ADHD Classified Into 3 Types Based On Kids’ Personalities, Researchers Say

Jul 16, 2014

By Rachael Rettner

 

There are three distinct types of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) that match up with children’s personalities, some researchers suggest.

What’s more, looking at these ADHD types is better than the current diagnostic methods in predicting which children will go on to develop further mental-health problems, the researchers said in the new study.

The finding of these three types is preliminary, and won’t be used in diagnosis anytime soon, but it shows that it’s possible to classify mental-health disorders in a manner that’s based more on biology than symptoms, which may help researchers better understand the underlying cause of these conditions, the researchers said.

The new findings “set the stage” for improving the classification of mental-health disorders, the researchers said.

If the existence of these three types is confirmed by future research, “it has a lot of implications for targeting interventions more directly to the kids who are most at risk” of developing future problems, said study researcher Sarah Karalunas, an ADHD researcher at Oregon Health & Science University.

ADHD types

As with most mental-health disorders, ADHD is currently diagnosed based on people’s behavior — kids with ADHD can have problems holding attention, following instructions and staying in their seat when they’re told to. There are currently three types of ADHD: predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive and combined presentation (which has symptoms of both inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity).

However, the criteria currently used to diagnose ADHD do not identify the underlying causes of a child’s behavioral problems, and don’t tell parents whether their kids’ ADHD will get better or worse with time, Karalunas said.

In the new study, the researchers set out to see whether there was a way to divide up children with ADHD that would tell researchers more about the biological causes or future outcomes of the condition, Karalunas said.

The study involved 247 children with ADHD ages 7 to 11, and 190 children without ADHD. Parents answered questions about their child’s temperament, such as whether their child likes to be physically active, likes rowdy activity, is warm and friendly, or gets angry when he or she makes a mistake.

child’s temperament emerges very early in life, Karalunas said. It is thought to be based on biological factors, and is related to personality in adulthood.

The researchers then looked to see whether they could group the children based on their temperaments. They found that kids with ADHD clustered into three groups, which the researchers called “mild ADHD,” “surgent ADHD” and “irritable ADHD.”

9 comments on “ADHD Classified Into 3 Types Based On Kids’ Personalities, Researchers Say

  • . They found that kids with ADHD clustered into three groups, which the researchers called “mild ADHD,” “surgent ADHD” and “irritable ADHD.”

    It’s amazing that there are still those who ‘don’t believe in’ ADHD and would like to attribute the set of behaviours to bad parenting. Bad parenting is often in evidence as well, but is not the cause IMO.

    I’m not sure how I feel about medicating these kids. Perhaps it should be reserved for use when all else fails. I know having a set routine and making sure that eye-contact is established and held whenever possible can lessen impulsivity.. Apart from that I’d encourage a great deal of vigorous, outdoor play. Oh….and close supervision AT ALL TIMES.

    Kids with these conditions usually learn to accommodate their difficulties and generally grow into hard working and often high-achieving adults. They drive their parents to despair in the meantime, but it’s worth the effort to persevere and avoid the impulse to continually punish challenging behaviour.



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  • When I was a kid I was diagnosed as hyperactive and was put on Ritalin for several years. I remember very well how hard it was to focus and would often be concentrating so hard on trying to listen that I didn’t hear a word anyone said.

    I was very active. Always outside running around and doing stuff. And in the end that is what eventually put me on the right track. I found that if I listened “obliquely” to what my parents, teachers, etc had to say while at the same time being engaged in some kind of physical activity, I was able to retain more.

    Another thing that helped was my family and I moved to Greece when I was in the 5th grade (10- 11 years old). We had no TV because in those days there was nothing to watch, so my brother and I had to find ways of entertaining ourselves. This really sparked our creativity. Also, I went off Ritalin when we moved because it was no longer available. And that turned out to be a great thing as well.

    Interestingly, I turned out to be quite low- key as an adult. I also became a professional artist ( oil painting), but also highly involved in the technical world of 3D design and particle simulations, none of which I would have had the patience to do when I was young.

    So I guess it’s possible to grow out of it.



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  • I agree with the fact that one has to take care with using drugs. Ritalin is often prescribed too soon. Nevertheless I already use concerta for years now and it is highly satisfying. I very much regret the fact that it did not exist earlier, because it is obvious to me that in that case I had done much better at school.



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  • I was on Ritalin in the early ’70’s, so I think more is known about the drug now and what types of people will most benefit from it.

    While I was on it, I noticed no effect at all. But my parents and teachers said that they could tell that it was working. Go figure.

    In any case, knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t be so quick to prescribe drugs either. I think people have predispositions for learning in certain ways over others. For me it involved doing, getting my hands dirty, and just incorporating some kind of physical activity to the learning process. To this day, I still don’t do well on a classroom setting. My mind wanders and I sometimes lose track of what is being said. But with the advent of “the internets” and YouTube tutorials, I’ve found that sweet spot where I can learn at my own pace and replay stuff over and over until I get it. If that had been available when I was a kid, I would have probably been able to add that learning technique to my toolbox.

    In short, ADHD kids these days have the benefit of decades of study and many more ways of learning than was available to me when I was their age. And the potential for finding the right fit for the kid is greater. So drugs really should be the very last resort.



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  • first, check that your parenting skills are good, that you have stopped giving your child sugar and loads of chemicals, that their school time has good recess time, that your child has no allergies, that they get enlugh exercise, nsee a herbalist or an alternative practitioner who won’t COSH your child…etc then and only then could you even begin to wonder if your child has another problem ..if you haven’t done any of these and you let a doctor put your child on drugs then you are a problem parent for sure..coshing children is not acceptable. These drugs are terrible drugs. Please don’t do anything till you have tried everything else…including loads of love.



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  • 9
    aquilacane says:

    The study involved 247 children with ADHD ages 7 to 11, and 190 children without ADHD. Parents answered questions about their child’s temperament, such as whether their child likes to be physically active, likes rowdy activity, is warm and friendly, or gets angry when he or she makes a mistake.

    Hmm, yes to everything.



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