ADHD Inattention

The Quiet Struggle: Inattention in ADHD

The quieter side of ADHD, marked by inattention, presents its own set of challenges, often overshadowed by the more visible hyperactivity. This type of ADHD, though less conspicuous, significantly affects concentration and focus. Our insights aim to illuminate the subtleties of Predominantly Inattentive ADHD and offer strategies for managing its less understood symptoms. By diving into this facet of ADHD, we help uncover the layers of focus difficulties that many face silently.

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Alice Gendron

Founder of The Mini ADHD Coach

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Here's What You Should Know About Inattentive ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodivergent disorder that can affect a person's life in multiple ways. It can present with different ADHD symptoms, and everyone who is diagnosed can have varying symptom intensities. Some may experience a sudden burst of energy ⚡ that they cannot instantly contain, difficulties concentrating on a task, or impulsiveness. To better understand a person's ADHD experience, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) released the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which explains the three subtypes of ADHD 3️⃣.

When you have hyperactive-impulsive symptoms of ADHD, such as fidgeting, blurting out answers, or interrupting conversations, your mental health professional 🩺 may place you under the Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation. According to some studies about ADHD statistics, this type has symptoms that can be easily spotted and recognized.

ADHD Inattentive Type, however, cannot be quickly determined. It is often called the "quiet" type because people who have this are often not disruptive. Some of the inattentive symptoms of this ADHD type include having trouble paying attention, being easily distracted, or appearing to be not listening. Meanwhile, the predominantly inattentive presentation for ADHD can be more challenging to diagnose 🔍.

The Struggles of an ADHD Inattentive Type Person

While inattentive adult ADHD may manifest internally and is far away from the common ADHD stereotype, this does not mean that people with the inattentive type don't experience adverse effects in their lives. They may suffer, too, but their symptoms are not as apparent as the others. As a result, understanding this presentation and its effects on a person's life is essential. Here are some of the inattentive type ADHD struggles that they may experience.

Easily Distracted and Sustaining Interest

One of the common inattentive ADHD symptoms I experience relates to my interest in things. Though I was diagnosed with the combined ADHD type, there are still significant problems related to inattention that I experience often🙋‍♀️. 

easily distracted

Usually, I'll plan out my day by putting things on my to-do list. But as much as I want to tick off the items in my list, my difficulty sustaining attention and tendency to get distracted easily often pose problems. 

I'll start doing the task, but eventually, something else will come to my mind, and I'll get sidetracked. For instance, I might be cleaning all the clutter in my room but will get distracted by the dirt on the floor, so I'll start mopping instead 🧹. Then I remembered that there was a book I wanted to buy for the longest time, so I'll search for it online and purchase it. But in the process, I'll get lost in browsing the Tik Tok app and never accomplish anything for the whole day😭.

Difficulties Listening to Others

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder inattentive symptoms may make it difficult to listen 👂and respond to others. In school, I often get lost in my thoughts, or my mind wanders during lectures. This made it hard for me to focus on what the teacher was saying and take notes simultaneously. Sometimes, when I am called for a recitation amid my daydreaming, I feel ashamed because I cannot respond to the question😔.

difficulties to listen to someone's talking

My inattentive symptom manifested not only in the school setting. I noticed how I have a hard time listening to people's advice and tend to solve problems by myself. Just like when I was asking for directions in going to a specific place, I went off and didn't bother to listen to what the person was saying. I assumed that I knew better, and as a result, I got lost.

Trouble Organizing Tasks and Thoughts

Did you know that many adults with ADHD tend to get lost in their thoughts😵? They find it hard to focus on the task and be in the moment. 

struggle with organization

For me, this is also one of my major problems. I often think about many things all at once, and it's difficult for me to organize my thoughts properly. There are plenty of perfect ideas inside my brain 💭, but when I tend to execute them, it always gets hard for me to organize everything. There seems to be a constant mental effort I must make if I want to finish the job.

Another thing is that I tend to be disorganized with my stuff, but it depends on who sees them. For me, everything is going fine, and they're in their perfect place. If you ask me where I put my makeup kit, I'll tell you that it can be found on the right side of the bed🛌🏽, a few inches from my used clothes👚. But other people who don't know where to see things in my room, they'll say that it's a total mess.

