Getting to Know the ADD Types – Type 7: Anxious ADD

Anxious ADD

If you think attention-deficit disorder (ADD), or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as it is more commonly called, is just one thing, you’re wrong! The brain-imaging work at Amen Clinics—over 250,000 SPECT scans—shows that it is not a single or simple disorder. In fact, there are 7 types of ADD/ADHD.

Each type has a unique set of symptoms that requires a personalized treatment plan. Knowing your type or your child’s type can help you find the most effective treatment to manage symptoms.

The brain-imaging work using SPECT scans at Amen Clinics shows that there are 7 types of ADD/ADHD and each has a unique set of symptoms that requires a customized treatment plan. Click To Tweet

In this 7-part blog series, you’ll discover the basics about each of the ADD/ADHD types, their unique symptoms, SPECT scan findings, and science-backed interventions.


Classic ADD is often referred to as ADHD. The “H” is for hyperactivity and is one of the more notable symptoms of this type. Classic ADD/ADHD is the most common diagnosis of the 7 types and is the easiest to recognize. That’s because hyperactivity is one of the more notable symptoms of this type.

The hyperactive-impulsive ADHD type is seen more frequently in boys. As babies, they tend to be colicky, active and wiggly. As children, they tend to be noisy, impulsive and demanding. Their hyperactivity, constant need for excitement, and conflict-seeking behavior typically make them the center of attention.

Parents of these kids are often tired, overwhelmed and even embarrassed by the behavior of their non-stop, hard-to-control children.

In adolescence and adulthood, people who suffer from Classic ADD typically have difficulties handling stress and maintaining relationships. As a group, these individuals also have low self-esteem, which can have negative consequences at work, at home, and in relationships.

The standard treatment for Classic ADD in both children and adults is stimulant medications, such as Ritalin or Adderall. Sometimes negative reactions to these medications can be extreme, such as hallucinations, violent outbursts, psychosis, and suicidal behavior.


Most of the 7 types of ADHD and ADD share a common feature of brain function. In people who don’t have ADD, concentration increases blood flow in the prefrontal cortex (PFC). This brain region is involved in focus, planning, organization, judgment, empathy, and impulse control.

When activity increases in this region, it helps us focus and stay on task.

In people with ADD, however, the opposite occurs. Blood flow decreases during concentration. This makes it difficult to focus. In fact, the harder they try, the harder it gets!

This shows that this condition is not due to a lack of willpower or laziness. ADD/ADHD is a neurobiological disorder with serious psychological and social consequences.

In fact, research shows that having ADD/ADHD increases the risk of having other mental health disorders, such as clinical depression and substance use disorders. 


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)


In addition to the core characteristics, Classic ADD entails a number of additional signs and symptoms, including:

  • Inattentiveness
  • Has trouble listening when others are speaking; frequently interrupts
  • Makes careless mistakes/poor attention to detail
  • Hyperactivity
  • Restlessness
  • Has difficulty waiting their turn
  • Acts as though they’re driven by a motor
  • Talks excessively

Take note that these symptoms can range from mild to severe. In addition, not everyone with Classic ADD will have all of these symptoms. You or your child may only have some of them.


Medication isn’t the only way to treat ADD/ADHD. In fact, there are many natural ways to help ADD symptoms. Here are 6 lifestyle interventions that can help manage symptoms.

  1. Keep moving.

Due to hyperactivity and impulsivity, those with Classic ADD frequently fall short when attempting to complete concentration tasks. To help improve concentration, frequent movement is essential. The more that exercise is incorporated into mundane activities, the easier it will be to concentrate.

  1. Make it fun.

For children who have trouble concentrating during educational activities, a busy activity right beforehand, such as cardio, can help improve concentration. Additionally, children with Type 1 are more focused when educational or clean-up tasks are presented as a race, obstacle course, or other fun game.

  1. Be a stand-up employee.

For those with adult ADHD, if you have a desk job, stand up and move around at least once an hour. Creating an organized and creative work environment will also help you focus and maximize productivity.

  1. Get good sleep.

For optimal functioning and focus, get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. To restore proper balance to your sleep cycle, avoid common sleep stealers like caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, daytime naps, and using technology right before bed.

  1. Create a support structure.

Maintaining relationships with friends and family who support you and understand your personality can be beneficial in helping you cope with Type 1 flare-ups.

