What are the different types of attention disorders?

Poor impulse control and inattention are some of the more obvious symptoms associated with attention disorders, but these disorders can come in a variety of unique types with varying symptoms. Among the different subtypes of disorders are childhood attention disorder, attention deficit disorder (ADD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). When the symptoms of ADD and ADHD seem to be equally present, a third type, known simply as a combined type, is diagnosed. Furthermore, within ADHD there are three categories: hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity. All types of attention disorders can also be found in adults.

Childhood attention disorder is so named because its symptoms are first recognized during childhood. Symptoms include an inability to sit for long periods of time, poor memory, poor concentration, inattention, and poor impulse control. At one time, these symptoms were simply classified as attention deficit disorder, or as it is more commonly known, ADD. When he realized that some children with ADD also exhibited symptoms of extreme hyperactivity, ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, he was the label assigned to this new subtype.

Within ADHD, different subtypes can be found. These subtypes include hyperactivity, as well as impulsivity and inattention. Since symptoms are usually recognized in infancy and unaffected children can also exhibit all of these features just as easily, a doctor's diagnosis is needed before a child is considered affected by one of these types.

Attention disorders are classified according to the symptoms that seem to dominate a person's behavior. For example, a child who is primarily inattentive, but does not appear to show unusual levels of hyperactivity, will be diagnosed with ADD. On the other hand, a child who shows signs of poor impulse control or hyperactivity symptoms higher than usual will be diagnosed with ADHD. When there is an equal level of inattention and hyperactivity, the diagnosis given is of the combined type.

Although ADD and ADHD are commonly diagnosed in childhood, many struggle with these symptoms as adults. This explains an addition in the types of attention disorders, which is an adult type. Adult attention disorders can also include adult ADD or adult ADHD. With either, there are the same symptoms as in the childhood types. Attention disorders can have serious implications in an adult's life without proper treatment, and many require medication to control symptoms.

Although most attention disorders are first diagnosed during childhood, not all are. Some people are not diagnosed until adulthood. As with childhood attention disorders, symptoms of attention deficit disorder in adults can also range from mild to severe.

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