Getting to Know the ADD Types – Type 2: Inattentive ADD

spinner type 2 inattentive add

Do you have ADD or ADHD? If so, do you know which of the 7 types of ADD you have? There is a way to know for sure.

Here are the signs and symptoms of Type 2 ADD (also known as Inattentive ADD):

Type 2 ADD Core Symptoms

Though each of the ADD subtypes has its own set of symptoms, they all share the same core symptoms.

  • A short attention span for regular, routine, everyday tasks (homework, chores, etc.)
  • Distractibility
  • Organization problems (like having a messy room, always running late, etc.)
  • Procrastination
  • Forgetfulness
  • Problems with follow-through
  • Poor impulse control (saying or doing something before thinking it through)

Type 2 ADD Symptoms

In addition to the core symptoms, the unique characteristics of Type 2/Inattentive ADD include:

  • Difficulty maintaining focus
  • Tendency to lose things
  • Making careless mistakes; poor attention to detail
  • Complaints of being bored
  • Appearing unmotivated or apathetic
  • Being tired, sluggish or slow moving
  • Appearing “spacey” or preoccupied

Type 2 ADD Quick Facts

  • Inattentive ADD is the second most common type of ADD.
  • Those with Inattentive ADD tend to be introverted and may have trouble finding motivation in life.
  • People with Type 2 ADD are frequently found daydreaming or looking out the window.
  • Along with struggling to complete academic tasks, children with Inattentive ADD may have difficulty listening, processing verbal instructions, and following directions.
  • Children with Inattentive ADD are often ignored because they are less likely to cause a disruption in class.
  • Many children with Inattentive ADD are extremely intelligent.
  • While the academic performance of Type 2 students may be satisfactory in elementary and middle school, their tendency to internalize their ADD symptoms and not seek treatment may cause them to hit a wall in high school.
  • Adolescents with Inattentive ADD may struggle with stress, time management, and chronic anxiety.
  • Girls tend to have Type 2 ADD as much if not more than boys.
  • Inattentive ADD is commonly misdiagnosed as a learning disability.
  • People with Type 2 don’t show the impulsive and hyperactive traits that are typically associated with ADD, so, unfortunately, many of them are never diagnosed.

Implementing these six tips will help you manage the symptoms of Type 2 ADD:


Behavior Therapy:

Behavior therapy can equip parents with the tools necessary to help their Type 2 child thrive in school and life. One effective behavioral technique for Type 2 kids is to set up a reward system: reward good behavior and withhold privileges when negative behaviors occur.

Clear Instructions:

Since children with Type 2 ADD often become frustrated when they are unable to attain their goals, giving clear and simple instructions is essential to set them up for success. Children with Inattentive ADD respond better to straightforward directions that establish fair and realistic expectations.

Break It Down:

Children with Inattentive ADD will find smaller tasks (or larger tasks broken down into smaller goals) easier to accomplish. Simply telling your child to clean up their room will not suffice. A child with Inattentive ADD will understand their task better if you say: “Put away the clothes on your bed. Then pick up the toys on the floor and put them in your toy box.”

Write It Down:

Writing down tasks and creating a checklist for your child is even better than breaking down tasks verbally. Your child will feel a sense of accomplishment when they visually see their goals being achieved.

Educate Your Child:

It’s important to educate your child about Type 2 ADD. Parents should inform their child of the positive traits associated with Inattentive ADD and help them learn coping mechanisms and strategies for critical thinking.

Get a Customized Solution:

Like many other mental health conditions, ADD is not just a single and simple disorder; therefore, treatment is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each of the seven types of ADD requires a different treatment plan, including dietary and cultural influences on ADD. What works for one person with ADD may not work for another—or could even make the symptoms worse!

ADD is a neurobiological disorder with serious psychological and social consequences. Amen Clinics is here to help you understand your brain and provide treatment options that address more than just symptoms.

Want more information? Download Amen Clinics’ free Getting to Know the 7 ADD Types eBook.

Healing Type 2 ADD starts with knowing if you have it and then finding out which type you have. We’ve helped tens of thousands of people with ADD from all over the world. If you suspect that you or a loved one might have ADD, don’t wait to get help. Call us today at 888-288-9834 or visit us online to schedule a visit.