  1. Get a customized solution.

Like many other mental health conditions, ADHD has multiple types. Therefore, treatment is not a one-size-fits-all solution. What works for one person with ADHD may not work for another—or could even make the symptoms worse!

To get a personalized treatment plan, you need to know two things:

To know your type, brain imaging with SPECT can be very helpful. Without brain imaging, psychiatrists can only guess which type you have.

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

ADD/ADHD and other mental health issues can’t wait. At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, clinical evaluations, and therapy for adults, teens, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.


  1. I want a scan because i know i gave adhd it drives me crazy. I am using lumocity to help. I take 40mg of vyvanse daily i still find it difficult to deal with and discouraging. I have suffered from this since childhood but i have only been on medicine for four months. I just don’t have that kind of money to get a scan and adhd has ruined my life.

    Comment by Kuden seeker — October 26, 2017 @ 5:12 PM

  2. That’s pretty much me just can’t seem to always get the sleep I need , seem I have a bit of a TWB (tennie weenie blatter syndrome)
    When I can get good sleep I tend to do well , I’m also diagnosed , mild autism , schizophrenia , and my wife a councilor for mentally ill people for years says I’m definitely ADHD , …….
    Currently taking 5 mg abilify daily also had a serious stroke some 35 years ago , drove myself into the ground …….Tim

    Comment by Tim cyr — December 6, 2017 @ 6:28 AM

  3. I suggest trying a different medicine. I too, was not diagnosed with adult ADHD until I was 45. I am 62 now, and went on concerta about three weeks, I feel like I have a brand new brain, that not moving at 250 miles an hours. I drink no alcohol beverages, I do not smoke, and I have no caffeine intake.

    I have not had a brain scan because I know I have the right diagnosis.

    Comment by Norma — December 6, 2017 @ 7:31 AM

  4. I was officially diagnosed with ADD two years ago now… and like so many others can’t afford a brain scan. I also had learning disabilities as a child… my issues are with retention… but alot of things make sense about my life now.

    Comment by Aleta Boyette — January 29, 2018 @ 5:36 AM

  5. I cannot reach your number from Canada. Do you have a contact for Canadians?

    Comment by Betty — February 26, 2018 @ 7:42 AM

  6. Hello Betty, thank you for reaching out! Please call 949-266-3715 or you can submit this form to have someone reach out to you –

    Comment by Amen Clinics — February 26, 2018 @ 2:28 PM

  7. I have a boyfriend going on 4 years . and i was at my wits end everytime we go back & fourth with me wondering if he loves me? He days leave me alone alot. Which hurts. Hes always angry nothing seems to msle him happy. Me and hes daughter always are afaird when he gets do very angyy

    Comment by Vivian — March 29, 2018 @ 9:10 PM

  8. Hi , my son who is 33 years , has Add +anxiety and learning disability. He is on Vyvanse 60 , Abilify 20mg , and Kolnzepom 5mg three times a day .plus he smoke pots.
    He is not doing well he can’t hold any jobs . He claims that 60 mg Vyvanse is not lasting in his system more than 4 hours . He needs to be under some kind of stimulating product like energy drinks for additional help .
    Any recommendations? Life is not easy for either of us . Thanks

    Comment by Soodi — April 7, 2018 @ 4:03 AM

  9. Hello Soodi, thank you for reaching out and sharing with us. It would be best to call and speak to one of our Care Coordinators at 888-288-9834, or you can submit this form to have someone reach out to you – We specialize in using brain SPECT imaging to determine the most accurate diagnosis and provide treatment options and a customized plan moving forward.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — April 9, 2018 @ 7:52 AM

  10. Dear Vivian,
    You and your boyfriend sound like you are on the “crazy cycle”! My husband and I have been on that a lot, too! I suggest a book called Love and Respect. It will help you understand the workings of the female and male brains. We are so different from one another!
    Also, if you are scared when your boyfriend is angry, that is very concerning. If he gets violent towards you or your daughter, you should leave! Do you have family or friends to stay with? If he is just angry, try to calm the situation down. Pray, ask God for help.
    The best thing you could do is find a church to go to and to make friends there. Find one with a women’s Bible study that you can go to. Many churches have free babysitting during the Bible studies, so it’s free! Women friends will really help you.
    I’ll be praying for you! Amy

    Comment by Amy Drummond — May 6, 2018 @ 3:48 AM

  11. I’m 53 years old. I was first diagnosed with ADHD at 12.

    Over the years I’ve tried many different kinds of medication and therapy but none seem to work.

