understanding and addressing the nuances of ADHD-PI is crucial for fostering a supportive environment that empowers individuals to navigate daily tasks and reach their full potential.

ADHD, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation (ADHD-PH or ADHD-HI)

ADHD, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation (ADHD-PH or ADHD-HI), represents another facet of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, characterised by pronounced hyperactivity and impulsivity. Individuals with this presentation often display restlessness, fidgeting, and difficulty remaining seated or still for extended periods. The constant need for movement and a seeming inability to relax can contribute to challenges in various settings, including classrooms and workplaces. Impulsivity manifests as difficulty in controlling urges, frequently resulting in interrupting conversations, making hasty decisions without considering consequences, and struggling to wait one’s turn.


Managing ADHD-PH involves a combination of behavioural interventions, psychoeducation, and, in some cases, medication. Creating environments that allow for movement breaks and incorporating structured routines can be beneficial. Additionally, teaching impulse control strategies and social skills can help individuals navigate social interactions more effectively. Recognising the unique characteristics of ADHD-PH is crucial for developing targeted interventions that address hyperactivity and impulsivity, ultimately supporting individuals in their daily lives and fostering improved interpersonal relationships.

ADHD, Combined Presentation (ADHD-C)

ADHD, Combined Presentation (ADHD-C), is the most prevalent type of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, encompassing a blend of symptoms from both the inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive categories. Individuals with ADHD-C experience challenges across various domains, including attention, focus, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. They may struggle with organising tasks, maintaining attention, and sitting still for extended periods. Additionally, impulsivity can manifest in difficulty controlling impulses, leading to interruptions in conversations and impulsive decision-making. This combined presentation often results in a more complex and multifaceted set of difficulties that can impact academic, professional, and social aspects of life.

Interventions for ADHD-C typically involve a comprehensive approach, including behavioural strategies, psychoeducation, and, when deemed appropriate, medication. Establishing structured routines, providing organisational support, and incorporating visual aids can assist individuals in managing their diverse symptoms effectively. Recognising the interplay of both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive aspects is essential for tailoring interventions that address the unique challenges presented by ADHD-C and promoting success in various life domains.

Is ADHD Common?

The prevalence of ADHD can vary over time, and accurate statistics often depend on factors such as changes in diagnostic criteria, awareness, and reporting. Additionally, ADHD diagnoses may be underreported or misdiagnosed in some cases. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the UK provides guidelines for the assessment and management of ADHD, reflecting efforts to standardise diagnostic practices and improve awareness.

However, ADHD is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that affects individuals across the lifespan. In the UK, estimates suggest that around 2-5% of children and adolescents may have ADHD, with a significant number continuing to experience symptoms into adulthood. The prevalence rates may vary between the different presentations of ADHD, including Predominantly Inattentive, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive, and Combined Presentations.

Types And Causes of ADHD

ADHD Type Characteristics Potential Causes
Predominantly Inattentive (ADHD-PI)
  • Difficulty sustaining attention
  • Forgetfulness in daily activities
  • Challenges in organising tasks
  • Easily distracted by unrelated stimuli
  • Genetic factors
  • Neurological differences in brain structure and function
  • Environmental factors, such as exposure to toxins during pregnancy or early childhood
Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive (ADHD-PH)
  • Restlessness and fidgeting
  • Difficulty sitting still for extended periods
  • Impulsive decision-making and interrupting conversations
  • Genetic factors
  • Neurotransmitter imbalances, particularly involving dopamine
  • Environmental factors, such as low birth weight or premature birth
Combined Presentation (ADHD-C)
  • Blend of inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms
  • Challenges in attention, focus, hyperactivity, and impulsivity
  • Impact on various life domains, including academic, professional, and social aspects
  • Interaction of genetic, neurological, and environmental factors

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