Lose Things Often

The irony about my ADHD brain is that I always tend to misplace my things. Even though I know by heart where my stuff is, the things I mostly use daily tend to get lost whenever I need them😅. I may know precisely where my makeup kit is, but I'll always forget where I placed the Apple pencil 🖊️ I used to create my illustrations. I often ask for help from my other family members, and we'll search our entire place to find my misplaced things. Can you imagine how frustrating it is?

lose important items

The weird part is I'll find what I was looking for in bizarre places. Remember about the Apple pencil? I found it near the bathroom door, a few inches from the trash can 🚮! One time, I left my eyeglass inside my fridge! How is that even possible? I guess my ADHD brain works in mysterious ways.

Being Forgetful, Always

One of the several symptoms I struggle with when it comes to inattentive ADHD is the tendency to forget details and essential things that could affect my daily functioning.

often forgetful

Being forgetful can make us pay bills late 💸 and miss deadlines, resulting in a penalty or additional expenses incurred. The ADHD tax, or the extra cost we deliver due to our ADHD symptoms, can sometimes be costly.

Aside from the day-to-day activities we tend to miss, someone with inattentive ADHD can sometimes overlook important dates, occasions, and birthdays 📆. That's why I think I need some social skills training and know the basics. Remembering essential details can save us from trouble and embarrassment, primarily when we aim to maintain good relationships with other people.

The Imperfect ADHD Adult

Being an imperfect ADHD adult is not easy. Every day feels like a battle that I need to win against myself. I often get lost in my thoughts and tend to forget things easily, making careless mistakes. It's frustrating, but I'm trying to manage and reduce symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) while learning from my mistakes👌.

makes mistakes

It's hard to admit, but one of the symptoms of Predominantly Inattentive Presentation of ADHD is often having errors. When all the following symptoms above are met, the person's ability to select and process information may become clouded, and as a result, they will often make careless errors😭

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How Inattentive is ADHD Diagnosed?

When you are still undiagnosed and continue to experience the struggles listed above, it may be time to pay your doctor a visit👩‍⚕️. Ask them about the possibility of you having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and how you'll have access to the right mental health support that you'll need.

After this, proceed to have a chat with your mental health professional. Depending on your country, ADHD diagnosis can be given by either a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist 🩺. They will usually ask about your symptoms, development history, and family medical history to determine if you have ADHD or not.

Specifically for inattentive ADHD, nine symptoms serve as a basis for this type. Inattentive children need to have six or more symptoms, while an adult person needs to have at least five of the nine to be diagnosed with this presentation. To diagnose ADHD, a person's symptoms should be persistent and, most of the time, disruptive across different settings for at least six months 6️⃣. The individual should also exhibit these symptoms before the age of twelve.

How to Manage ADHD Predominantly Inattentive Type

Aside from your doctor's recommendation to use ADHD medications to improve the effects of your symptoms, we can still do our part in improving our focus and concentration. Here are some of the coping mechanisms that we can try:

  • Establishing a routine and sticking to it. Though we may be having trouble completing tasks, having a routine can help us manage tasks. The exact schedule 📅we do every day can help us be more organized and aware of what we need to do next.
  • Write everything down. In general, even without ADHD, you cannot fully trust your brain's capacity to remember everything. One practical solution to not forgetting anything is to write it all down📝. This way, you can review what you need to do and ensure nothing is left out.
  • Invest in a planner or journal. Planners and journals are lifesavers, especially for people with ADHD. Having a physical record of what is happening in our lives can help us see the progress that we have made and plan for the future 📒. At the same time, we can have a broader outlook on how we do, what we'll do, and how we should run things differently.
  • Set reminders and alarms. Setting reminders and alarms ⏰ can be helpful if you tend to forget things easily. Aside from the conventional way, we can use plenty of applications to follow through with our tasks diligently.

Predominantly Inattentive ADHD might get overlooked because it doesn't necessarily show physical signs. Nevertheless, it is a neurodivergent disorder that can affect people of all ages. It is essential to be mindful of everyone because while there may be few or no symptoms that you can see in a person, there are still things that they are silently battling with. Understanding and showing compassion can go a long way, especially for people with ADHD🥰.

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Predominantly Inattentive ADHD Presentation: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What are the three types of ADHD?

The three types include Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive presentation, Predominantly Inattentive presentation, and the Combined type. 

What does it mean to have the Predominantly-Inattentive Presentation?

Being predominantly inattentive means you tend to have trouble paying attention, get easily distracted, and commonly disorganized.

Does it mean you don’t have Hyperactive-Impulsive signs?

No. You may still have a certain level of hyperactivity or impulsivity, but you are predominantly inattentive. That means most of your symptoms are under inattention and they cause the more significant effects.

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