    Lately, I’ve been waking up and remembering things long lost. Visions of old times (I can remember being less than 2 standing in a crib…that far back) long since forgotten and I don’t know why. They’re not good or bad recollections, just images.

    As well, without even thinking about it, just about everything makes me angry. I’m always expecting an argument, or I will go out of my way to avoid those type of conversations to begin with.

    Needless to saay its impacting my social life negatively.

    I’m scheduled to go for an evaluation within the nex few months…not really sure what to expect.

    What’s odd, is that every once in a while (currently not on any medication), I’ll have these moments which are hard to describe. It’s not like a cloud lifting, it’s more like waking from a dream. And for 30 seconds to a minute or so EVERYTHING becomes clear. I know what I need to do, how to resolve issues, etc….and then it’s gone. I end up either very depressed (I remember the problems, but the solutions begin to fade), or angry because I KNOW I know what to do, but…it’s just lost to me.

    I just want that clarity ALL the time.

    I hope someday to find it.


    Comment by Robert — July 1, 2018 @ 4:37 PM

  12. The fact both of you are afraid indicates to me it would be a good idea for you to reach out to counseling. I had a marriage like that. It can really affect children adversely. Also it generally gets worse. Speak to a professional, your Dr could suggest someone or google for help in your area. Take good care

    Comment by Deborah — November 5, 2018 @ 8:55 AM

  13. I have been diagnosed with ADD and take Vyvanse 40mg which is doing good since offset taking it an hour after I start working. I have issues with anxiety, it comes out of no where and I try to calm myself down to relieve it but always comes back. I sleep perfect and eat great and I am very healthy but still having a hard time managing my anxiety even letting my therapist know but still hasn’t help enough with any exercise. I think I get myself all worked up for nothing with to much responsibility at work. I just need to pause, relax, breath and realize what is arising before it arises. It isn’t that big of a deal to worry about everything will work out.

    Comment by Nicholas — November 14, 2018 @ 7:32 PM

  14. Robert,
    I read your post and it brought tears to my eyes. You described exactly what I go through and haven’t been able to put into words. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It’s nice to know I’m not alone and that there may be a solution

    Comment by Kristi — March 20, 2019 @ 12:13 AM

  15. Can anyone advise me on what is “brain-enhancing” music? Albums by name? Particular songs? Instrumentals or vocals?

    Comment by Sherry S. Stoffel — March 25, 2019 @ 11:36 AM

  16. Hello Sherry, thank you for reaching out. Here are two articles on our site with information on music that Daniel G. Amen, MD has created:

    Comment by Amen Clinics — March 25, 2019 @ 12:25 PM

  17. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recognized neurofeedback as an equivalent (Level 1) treatment to Vyvanse and other stimulant medications. A brain map can be done by certified professionals (look for providers at at a range of costs and neurofeedback can treat ADHD at its root cause. Dr. Amen understands that the brain runs on its chemistry. Sometimes our genes interfere with this chemistry — as in ADHD. This is why supplements and diet are so important. They give the brain the basic building blocks it has lacked to run better. Once it has the right building blocks, it has the power to change. However the brain has, in a way, learned to operate as an ADHD brain. Neurofeedback lets the brain learn how to regain the balance that it lacks. This resolves ADHD where it begins and ends — in targeted areas of the brain, itself. Dr. Amen’s clinic is very prestigious and offers Spect Scans, but it is possible to find help even if the clinic is not affordable for you. Don’t give up.

    Comment by Lorrie Fisher, PhD, MFT, BCN, NBCFCH — March 26, 2019 @ 6:55 AM

  18. Sometimes the body’s own adrenaline can act as a stimulant medication and help the brain to focus. This is one reason that some people with ADHD have learned to procrastinate — they use the anxiety of deadlines to increase the hormone that can help them to focus and organize. This is a common experience for people with ADHD. It lets them see what their brain is able to do with corrective nutrition and neurofeedback (feedback learning for the brain). This is why Dr. Amen has created a comprehensive line of nutritional support. Healing is a matter of chemistry (good nutrition) and then of teaching the brain to form new functional networks (neurofeedback) that can give “clarity.” But nutrition must be in order for neurofeedback to produce lasting results.

