A Different Kind of ADHD– The Practical Side

Difficulty paying attention, daydreaming, trouble sitting still, talking out of turn. These are most likely all symptoms many lay people can identify as part of ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  However, what about these symptoms: anxiety, racing thoughts, trouble sleeping and quick to anger?  Do you think of ADHD when you hear this list of symptoms? Probably not, but these symptoms describe what is called, Ring of Fire ADD.

To be clear, The DSM-5, only recognizes the following types of ADHD:

  • ADHD, combined type. This, the most common type of ADHD, is characterized by impulsive and hyperactive behaviors as well as inattention and distractibility.
  • ADHD, impulsive/hyperactive type. This, the least common type of ADHD, is characterized by impulsive and hyperactive behaviors without inattention and distractibility.
  • ADHD, inattentive and distractible type. This type of ADHD is characterized predominately by inattention and distractibility without hyperactivity.

However, in recent years, some professionals have begun to argue that different types of ADHD exist, up to 7 currently. The 7 according to The Drake Institute include: classic, inattentive, over-focused, temporal lobe, limbic, ring of fire and anxious. Taken from www.drakeinstitute.com, here is how these types of ADHD are described:

  1. Classic ADD

The three core symptoms associated with Classic ADD include inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

  1. Inattentive ADD

Patients suffering from inattentive ADD often have difficulty with executive functioning such as organization, planning, prioritizing, time management, and self-monitoring. These individuals are easily distracted and/or lack the mental stamina for completing routine tasks that are non-preferred.

  1. Over-focused ADD

In addition to the core symptoms of Classic ADD, those patients suffering from over-focused ADD have difficulty shifting their attention from one task to the next.

  1. Temporal Lobe ADD

Individuals suffering from Temporal Lobe ADD can be over-reactive or moody, and prone to tantrums or meltdowns in childhood. This type of Temporal Lobe ADD can be associated with memory problems and difficulties in auditory processing.

  1. Limbic ADD

In addition to the core symptoms of ADHD, sufferers of Limbic ADD may experience increased feelings of guilt, possible moodiness, and, in some cases, damaged self-esteem.

  1. Ring of Fire ADD

Ring of Fire ADD is characterized by over activity in a global sense, meaning that the brain is over stimulated in multiple areas. Those suffering from Ring of Fire ADD may experience an increase in anxiety, racing thoughts, difficulty falling asleep or sleeping through the night. This person might also be emotionally over reactive and quick to anger.

  1. Anxious ADD

Sufferers of Anxious ADD are often afflicted by additional symptoms of stress which may include headaches, digestive problems, difficulty falling asleep and low self-esteem.

Do you or does someone in your family struggle with attention and also have some of these other symptoms? If so, you may be dealing with a different kind of ADHD. Understanding exactly what kind of attention problems you are dealing with is an important first step of treatment. Once you know the unique challenges you are dealing with, you and your psychotherapist can create a plan to help you learn and implement skills to be more successful in every area of life. If you need support this year with getting your life organized and excelling in all of your life roles, we are here to help. Please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced mental health clinicians.


Yolanda Brailey