Getting to Know the ADD Types – Type 3: Over-Focused ADD

over focused add type 3

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 ADD Type 3 (also known as Over-Focused ADD):

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)

ADD Type 3 Symptoms

In addition to the core symptoms, the unique characteristics of Type 3/Over-Focused ADD include:

  • Impulsive
  • Excessive worrying
  • Inattentive
  • Struggle to see options
  • Tendency to hold grudges
  • Obsessive and inflexible
  • Hold onto their own opinion without listening to others
  • May or may not be hyperactive

ADD Quick Facts

  • Over-Focused ADD is the third most common type of ADD.
  • Those with Type 3 ADD can have difficulty shifting their attention. They become hyper-focused on one thing while tuning out everything else.
  • People with Over-Focused ADD tend to get “stuck” in negative thought patterns and behaviors.
  • Over-Focused individuals can be argumentative, oppositional and can have outbursts when things don’t go a certain way.
  • People with Over-Focused ADD have troubles with cognitive processing; they aren’t inattentive, but over-attentive.
  • Over-Focused ADD has been mistaken for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Impulsivity is a pivotal difference between the two. People with OCD typically aren’t impulsive, whereas those with Over-Focused ADD tend to make more impulsive decisions.
  • Type 3 ADD is often found in substance abusers as well as in the children and grandchildren of alcoholics.

Implementing these six tips will help you manage the symptoms of ADD Type 3:

Boost Your Levels:

One way to treat Over-Focused ADD is to increase the dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain. The best way to boost both is with exercise. Exercise can help to distract from obsessive thoughts, provide relaxation for open-mindedness, and boost blood flow to the brain.

Diet and Supplements:

An optimal diet for individuals with Over-Focused ADD will include the proper amount of high-quality proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbs. Supplements such as ginseng, tyrosine and green tea help to support focus.

Ensure Quality Sleep:

It’s recommended that individuals with Type 3 ADD get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Getting appropriate levels of sunlight during the day can also increase your body’s production of serotonin, and supporting healthy habits such as limiting playing video games. In the evening, serotonin converts into melatonin, which aids in getting a good night’s sleep.

3-Thought Cutoff:

If you frequently experience obsessive or negative thoughts, establish a 3-Thought Cutoff. Once a negative thought has repeated in your mind three times, get up and do a different activity. Focusing on something else will allow you to push negative thoughts to the back of your mind.

Review Goals Daily:

One effective way to reduce Type 3 symptoms is to start writing down your goals. Review these goals each day, evaluate your decisions and adjust your behavior so that you’re working toward your goals, instead of against them.

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. 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 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. I learned about ADD Overfocused in the early/mid 80s. Who was the man who coined this phrase or diagnosis. No-one else at that time talked of this type ADD.

    Comment by Dodie — December 19, 2017 @ 7:53 AM

  2. I hadn’t heard about this until the late 1990s, even though i had been trying to find out what was wrong with me, and none of the regular ADD sites got it. Dr. Amen was the first info i found at a local bookstore.

    Comment by Tom Minkler — June 22, 2018 @ 1:31 AM

  3. What medicine is normally used to treat overfocused ADD?

    Comment by Son laer — September 10, 2018 @ 9:14 AM

  4. Recent research is mentioning that PCOS is also a brain disorder. The list of symptoms is a mile long, weight gain is one of the most common and least diagnosed. Women would love to hear your take on this.

    Comment by Shelly — October 26, 2018 @ 9:04 AM

  5. I just had a Qeeg. The results showed my brain resembles a dog that won’t let go of a bone, for instance! I saw Dr. Jorandby in Reston in 2016. She found that my scan with you showed a brain injury I had totally forgotten. I’m about to change my meds based on the Qeeg. If anyone there wants to study me further from a distance, I would be glad to send at least the summary of the results of the Qeeg. I can’t afford to come down there anymore, but if I could help others or get advice myself, let me know.

    Sally S. Thompson

    Comment by sally s. thompson — October 27, 2018 @ 6:53 AM

  6. I know someone like that

    Comment by Donna M Munhall — October 27, 2018 @ 12:14 PM

  7. Is it possible to work with someone over the phone for a consult with a child with ADHD and autism?

    Comment by Jamie Kosten — January 6, 2020 @ 2:39 PM

  8. I would like more information regarding ADD Type 3 Overfocused, please. Thank you.

    Comment by Jade — January 4, 2023 @ 7:04 AM

  9. great advice!

    Comment by Douglas Morris — July 13, 2023 @ 2:47 PM

  10. I would like more information regarding ADD Type 3 Overfocused, please. Thank you.Thank you.

    Comment by Julie — July 27, 2023 @ 1:59 AM

  11. I think I am a combination of 3 and 5. Quite possibly that no one knowing I had 3 later caused several encounters that created 5. I am female and over 40. I am also a person of color in America. Social and cultural norms would not allow this type of answer to the problems of children back then. At the same time, there is still a one-size fits all routine for both diagnosing and treating ADD/ADHD today even though it is more readily accepted that it exists and is a problem. It is also still looked at as mainly a male child's problem so females are often overlooked and seen as a person with a problematic personality rather than someone who needs coping skills (I still don't have coping skills). So much heartache and messy rooms could have been saved or fixed with a little bit of notice and instructional care. Thank you for the awareness. On the humorous side of it all, I couldn't read all of this in one sitting and kept jumping from one paragraph to the other because my lips were dry and I was worried if I didn't get any moisture on them, they might crack… If that ain't text-book, what is?

    Comment by Sonya — August 24, 2023 @ 10:46 AM

  12. p.s. Silly me, I saw and thought this was in England… Anyway, all still true. I hope people can relate. Mental health was for crazies back then. So you couldn't seek help that way or people might get afraid that you might do something horrible. I'm glad that has changed and is changing.

    Comment by Sonya — August 24, 2023 @ 3:28 PM

  13. So many of the symptoms of ADHD relate to my childhood days.. The era I was a child in combined "Children should be seen and not heard and being too much in every thing"( i.e. too sensitive, too quiet, ect) My Mother had no time for me, though I felt and knew she loved me… Now, I realise she expected me to be "normal" like my six siblings!!! I never fitted in, and somehow managed my behaviour to make things as good as I could.. and the feeling of being an imposter was the only way of dealing with it!! Having said that, as an 72 year old adult there are still so many symptoms I recognise… So delighted these symptoms are now recognised in Childhood, and help-understanding are available…

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  22. I definitely have this. Sally, you mentioned that you offered to show results of your treatment to others, I'd take you up on that. Here is my question for the clinic, and anybody who knows the answer: What medications work best for Overfocused? I have all the symptoms of both serotonin deficiency and dopamine deficiency. My guess is that a strong dose of a calming and grounding medication may be combined with a small and only small dose of a stimulant since stimulants can make this worse? I need to address the dopamine deficiency but am seeking the medicinal approach since everything else, including exercise and alternate treatments, do not work. What is the most proven med combo?

    Comment by Emanuel Voelker — December 1, 2023 @ 11:06 PM

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