Do you have trouble staying focused, and wonder if you might have ADD? If so, this article on Inattentive ADHD may be for you.
What is inattentive ADHD?
Inattentive ADHD, formerly referred to as ADD (attention deficit disorder), is one of three different types of ADHD identified by the American Psychiatric Association. It is characterized by symptoms such as difficulty paying attention to details, being easily distracted, forgetting about routine chores or scheduled appointments, and not finishing assigned tasks at work or school.
Because inattentive ADHD has more subtle symptoms than hyperactive impulsive ADHD it can be harder to detect and is often overlooked or misdiagnosed. Children with this type of ADHD are not typically disruptive or difficult to manage, and may easily slip under the radar and remain undiagnosed until they reach adolescence or adulthood. Their struggle is an internal one that is not outwardly expressed the way traditional ADHD behavior is.
Common symptoms associated with inattentive ADHD.
According to DSM-5 (5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), to be diagnosed with inattentive ADHD, adults and adolescents must consistently exhibit five or more of the following symptoms – six or more if they are a child under the age of 16 – and symptoms must have been present for at least six months.
A short attention span.
You have trouble staying focused on tasks or play activities.
You tend to get sidetracked and think about something other than the task at hand.
Trouble paying attention to detail.
You tend to make careless mistakes on work projects or schoolwork.
Appearing not to listen when spoken to.
You struggle to listen, and have a tendency to daydream, get lost in your thoughts, and zone out during conversations.
Trouble sticking to and finishing tasks.
It is hard for you to follow instructions and complete work projects, schoolwork, or chores. You tend to bounce around between uncompleted tasks and start new ones before finishing the ones you were already working on.
You have trouble remembering to do routine things such as pay bills on time, return phone calls, respond to e-mails, attend to essential job tasks, or keep appointments, and often miss deadlines or are late for work or meetings.
Regularly losing or misplacing items.
You frequently misplace or lose personal belongings or essential items you need such as keys, wallet, cell phone, tools, eyeglasses, paperwork, or homework assignments.
Trouble organizing or prioritizing.
Understanding normal organizational categories is a struggle, and you have difficulty organizing things, prioritizing, managing your time, setting goals, and planning. Just figuring out where to begin may feel overwhelming.
Trying to avoid tasks that require sustained mental effort. You are reluctant to do things that require persistence and sustained mental focus such as filling out forms, doing work reports, or completing homework assignments, and are prone to procrastinate.
Causes of inattentive ADHD.
ADHD is a neurobehavioral disorder that affects the brain’s prefrontal cortex and plays a crucial role in planning and focusing. This dysregulation leads to low executive brain function in people with inattentive ADHD and causes them to struggle with organization.
The executive part of the brain is the part responsible for working memory, attention control, inhibition, and problem solving. The rate at which the mind of someone with inattentive ADHD can process information is diminished, and the impacted person does not have the necessary processing ability to view the larger organizational goal and see how the pieces fit into place.
Tips for coping well.
- Create a routine, write down the steps, and stick to it as much as possible.
- Limit distractions.
- Work on one task at a time.
- Break larger tasks up into smaller ones.
- Use a timer to establish how long you spend on something.
- Take short breaks.
- Set up automatic bill payments.
- Set specific times to do certain things and set alarms as reminders.
- Use designated spots for items that frequently get lost or misplaced.
- Use visual reminders such as to-do lists, calendars, planners, and/or post-its taped in strategic places.
- Use incentives to provide motivation.
- Get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and eat a nutritious diet.
- Develop a support system of empathetic friends or family members who can encourage you when things don’t go as planned, help you stay on track, and remind you of appointments.
- Join an ADHD support group.
Christian counseling for ADHD.
If you have questions, need more information than what this article on Inattentive ADHD could provide, or would like to make an appointment to meet with one of the faith-based counselors in our online directory, please give us a call.
Talking to a trained mental health professional can help you better understand why you act the way you do and equip you to address and change your problematic behavior patterns.
ADDitude Editors. “What Is Inattentive ADHD? ADD Symptoms, Causes, Treatment.” ADDitude Magazine. Updated on January 20, 2023. additudemag.com/slideshows/symptoms-of-inattentive-adhd.
“Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Inattentive Type in Adults.” Cleveland Clinic. Last reviewed on September 25, 2019. my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15253-attention-deficit-disorder-without-hyperactivity-add-in-adults.
“Stressed”, Courtesy of Elisa Ventur, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Messy Office”, Courtesy of Wonderlane, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Timer”, Courtesy of Ralph Hutter, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Desktop”, Courtesy of Behnam Norouzi, Unsplash.com, Unsplash+ License
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