ADHD Predominantly Inattentive - Essential Facts

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Identifying the condition

Many adults have ADHD and do not know it, and often this is because their condition is adhd predominantly inattentive. This is one of two types of ADHD. The other type is usually easy to spot because of the hyperactivity the person displays. Not so with the ADHD predominantly inattentive type person.

Often adults with this condition will learn they have it when their children are diagnosed, and they see the same behavior in themselves. It is often a relief because they may have thought of themselves as hopelessly disorganized and perhaps not even very smart.

What Inattentive Means

Everyone forgets something, or loses something, from time to time. They may even joke about having ADHD. For the person who really has it, it may not be too funny.

An ADHD predominantly inattentive person might appear to not be listening, for instance, or they may have trouble remembering instructions or may make silly mistakes.

Even if a person has this type of ADHD they may still tend to fidget with things. The need for movement is still there, just not as pronounced as the other form of ADHD.


Here are the basic symptoms that a person with ADHD predominantly inattentive might have.

  • Difficulty paying close attention and making careless mistakes.
  • Difficulty staying on task.
  • Gives the impression of not listening, whether really listening or not.
  • Difficulty following through on instructions or finishing any task, and this is not related to failure to understand or any defiant behavior.
  • Difficulty organizing.
  • Avoiding or disliking having to give a sustained mental effort.
  • Loses things needed to complete tasks.
  • Forgetful of routine daily matters.
  • Easily distracted.

Everyone has all of these to some extent. It is only considered ADHD if it is a problem. The symptoms must also be there in a variety of situations. Both at work and at home, for instance. If the symptoms occur at one but not at the other, then it is probably not ADHD.


The other side of ADHD is hyperfocus. People with this condition tend to have trouble focusing or staying on task in many situations. The problem is they have difficulty thinking only about one thing when there are so many other things fighting for attention in their head.

But once a person with ADHD does get focused, it is very hard to distract them. This is called hyperfocus, and can be a positive aspect of the condition. A person who is hyperfocused can stay with a task for a very long time and can often get much more done than someone who does not have this condition. An example might be a person staying at their desk working on a project through the night without realizing the time passing.


There are some benefits to ADHD predominantly inattentive. The main one is hyperfocus. Some people are successful because they can put an amazing amount of energy and time into a task, and that can be because of their ADHD. This leads some to think that ADHD might not be a bad thing at all.

The positive side to being easily distracted - the opposite of hyperfocus - is the ability to handle several tasks at the same time without getting frustrated or flustered. An ADHD person would do very well in a high pressure environment where they to juggle many balls in the air over a short period of time.


Help Guide: Understanding ADHD

Adult ADHD: Misunderstood potential

WebMD: Types of ADHD