What Is ADHD Combined Type?

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  • What Is ADHD?

    What Is ADHD?

    Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurobehavioral disorder typically diagnosed in children. However, adults may experience symptoms too. The most common problems associated with ADHD are an inability to control behavior, inability to focus, and overactive behavior.

    According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), 9 percent of school-aged children have ADHD. Four percent of U.S. adults have ADHD. 

  • The Types of ADHD

    The Types of ADHD

    ADHD has three subtypes:

    • predominately hyperactive-impulsive
    • predominantly inattentive
    • combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive

    People with combined type ADHD experience six or more symptoms of predominantly inattentive ADHD and six or more symptoms of predominantly hyperactivity-impulsivity ADHD. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), most children have combined type ADHD.

    Learn why people with ADHD act the way they do »

  • Inattentiveness Symptoms

    Inattentiveness Symptoms

    Inattentiveness symptoms of ADHD include:

    • struggling to follow instructions
    • appearing to not listen when spoken to
    • becoming confused easily
    • daydreaming or inability to pay attention
    • becoming easily distracted
    • having difficulty following through on tasks or assignments
    • losing or forgetting things or events
  • Hyperactivity and Impulsivity Symptoms

    Hyperactivity and Impulsivity Symptoms

    The most common symptoms of hyperactivity include:

    • fidgeting or squirming
    • being unable to remain seated for long periods of time
    • talking nonstop
    • jumping around a room

    The most common symptoms of impulsivity include:

    • saying inappropriate things without thinking
    • being impatient or rude
    • interrupting or butting into other peoples’ conversations
    • having difficulty waiting your turn

    A person with combined type ADHD experiences six or more inattentiveness symptoms and six or more hyperactivity/impulsivity symptoms.

  • Causes


    Science has not found a cause for ADHD. However, many studies have found potential factors that can influence a person’s likelihood to develop the condition. For example, environmental factors may play a role.

    Changes in utero may also have an effect. According to one study, women who smoked and drank alcohol while pregnant were more likely to have children with ADHD. Another study published in Pediatrics found that children with prenatal exposure to lead were more likely to develop ADHD.

    Genes may also play a role. A study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that ADHD may run in families. Still, no clear cause is known.

  • Risk Factors

    Risk Factors

    Risk factors for all subtypes of ADHD include:

    • Inherited genes. A study published in JAMA Psychiatry shows that several genes may make people more likely to develop ADHD.
    • Environmental factors. Exposure to lead may increase a child’s risk for ADHD.
    • Brain injury. A small number of children who suffer a traumatic brain injury may develop ADHD.
    • A mother’s alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy. A study by the Washington University School of Medicine found that mothers who smoke while pregnant increase their child’s risk for developing ADHD. Women who drink alcohol and use drugs during pregnancy also put their child at risk for the disorder.
    • Low-birth weight or premature delivery. According to a study in the journal Pediatrics, babies born before their due date are more likely to have ADHD when they’re older.
    • Gender. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that boys are more than twice as likely to develop ADHD than girls.
  • Diagnosis


    No single test can diagnose ADHD. Initially, your child’s doctor will conduct a thorough medical examination to rule out other diagnoses that mimic ADHD such as a learning disability or anxiety disorder.

    Then, they’ll monitor your child for the symptoms associated with the subtypes of ADHD. This may require observing your child during the day or asking teachers and family members to provide behavior descriptions.

    Taking all of these things into consideration, your doctor may arrive at an ADHD diagnosis.

  • Treatments


    All subtypes of ADHD can be treated with a combination of medicine and therapy.

    Medicine. Doctors most commonly prescribe psychostimulants to ease the behavioral signs of ADHD and make focusing on everyday tasks easier.

    Therapy. Psychotherapy and behavioral therapy can help a child or adult learn to manage the symptoms of ADHD. This includes occupational therapy, which will teach them how to complete schoolwork or job tasks. Parents may also use family therapy to learn to cope and effectively manage their child’s symptoms of ADHD.