written by: Finn Orfano
• edited by: Paul Arnold
• updated: 12/6/2010
Inattentive type ADHD is a sub type of ADHD as per the DSM-IV classification. Prognosis of inattentive type ADHD is often a challenge. At least 6 symptoms need to be prevalent before a diagnosis of inattentive type ADHD can be made.
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ADHD - DSM-IV Classification
ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder) or ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) is the term which is interchangeably used to refer ADD with or without hyperactivity. According to DSM-IV, ADHD has been classified under 3 categories:
Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type
Predominantly Inattentive Type and
Combined Type (1)
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Symptoms of Inattentive Type ADHD
In predominantly inattentive type ADHD, hyperactivity or impulsiveness is absent. The most prevalent symptoms according to DSM-IV diagnostic manual of American Psychiatric Association are:
Inability to sustain attention to one particular task
Inability to follow instructions
Inability to complete tasks
Inability to focus or listen when spoken to
Shifting between tasks without completion
Difficulty in organizing tasks
Difficulty in processing information
Easily distracted by external stimuli
Forgetfulness (even of daily activities)
Looses things easily
Unwillingness to participate in activities or school work that requires concentration and mental effort
Becoming easily bored
Children with inattentive type ADHD also often exhibit signs of low-esteem, depression and anxiety.
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Prognosis of Inattentive type ADHD
It is usually difficult to identify children with inattentive type ADHD as most of the symptoms are misunderstood as they are similar to normal personality traits in children such as shyness, laziness and inattentiveness. Sometimes inattentive type ADHD is misdiagnosed as a learning disability. Since there is absence of any disruptive behavior or behavioral problems that are prominent, diagnosis of inattentive type ADHD is a challenge.
The symptoms of inattentive type ADHD also often mimic characteristics that are common for everyone. Parents should be concerned when inattention symptoms in children impair the child’s performance at school and daily activities at home. If parents find at least 6 of the above stated symptoms prevalent in their children, then it could be that their child has inattentive type ADHD.
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Diagnosis of Inattentive type ADHD
The diagnosis of ADHD is carried out by a psychologist or a psychiatrist or by a pediatric counselor trained in treating ADHD disorders. A diagnosis is made based upon clinical interview, medical examination to rule out medical causes for ADHD, and other screenings to evaluate the possibility of other disorders. Diagnostic scales are based on the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for ADHD.
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Treatment of Inattentive type ADHD
The treatment of inattentive type ADHD is similar to other subtypes of ADHD. These include medications, education and behavioral modification programs. Medications that aim to decrease symptoms can have side effects in some people. Hence continuous monitoring and evaluation is required when medication is administered.
Clinical intervention or behavioral modification programs play an important role in treating inattentive type ADHD. These interventions help children's organizational skills, their management of tasks and study techniques. Counseling may also be given to children suffering from low-esteem, anxiety or depression.