Reviewed by Aaron Horn, LMFT
ADHD is extremely common, and according to the National Institute of Mental Health, the numbers in recent years have been on the rise. Just because we see so many cases of ADHD, especially in classrooms, this doesn’t mean that it is always understood. ADHD is commonly misunderstood by teachers and parents. Besides, ADHD is not so cut and dry.
Each case of ADHD differs from person to person. It doesn’t look the same for each individual. There are different types of ADHD, and each varies in severity. A person may fall under one subtype or a combination of subtypes, according to an article featuring psychologist Dr. Amen, who studies the different types of ADHD.
Understanding the subtypes of ADHD can help parents, teachers, and even spouses of those with ADHD recognize how they can best treat their disorder. Another way to better understand a person with ADHD is to look for an ADHD simulation. ADHD simulations can be extremely helpful for understanding the way someone’s brain works. First, let’s look at the subtypes. Looking at these subtypes can help us to see ADHD from a wider lens.
As one article on healthline.com states that there are three subtypes of ADHD. Psychologist Dr. Daniel Amen has further divided those into seven subtypes. These include classic ADHD, over-focused ADHD, inattentive ADHD, limbic ADHD, temporal lobe ADHD, ring-of-fire ADHD, and anxious ADHD.
- Classic ADHD
First, Dr. Amen talks about classic ADHD, which is the category that most people believe they fall into. Classic ADHD is the standard type of ADHD, where inattentiveness and hyperactivity are the obvious symptoms. This is due to low levels of dopamine. The goal for this type of ADHD is to increase dopamine levels. This can be done through stimulant medications, stimulant supplementation, exercise, and even increasing omega-3 fatty acids.
- Over-focused ADHD
It is common for people with ADHD to show symptoms of hyper-focus. Hyper-focused individuals might fall under the over-focused ADHD subtype. People with this type of ADHD often have trouble shifting their thoughts and have tendencies towards worry and obsession. This is due to lower levels of both dopamine and serotonin. Supplements that increase serotonin and dopamine are recommended, such as 5HTP and L-tryptophan. Stimulants are not recommended since they may increase levels of anxiety.
- Inattentive ADHD
Another common subtype of ADHD is Inattentive ADHD. People with inattentive ADHD have a hard time keeping their attention, but they are not typically seen as hyperactive. These people are usually seen as daydreamers or space cadets. The recommended treatment for inattentive ADHD is similar to classic ADHD, using stimulants and supplements to raise dopamine levels.
- Limbic ADHD
This type of ADHD is associated with low levels of chronic sadness. Chronic depression is not the case, but the person may have feelings of unworthiness and hopelessness. The reason for these symptoms is increased activity in the limbic area of the brain
- Temporal Lobe ADHD
This type of ADHD is associated with all of the symptoms of classic ADHD, plus aggression, anger issues, and mood instability. This is due to irregularities in the temporal lobe, which can cause unpredictability in the nerve cells. People with this type of ADHD may react to GABA supplements and a diet low in carbohydrates.
- Ring Of Fire ADHD
This type of ADHD is associated with extreme sensitivity due to an overactive brain. The person will have symptoms of classic ADHD combined with sensitivity to noise, touch, and light. Certain supplements can help this, but food sensitivities may be present as well. An elimination diet may provide benefits.
- Anxious ADHD
People in this category often have symptoms of classic ADHD, combined with feelings of tension and anxiety. Treatment involves increasing levels of dopamine and GABA through supplements and medications that help to calm the person.
For anyone who has ADHD, it is important to have an understanding of how their brain works. For example, the person may recognize that they are easily distracted, but they may not see that they’re also experiencing symptoms of anxiety due to hyperactivity. A therapist or counselor may assist the person in gaining a better understanding of themselves.
Parents of children with ADHD may have a difficult challenge trying to understand the needs of their child. Many therapists and counselors suggest that parents experience ADHD simulation. These simulations are helpful for the loved ones of adults as well.
What Is ADHD Simulation?
An ADHD simulation can be an excellent way to understand the way that the ADHD brain works. The benefit of doing an ADHD simulation is to gain a better understanding of what the person with ADHD is experiencing. This is beneficial to parents and other loved ones of those who have ADHD. Counselors and therapists benefit from this as well, and chances are, many have access to these simulations for you to try.
There are different ADHD simulations available online. These simulations help you to see what the person is seeing and experiencing. A video will pull up, and as the videos start, several voices will interrupt, representing the person’s thoughts. Seeing the videos helps to paint a clearer picture of an ADHD brain. You may talk to your counselor or therapist about accessing an ADHD simulation video, or you can look some up yourself.
One highly regarded ADHD simulation online is called “Through Your Child’s Eyes.” When you go to the site, you get to hear stories from children speaking about their experiences with ADHD. When the simulation starts, you get to experience on screen the way that a child with ADHD might see and hear things.
The great thing about “Through Your Child’s Eyes” is that you can choose the grade level and select the specific issues in school that your child deals with. Since there are so many types of ADHD, the ability to choose from certain issues is extremely helpful.
Hearing the stories from other children with ADHD can be extremely beneficial. It helps the child and the parent see that they are not alone. Even though ADHD is common, a child with ADHD may still experience standing out in class. It can bring a huge relief, both to the parent and the child, to hear other children speak about having a similar experience.
Another great site to visit is PBS’s “Misunderstood Minds.” “Misunderstood Minds” is a module similar to “Through Your Child’s Eyes.” The module is organized for you to find the categories of challenge for your child, gain some information, and then open up the ADHD simulation to better understand the way that your child’s brain is functioning.
The categories in “Misunderstood Minds” include attention, reading, writing, and math. Within each category includes information about the basics, a further look into difficulties, and personal stories from parents who have had challenges decided how to support their ADHD child. Within each section, there is a response category, where more of these personal stories can be found.
You may google ADHD simulation to find other videos online.
Further Support For ADHD
There are other disorders that can have similar symptoms as ADHD, such as dyslexia and auditory disorders. You can start by taking an online test to understand your symptoms. Once you have done the online test, finding further support through a counselor or therapist can be beneficial.
Having support for someone with ADHD can provide tools for the particular challenges that may show up in that individual. A professional will be better at pinpointing the person’s subtype, which is important to know to receive the right treatment. Even if a parent does not want to medicate their child, there are many other ways to treat ADHD. Certain supplements can be just as effective. Also, exercise can be extremely beneficial to anyone with ADHD, no matter the subtype.
Begin by speaking to a professional for guidance. Once you know the specifics, you can decide which ADHD simulation to choose and explore. “Through Your Child’s Eyes” and “Misunderstood Minds” are designed for parents, but any adult could apply these to themselves too.
An adult may consider the challenges that they had a child. From there, the adult can choose the correct category. ADHD often lingers into adulthood to some degree. Many adults are calmer than they were as children, but they most likely will continue to experience symptoms. Some people go through their entire childhood without being diagnosed but begin seeking treatment once they enter the job world, whatever works for each individual to get the help they deserve!