Getting to Know the ADD Types – Type 5: Limbic ADD

type 5 ADD

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

Here are the signs and symptoms of ADD Type 5 (also known as Limbic ADD):

Core Symptoms of ADD

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 5 Symptoms

In addition to the core symptoms, the unique characteristics of Type 5 Limbic ADD include:

  • Moodiness
  • Frequent irritability
  • Tendency for social isolation
  • Frequent feelings of helplessness and worthlessness
  • Loss of interest in things
  • Sleep changes (too much or too little)
  • Chronic low-grade sadness or negativity (“glass half empty” syndrome)
  • May or may not be hyperactive

ADD Quick Facts

  • The limbic system can affect motivation, drive, and the bonding mechanism that enables a person to connect emotionally with others.
  • Main symptoms of Limbic ADD include low self-esteem, chronic mood problems, decreased interest in activities previously considered fun, feelings of hopelessness, and being easily distracted.
  • Limbic ADD is frequently misdiagnosed as depression. However, when individuals with Limbic ADD are given antidepressants it can increase their moodiness and negative symptoms.
  • High-stress levels are a major trigger for depression in Type 5 individuals.
  • People with Limbic ADD often suffer from low energy, short attention spans, and get stuck on negative thoughts and guilty feelings.
  • Stimulant medications alone frequently make people with Limbic ADD more negative and moody.


Implementing these six tips will help you manage the symptoms of ADD Type 5:

Boost Your Mood With Food:

A balanced diet of high-quality proteins, healthy fats, and fewer carbohydrates will help reduce negative symptoms and balance your mood. A healthy diet can also be paired with supplements, like DL-phenylalanine and SAMe, to boost and stabilize the mood.

Avoid Absolutes:

Alleviating the symptoms of Limbic ADD includes learning how to structure your thoughts and actions. For example, an “all or nothing” approach automatically sets you up for failure which, in turn, will cause emotional distress.

Get Back to the Essentials:

Create strategies that will allow you to calm yourself down when you are triggered. Essential oils, such as lavender, bergamot, grapefruit, and peppermint, can help boost your mood.

Collect Happy Memories:

Build a library of positive memories from happy experiences in your life. Sad people tend to dwell on negative memories. When you’re suffering from the negative symptoms of Type 5 ADD, you can bring yourself to a better place by collecting and reflecting on happy memories.

Build Strong Relationships:

One way to curb negative thinking patterns is to surround yourself with people who encourage positive cognitive processes and support conversational bonding. Build strong relationships with them and with those closest to you.

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. “Stimulant medications alone frequently make people with Limbic ADD more negative and moody.”
    Does this mean that a child who is only taking stimulant medication (like medication to boost attention) and nothing else, is prone become even more negative and moody? What else needs to be taken along with a stimulant to prevent this?

    Comment by KayGee319 — November 16, 2017 @ 10:30 AM

  2. Do some research, I think I may have this type of ADD, I fit all the symptoms like I was reading my biography. As someone who lives with it all I can say is encourage your kid and let his/her creativity flourish. We are generally very creative especially when it comes to work, we approach things from outside the box to begin with always, this can and will lead to ridicule by peers, because it’s so abstract. When I’m allowed to do things the way I want to do things without someone standing over my shoulder that is when the most progress is made, though in general everyone is different, but expression is key for us, if you feel you can’t relate with your child, just let them express themselves in the things they do, that is how they are trying to communicate with you.

    Comment by SS White Flour — November 18, 2017 @ 9:16 AM

  3. I have recently been diagnosed with adult ADD . I don’t want to take any medication , but I feel my life spiralling out of control !

    Comment by Robin Wilburn — November 19, 2017 @ 5:03 PM

  4. How do you knoe whats the right medication for you?

    Comment by Mary Benthale — December 17, 2017 @ 1:31 PM

  5. Funny: Your assessment says I have this type and Overfocused type ADD. For the last year I have been using essential oils and grapefruit and bergamot are my favorites–They make me feel almost ecstatic. It makes me wonder if someone randomly chose these four as examples or if there is something about them that is signifant!

    Comment by Jill Archer — March 9, 2018 @ 4:01 PM

  6. Hi Robin,
    There are many types of medication for ADHD. A few are stimulants, but there are many that are not. I was recently diagnosed with inattentive ADHD (I’m 58) and taking Adderall has made a world of difference in my life. I feel much more in control of my day. I am more organized, more energized, and am able to follow through and finish tasks that I would have had a very hard time doing before my diagnosis. Work with a doctor who will allow you to determine your appropriate dosage and really listens to you. Good luck!

    Comment by Rebecca Goodrich — March 23, 2018 @ 2:13 PM

  7. YEeah lost me once you got to Essential oils. Maybe magnet therapy?
    Oh and those oils are working great for you, they usually work best on middle aged Hippie type women but hey do you

    Comment by scott adams — March 31, 2018 @ 7:33 PM

  8. You’re generalising incredibly. This describes me to a T and I’m probably one of the least creative people I know. Stop trying to tell everyone that just because you personally experience a disorder a certain way means that “we” all experience the same or similar presentations. ADHD doesn’t make someone more creative, you’re just romanticising the whole thing and it’s really gross to watch

    Comment by Beth Anne — April 11, 2018 @ 6:26 PM

  9. Medication isn’t the devil, give it a try under supervision and see what it does for you. If you don’t like it you can always stop taking it, but why suffer more than you have to if there’s help out there for you?

    Comment by Beth Anne — April 11, 2018 @ 6:27 PM

  10. yeah, these “treatments” are bogus. Limbic ADD people seemed to be screwed in every sense of the word, not even medications work and therapy to cure such a thing is a ridiculous thought. we won the genetic lottery of being unlucky

    Comment by Eli — September 14, 2018 @ 10:50 PM

  11. I’m a 72 year old woman whose mind never stops working but my mind seems to be the only active part, has it has been all my life. I’ve know forever that I am an underachiever who has had life long low grade depression. This depression robbed me and my children of so much when they were growing up. I purchased a used copy of “Healing ADD,” copyright 2002 and when I read about type 5 ADD, Limbic I finally felt understood. Many years ago when Wellbutrin was new on the market a Dr. prescribed it for me as he said I appeared depressed. Two days later I called his office to inquire if Wellbutrin was also an ADD medicine as my ADD symptoms improved so much and was told it wasn’t. I’ve tried the medicine several times but at some point I start getting nightmares and stop and then I gain weight and fight losing it again. After reading the book, perhaps, I should have looked at Wellbutrin the way I look at my insulin and thyroid medicine, they are forever treatments not meant to be stopped. I’m going to try the recommended supplements in the book and if the clinic accepts medicare I’ll book an appointment next May when I return from Florida. Thank you Dr. Amen for identifying the 7 types of ADD as all my children have ADD and sometimes I wonder if my husband doesn’t as well – birds of a feather do seem to flock together. Also, thank you for helping me understand myself better.

    Comment by Cheryll Glowacki — November 20, 2018 @ 6:39 AM

  12. I can say from experience, as a person that struggles with exactlt this set of problems that a medication solution has to be something balanced (I take Vaxa attend) as an adult it doesn’t give me that”pep” that some people want from a medication but that’s not the point. You can’t just treat the intattion and memory it’s not a (pay attention do good in school) drug that they need it’s something to stop the anxiety and the fixation on negative thoughts and constant mind chatter. A supplier that has things for calm and relaxation (but non-drowsy) like L-thianine? I’m not a doctor this is just what works for me. Treat the insecurity and anxiety and The attention and focus will fallow naturally. Positive reinforcement will work wobders. A lot of people who don’t have ADHD can easily forget how important it can be especially to a child to just hear someone say you’re good at something or you’re doing a good job. I can say that I made a lot of regreatible mistakes in my life just in the pursuits of approval.
    I wanted to share this with you because when I was a kid I never had the ability to articulate these things and it was frustrating so as an adult I like to share what has helped me.

    Comment by T.A M — November 22, 2018 @ 9:47 PM

  13. I agree, it’s great to share your experience as it can help people who DO relate with what you’re saying, but it’s best to try not to use words like “we” and “us” when sharing since you don’t speak for everyone.

    Comment by T.A M — November 22, 2018 @ 9:50 PM

  14. Eli, A supplement, L-tyrosine, will work. Take 500 mg once daily in the a.m. and watch sanity come around. There will be rest periods from this drug. It affects muscles (pain) and can cause increased fatigue after a period of time – ie., my husband is resting from it after 2 years. BuT, along the way, he has learned a new way of thinking – more positive, more energetic etc. He learned from the supplement. SAMe is also a mood elevator. Try it. Always start with the smallest amounts.

    Comment by Heidi — March 3, 2019 @ 3:58 AM

  15. If you are getting nightmares, you maybe should stop and take a rest from wellbutrin.

    Comment by Heidi — March 3, 2019 @ 4:01 AM

  16. Eli, I also have the limpic. I was only diagnosed ADHD this last year. I just today read about the LIMPIC ADD, and it describes my life. Before being diagnosed or even being open to see a “mental health professional” I found myself at a personnel growth seminar, at the time I was over 14 years in the marine corps, had spend the previous 11 years medicating depression with alcohol married very unhappily. I started taking control of my life right after. Now I am not recommending that as an initial approach. I recommend professional medical approach first, and then I recommend one of those seminars along with daily meditation. If you do all these things I promise you it will be better, and same goes for others for this condition. I currently take Adderall, and Wellbutrin.
    Hopefully you saw what Heidi put in her reply, I was just told about L-Tyrosine who was also diagnosed not long ago, she has been able to cycle her adderall, and L-Tyrosine with success. I will give SAMe a shot too.

    The mindfulness, and beginning to start the process of control and directing thoughts is monumental in this though, we may not be chemically advantaged in doing it, but it can be done. Exercise has been huge for me too, if I didnt get hooked on working out several times a week when I was a teenager, I probably would have already killed myself.
    Keep your head held high. Take care.

    Comment by Jason Vuyovich — July 9, 2019 @ 9:56 PM

  17. I’ve seen this type of sneer about essential oils before, so wont try to bump the above poster out of the lockbox of a closed mind. That is an exercise in futility.

    But for anyone else who is reading, I use them and they are 1, very potent, 2 effective, 3 inexpensive to buy and use., 4 can have negative side effects such as rash if used the wrong way, (and can easily kill your cat so take great care to protect them from ANY exposure,) 5, shouldn’t be ingested, though people do, and 6, need to be from an ethical company with good and authentic reviews. Do your own due diligence, obviously, but don’t dismiss them, because they work.

    Comment by Lisa Ann — September 2, 2019 @ 12:11 PM

  18. You’re absolutely right. L-tyrosine has been a godsend for me. I take a stack of 200mg caffeine, 200mg L-theanine, 1,000mg L-tyrosine, 300mg Alpha GPC, 1,000mg ALCAR and 100mg 5-HTP. This is working phenomenally for me; Concerta made me a jerk and more depressed. I’m also certain a relationship ended in part because of Rx meds.

    Comment by Matt — September 30, 2019 @ 3:26 PM

  19. Matt- where did you come up with the dosage and types of supplements you take. I’ve been reading about L-tyrosine, but am not familiar with the other supplements you are on. Adderal works for me, but when I come off it, I am incredibly depressed and irritable and would like to try the L-tyrosine.

    Comment by kim — August 10, 2020 @ 4:41 AM

  20. Why is tricyclic antidepressants preferred over SNRIs and other drugs?
    I am Japanese and am wondering how I can convince my doctor to prescribe tricyclic antidepressants.

    Comment by naoki — June 15, 2023 @ 8:32 PM

  21. O was diagnosed at 55. I am definitely Type 5 and believe my mhormonal shifts impacted the severity of my symptoms as well. I'm wondering if Type 5's are often more likely to have early childhood trauma histories, as I do? What else besides stimulants and natural/lifestyle changes? I'm a therapist and still struggle.

    Comment by Lauren Lowe — September 23, 2023 @ 10:22 AM

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