The Three Types of Childhood ADHD
To cover their bases, psychiatrists decided in 1980 to reclassify ADHD as two separate subsets. One was attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity, or ADD–H. The other was attention deficit disorder without hyperactivity, or ADD with no “H.” On further study, researchers realized hyperactivity/impulsivity was actually a larger problem than inattention, and decided to change the name of the disorder to reflect their findings.
The symptom of inattention in childhood ADHD actually refers to a whole galaxy of attention problems, not just a lack of attention. Your child could also be so focused on one thing that she can't pay attention to anything else. Or she may not be able to decide what to focus on, how to maintain her attention, or how to shift her focus when necessary.
In 1987, the disorder was renamed attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, and reclassified as a disorder with not two, but three distinct subsets: inattentive, hyperactive/impulsive, and combination (children who display both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms). For the purpose of this book, the disorder will be called childhood ADHD to comply with current psychiatric terminology.
The “predominantly inattentive type” is for children with attention deficits but no problems with hyperactivity. The “predominantly hyperactive/impulsive type” diagnosis is used for hyperactive children, who may also be impulsive. The “combined type” is for children with both inattentive and hyperactive/ impulsive behaviors.
Outgrowing the Disorder?
Adolescents and adults may outgrow or overcome their symptoms. If so, they are diagnosed as being “in partial remission.” This reflects the new view that people do not outgrow the disorder, but may learn to compensate so that the symptoms are not disabling. There is also a catch-all diagnosis for children who don't meet the standard criteria. If they don't have enough symptoms or their symptoms aren't severe enough, they can be diagnosed with an atypical form of ADHD called attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder not otherwise specified or ADHD-NOS.