Understanding Five Types of ADHD and Medications That Can Help

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects individuals of all ages. It is characterized by persistent patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

ADHD is not a one-size-fits-all condition; there are different types that vary in symptoms and presentation. In this post, we will explore five types of ADHD and delve into the medications that can be used to manage its symptoms. Additionally, we will provide a link to a free online ADHD assessment that can help inform potential traits that can then be more fully explored with trained and appropriate medical professionals.

  • Predominantly Inattentive Presentation (ADHD-PI): Individuals with ADHD-PI primarily struggle with inattention. They often find it challenging to sustain focus, become easily distracted, and have difficulty organizing tasks. Some common symptoms include forgetfulness, being frequently lost in thought, and making careless mistakes. Medications commonly prescribed for ADHD-PI include:

a) Stimulant Medications: Methylphenidate (e.g., Ritalin) and amphetamines (e.g., Adderall) are commonly prescribed to enhance attention and reduce impulsivity.

b) Non-Stimulant Medications: Atomoxetine (Strattera) is an alternative for those who do not respond well to stimulants or have a contraindication for their use.

  • Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation (ADHD-HI): ADHD-HI is characterized by excessive hyperactivity and impulsivity. Individuals with this type of ADHD find it challenging to sit still, are constantly in motion, and may interrupt others frequently. They may also struggle with regulating their impulses, leading to impulsive decisions and actions. Medications used to manage ADHD-HI include:

a) Stimulant Medications: Methylphenidate-based medications and amphetamines can help reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity in individuals with this presentation.

b) Non-Stimulant Medications: Atomoxetine and guanfacine (Intuniv) may be prescribed when stimulant medications are not suitable.

  • Combined Presentation (ADHD-C): The combined presentation is the most common type of ADHD. Individuals with ADHD-C exhibit symptoms of both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity. They may struggle with maintaining focus, have difficulties with self-control, and display hyperactive behaviours. Medications used for ADHD-C are similar to those prescribed for ADHD-PI and ADHD-HI.
  • Unspecified Presentation: In some cases, individuals may exhibit symptoms of ADHD that do not fit neatly into the other subtypes. This could be due to insufficient information, atypical symptom patterns, or comorbidities that complicate the diagnosis. Medication options for unspecified presentation are based on individual symptoms and may align with the other subtypes.
  • Residual Presentation: Residual presentation refers to individuals who once met the criteria for ADHD but currently exhibit fewer or milder symptoms. They may experience lingering challenges with attention, impulsivity, or hyperactivity, but to a lesser extent. Medication use for residual presentation may be recommended on an individual basis, considering the specific symptoms and their impact on daily functioning.


Understanding the types of ADHD is crucial in tailoring treatment approaches to meet individual needs. While medications can play a significant role in managing ADHD symptoms, it is essential to consult with healthcare professionals who can provide accurate diagnosis, guidance, and monitoring throughout the treatment process.

If you suspect you or someone you know may have ADHD, it is advisable to seek professional evaluation to explore suitable treatment options. We at Anglia Counselling Ltd can help with the effects on your own social and work life, and any relationships that may become impacted. Mindfulness training can help along with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, – and couples or family relationship guidance is usually invaluable.

3 Useful Resources

The ADHD Adults Podcast

A podcast of two men discussing their journey and giving some views and guidance; well worth a listen. (Please note that some language used during these podcasts may be seen as offensive.)

Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS-v1.1)

This is a PDF format ASRS – a screening tool reported to have up to a 90% sensitivity for accuracy in assessing adults (over 18) and their propensity for ADHD traits. Click to save or print the adhd-questionnaire-ASRS111

Free Online ADHD Assessment Tool

This assessment is designed to provide a preliminary understanding of symptoms and is not a substitute for professional evaluation. It consists of a series of questions about various ADHD symptoms and their impact on daily life. Please note that the assessment is not intended to diagnose ADHD but to offer guidance for seeking professional help if needed.

Adult ADHD Screening Survey

About the author
Managing Director / Counsellor at Anglia Counselling Ltd | 07747042899 | [email protected] | Business Website

Bob Brotchie is a counsellor, mindset consultant and creator of "Conscious Living by Design"™. He writes for Anglia Counselling, is featured on various other websites and introduces us to many guest writers all covering topics related to mental health and wellbeing.

Bob provides bespoke counselling services to individuals and couples in the privacy and comfort of a truly welcoming environment at his Anglia Counselling company office, located near Newmarket in Suffolk, England. Bob also provides professional online counselling, for local, national, and international clients. The therapeutic models offered are bespoke to the client’s needs, especially those in receipt of 'childhood emotional neglect' (CEN), whilst integrating a mindful approach to psychotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) principles. For clients experiencing trauma and/or phobia, Bob offers EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing).