What are Some Signs that I Have Inattentive ADD?

Inattentive ADD

Problems with inattention have, ironically, gotten a lot of attention recently. With many adults working from home right now, some have been able to observe their kids having a hard time staying focused on schoolwork. While other distractions may be in play due to the unusual stressors related to the pandemic, ADD is a developmental disorder (meaning people are born with it), and the symptoms typically become evident during childhood.

Unfortunately, unless a child is hyperactive and has behavior issues at school, brain problems related to inattention are often overlooked. Instead, the symptoms may (sadly) be attributed to perceived shortcomings of a child’s mind or personality. As a result, these symptoms—as well as the feelings of inadequacy that come with them—can last into adulthood and can lead to depression, low self-esteem, and anxiety.

Unless a child is hyperactive and has behavior issues at school, brain problems related to inattention are often overlooked. Click To Tweet

Inattentive ADD is the 2nd most common type of ADD and primarily affects women and girls. However, since they tend to be quiet, rather than behaving in ways that make them the center of attention, their ADD symptoms tend to go unnoticed.

Inattentive ADD is Real

Through the groundbreaking brain imaging work at Amen Clinics, one of the discoveries is that ADD is not just a single and simple disorder; there are 7 types of ADD.

They are:

Type 1: Classic ADD, often known as ADHD

Type 2: Inattentive ADD

Type 3: Overfocused ADD

Type 4: Temporal Lobe ADD

Type 5: Limbic ADD

Type 6: Ring of Fire ADD

Type 7: Anxious ADD

As children, those with Inattentive ADD likely flew under the radar because they were not inclined to draw attention to themselves, but nonetheless probably struggled to some extent in school. Now as adults, they can be having some similar problems at work and home.

How Many of These Inattentive ADD Symptoms Fit for You?

  • Having a short attention span for regular, mundane, or routine tasks such as chores (or schoolwork when you were a kid)
  • Getting easily distracted… “Squirrel!!”
  • Disorganization—Your closet, office, or hobby area is messy, eliciting complaints from your spouse or housemates
  • You’re almost always running late
  • Procrastination—The closer the deadline, the more motivated you are to do your work
  • Problems with following through on tasks you start, resulting in lots of unfinished projects
  • You’re generally NOT hyperactive or impulsive
  • A tendency to be forgetful and lose things
  • Difficulty with attention to details, often making careless mistakes
  • Being easily bored or seeming tired, sluggish, and slow-moving
  • Daydreaming or appearing spacey or pre-occupied
  • Others seem to think you’re not motivated, or that you simply don’t care

But you do care! Your brain just works differently. If you have several of these symptoms, you may have Inattentive ADD. It’s definitely worth getting a professional evaluation to find out if you do, and to get on a treatment plan that can help you manage the symptoms and behaviors that are troubling you.

Inattentive ADD Brain Function

SPECT brain images show us that the root cause of these symptoms is related to how the brain functions with Inattentive ADD. The images tell us that 3 parts of the brain involved in learning, focus, and motivation tend to be underactive. They are:

  • The prefrontal cortex (in the front part of the brain) is like the brain’s CEO and is in charge of executive functions such as focus, concentration, planning, forethought, and so on. Ideally, when we concentrate, blood flow in this part of the brain should increase. This helps us stay attentive to the task at hand. BUT in ADD, blood flow actually decreases during concentration which interferes with the ability to stay focused—so the harder you try, the harder it gets!
  • The basal ganglia, located deep inside the brain, produces the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is necessary for movement, motivation, attention span, and setting your body’s idle speed.
  • The cerebellum, on the back underside of the brain, is involved with physical, emotional, and thought coordination as well as processing speed.

4 Simple Strategies for a More Focused Brain

If you think you might have Inattentive ADD, there are definitely things you can do to improve your brain’s function. Here are 4 ways to help you increase focus, stay on task, and achieve your goals.

  1. Switch to a higher protein, lower carb diet with lots of fresh greens and vegetables to help boost dopamine.
  2. Engage in regular exercise to increase blood flow to your brain.
  3. Consider dopamine-boosting supplements, such as green tea extract and ginkgo biloba.
  4. Try neurofeedback, a non-invasive (and fun) clinical treatment that can retrain your brain waves to improve your focus and concentration.

The symptoms of Inattentive ADD really can get better. However, if you have some of the symptoms listed above now, but did not during childhood, they could be caused by another condition, such as depression, concussion, or cognitive decline related to aging. With the right diagnosis and treatment, these problems can get better too.

ADD and other mental health issues can’t wait. During these uncertain times, your mental well-being is more important than ever and waiting until life gets back to “normal” is likely to make your symptoms worsen over time.

At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.


  1. I took the Brain Type Test and Got a Type 8, followed by an email suggesting that I may have undiagnosed Inattentive ADD. This is spot on. My father was undiagnosed but clearly OCD and probably some sort of ADD, my nephew is ADHD with Tourettes, my son has been diagnosed as ADHD and my sister has been diagnosed with OCD. As a result of being surrounded by family members with ADD, I have come to realise that this explains a lot of issues I had as a child and the typical symptoms highly accurately describe the way I have always experienced things. I am very impressed. I will certainly follow the advice on your website. Regards, KD.

    Comment by Karen — March 22, 2021 @ 4:14 AM

  2. Yes . I knew something was wrong with me when I was in the first grade .Now I am 59. I struggled my hole life…

    Comment by Linda Harvey — March 22, 2021 @ 6:36 AM

  3. I am 79 year old. I just read about your inattentive add. That is me and has been all my life since I was was really young. I have had a lot of stress situations since my 40s. At that time I felt like I had lost all control of my lifE. MY SYMPTOMS FLEW INTO HIGH GEAR. Since then I have never to get back to the prior life. Now that I am at this age, life is really difficult. I am concerned about my future.

    Comment by Darlene Ellis — March 22, 2021 @ 6:54 AM

  4. Hi,
    I do believe I have this kind of ADHD. I was diagnosed this year and taking medication helps a lot with executive dysfunction and managing tasks, thought processes, and emotional regulation, but I was wondering if you could touch on Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria, and how to combat this or build strategies to seal with it. Thank you.

    Comment by Clowy — March 22, 2021 @ 7:26 AM

  5. This sounds just like me! I had the stigma that “ I didn’t like school”, “She’s too social” , struggled with learning to tell time on the clock, struggled with understanding math, procrastination, the whole lust. As I got older these were my stigma when something didn’t go right. A burden placed upon me and then parents who didn’t see it, just thought I was being difficult. ☹️

    Comment by Julie Sanchez — March 22, 2021 @ 7:39 AM

  6. Hello Darlene, thank you for reaching out. We’d be happy to contact you directly with more information regarding scheduling an appointment at one of our clinics. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — March 22, 2021 @ 10:23 AM

  7. Hello Clowy, thanks for reaching out. We actually have some content that goes over Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria. Here’s a blog that you might find interesting: https://amenclinics.com/blog/what-is-rejection-sensitivity-dysphoriaand-do-you-have-it/

    Comment by Amen Clinics — March 22, 2021 @ 10:25 AM

  8. This is and was me to a tee! I answered yes to all but one point. Once I circle around procrastinating and zero in on the task I’m obsessed. So I don’t have unfinished projects. As a kid I loved grammar school and noticed around the 4th grade I was making mistakes on test questions I knew the answers to. Sometimes I didn’t even remember seeing/answering the question and I had a great memory. It was like I’d zone out. In high school some would say I was spacey or a dreamer or the kinder ones said free spirited. Now that I’m going on 60 I’d really like to be able to not be so easily distracted and stop procrastinating. What do I do??

    Comment by Liz Rhein — March 23, 2021 @ 6:22 AM

  9. Hello Liz, thanks for reaching out. We’d be happy to reach out to you directly with more information regarding scheduling an appointment at one of our clinics. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — March 23, 2021 @ 12:11 PM

  10. All of it describes me to a tee. I definitely had ADD in grade school. I had an awful time paying attention. I sure know I have it now! Can’t seem to get motivated and I have so much to do! I need to keep up exercising and being fit for my grandkids, too. So Much To Do!

    Comment by Patty Brune — March 25, 2021 @ 3:32 AM

  11. this is happening too me now I'm 45, has a crushed spinal could, which now has keeps of pain in they right leg, i can't focus and forget everything, being a IT consultant i have now got spots on my brain, struggle too walk 50 meters without sitting down, im on medicacion, light 9 different drugs to hell with the pain but feel like it stems from my neck problem after the did the surgery.

    Comment by Adam — April 11, 2023 @ 2:01 AM

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