  1. Thanks for this blog. I’ve just had the first of two consultations with a psychiatrist. I’m 27 and have struggled for as long as I can remember with focus. I did well up until about 16 in education as I found it easy and after that point more independent study was required and I hit the wall. Similar to your example above.

    It’s reassuring to see things like this I can relate to. Without the internet, I think I may have just struggled on forever.

    Comment by Pete — February 24, 2016 @ 12:53 AM

  2. Glad you found the blog helpful – and yes, you are definitely not alone in your struggle with focus.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — February 24, 2016 @ 8:28 AM

  3. Quite ironic that the free videos are so freakishly long and not concise what so ever! I couldn’t make it through the first one even, especially, because there is no option to pause and take a break or whatever. Maybe room for improvement?

    Comment by Christine Klnrt — June 28, 2016 @ 9:03 AM

  4. Same here Pete, everything was easy as long as I could memorize everything, I even had parts of the CAT test that we did yearly memorized. Then in HS it was harder to memorize things and there were more stress factors from peers. Everything in this article is me. I set 3 different alarms every morning spaced 30 min apart and hit snooze every 10 minutes so I don’t get lost in space. The alarms keep me moving through my morning routing.

    Comment by Dawn Parker — November 1, 2017 @ 5:14 AM

  5. Is there a support group for wives of adults with ADD in the Cleveland area?

    Comment by Joan — January 20, 2018 @ 9:52 AM

  6. I have all the symptoms of inattentive ADD. I have really struggled in my life due to such symptoms. I am never officially diagnosed but hope to find help some day. I am male, 31 from Kenya.

    Comment by otieno Dan — March 23, 2018 @ 8:06 AM

  7. I live in the Dallas, TX area, and so wish there was one of your centers here! Any chance of one coming? Or are there any recommended therapists who practice Dr. Amens methods here? Thanks!

    Comment by Lisa Smith — March 6, 2019 @ 3:27 PM

  8. What are the symptoms of the types of ADD other than Type 2 AD

    Betty L. Age 78 years

    Comment by Betty Latham — March 20, 2019 @ 2:31 PM

  9. Hello Betty, thank you for reaching out. You can see symptoms and information for all 7 Types of ADD/ADHD on this page:

    Comment by Amen Clinics — March 21, 2019 @ 7:09 AM

  10. My 12yr old daughter has recently been diagnosed with Inattentive ADD after another rough academic school year. Which of the BrainMD supplements would you recommend for this type?

    Comment by Sandie — April 8, 2019 @ 10:52 AM

  11. Hello Sandie, thank you for reaching out. We will connect with you via email about possible next steps for ADD for your daughter.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — April 9, 2019 @ 7:13 AM

  12. Also interested in your answer to the above question for daughter who is 12 with ADD Type 2

    Comment by Kristen — April 9, 2019 @ 8:22 AM

  13. Hello,

    I know the health system very different in USA than Scotland and ADHD much more recognised over there.

    However I an convinced my 16 yr old son is attentive ADD he ticks every box. I got him assessed at CAMS. They use Connors. It came back that he wasn’t.

    I felt the questionaires is much more geared to the hyperactive type which he clearly isn’t. I wonder how accurate a tool is is for inattentive type?

    Don’t know how else to help him and he’s struggling. Also think I’m undiagnosed as I see lots of me here as well. I manage but what can u suggest as our health system doesn’t recognise his problems?

    Any other way to help?
    Thanks Heather Reilly

    Comment by Heather reilly — April 11, 2019 @ 3:54 AM

  14. My 9 year old son is having another rough school year. He fits the category for Inattentive ADD but has never been diagnosed. Are there natural ways to help him through this or do you suggest medication? I am at a loss and hate seeing him struggle. He makes good grades but constantly has to set out at recess to complete assignments.

    Comment by Becky — April 18, 2019 @ 6:38 AM

  15. My mum thinks i have ADD. I always procrastinate, i have a messy room and I have very low grades in my subjects. Also I always end up drawing all over my school work.
    What actually proves you have ADD?

    Comment by Ameliah — April 2, 2020 @ 1:56 PM

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