    Comment by Lorrie Fisher, PhD, MFT, BCN, NBCFCH — March 26, 2019 @ 7:02 AM

  19. An additional issue is that video games usually are serious naturally with the most important focus on mastering rather than fun. Although, there’s an entertainment factor to keep your sons or daughters engaged, each one game is generally designed to work with a specific group of skills or area, such as math concepts or science. Thanks for your publication.

    Comment by download corel draw x8 — May 18, 2019 @ 10:51 PM

  20. If you don’t have the money. You may concern reading all of the 7 types add/ ADHD. And do what they suggest you to do.

    Comment by Gloria G Taitano — May 24, 2019 @ 6:12 AM

  21. My history with ADD goes back a long way , I always knew there was problem with me being anxious all the time and incompetent at my work but it wasn’t until my daughter showed problematic signs that I knew I had to do something. I initially searched on the web for what might be the causes of ADD and with a focus on diet seeing that that was a likely, in my view ,the cause of these symptoms.
    One web site ( caught my attention. It is a web site devoted to German researcher named Hertha Hafer who through her knowledge of chemistry discovered a way to cure her adopted son of his ADHD. What she discovered was a link between diet and ADD.
    To make long story short she had found a link between the processed foods that had added phosphates and the onset of ADD in some people.I was intrigued by this and I also saw that there was simple PH test that one could do that would signify if you were phosphate sensitive . I followed the procedure to the letter and to my astonishment found that my daughter and I had a saliva PH of around 8 plus while my wife was around the neutral mark of 7 which is pretty normal. According to the test , those high PH readings indicated a high likelihood of phosphate sensitivity. Skipping forward in time as I found I was unable to change the habits of my daughters dietary behaviour and wasn’t in the best place myself and finding there was a lot of opposition to my findings caused me to give up for while.
    It wasn’t until my daughter wanted me to do something in her high school years and me convincing doctors that she needed a proper evaluation from a psychologist that the psychology test was done and the results showed what had always suspected ,that she did indeed have ADD. Since that time I have changed slowly my dietary habits and have found that tyrosine seems to help somewhat. Substituting egg on toast for cereal seems to made a big difference with me, I am far less anxious but unfortunately it’s still a bit of battle with my daughter. I constantly have to remind her to not eat those processed foods high in phosphate additives but she is still not convinced as she sides with the established view and I’m not a doctor . At least I have the evidence both with a photo of the PH test results and copy of the psychologist report. There is more to this story that left out because it might go on for too long.

    Comment by Greg — September 23, 2019 @ 1:05 AM

  22. Wow, reading this I have felt some of what you have. I have moments of clarity. I know i have type 7 ADD without anyone diagnosing me. Since i was little i could never focus one just one thing. As a toddler I couldnt concentrate on just eating, i would have to be playing with toys too. When i listen to music I cant just focus on that, i have to be doing something else at the same time to feel productive. If i go to the kitchen to make coffee i take 15-20 minutes because between every step i have to be watching some stupid youtube video. Then i forget what i was doing.

    As a musicians it takes me forever to learn something. I’ll repeat a part over and over and after a few repetitions my mind begins to wander, and anxiety hits me for some reason.

    What I most relate with about your post is those moments of clarity. Feels like everything “makes sense”. Then the walls crash down, and all these disorganized thoughts come back, the anxiety, depression, inability to make decisions. Unable to concentrate, any little thing makes me nervous.

    Comment by Serj Santy — June 7, 2020 @ 11:07 PM

  23. I’d there a connection between ADD and bipolar 2?

    Exactly which foods should be avoided for ADD and which supplements should be added?

    Comment by Paula — July 31, 2020 @ 8:13 AM

  24. I want to get a brain scan for my grown daughter who has dealt with ADD all her life. It was determined by a therapist that she had ADD at age 6. We never found a medication that seemed to help her so she went all the way through college without any help. Now, she has difficulty in her work place and making everyone happy. She lives in Tampa and could meet me in Miami/Fort Lauderdale area and get a scan. I will have to fly in to Miami because I live in Dallas. Is it possbe for her to have one appointment at your clinic to get a scan? She would need to receive treatment by phone if possible. Also, what is the current cost of a first visit with a brain scan now? Thank you

    Comment by Carla Brown — October 3, 2023 @ 1:37 PM

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