Has Anyone Ever Told You You’re Spacey, or a Dreamer?

If so, you probably have Inattentive ADHD. It is one of the three types of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). The three types are:

  • Predominantly Inattentive
  • Predominantly Hyperactive/Compulsive
  • Combined – Combines both Inattentive and Hyperactive/Compulsive traits

When people think about ADHD, they usually think of the Hyperactive/Compulsive type. A little boy who “bounces off the walls” usually comes to mind, and boys are more likely to fit in this category.

The Inattentive type is more often female and can be labeled a “Space Cadet” by teachers, parents and other kids; a very unflattering description. Inattentiveness can be just as challenging as the other types of ADHD.

The DSM 5 lists nine symptoms of which six or more are required to consider someone Inattentive. The symptoms have to have been present for at least six months and they create impairment in social situations, school, work, and daily life.

Characteristics of Inattentive ADHD

Jacqueline Sinfield, who calls herself the “ADHD Coach for Adults,”enumerates 15 characteristics that are possible, and seem more personal (than those from the DSM), if you are Inattentive :

  1. It is hard for you to focus, yet you can be physically still.
  2. You don’t appear to listen to others during conversations.
  3. Those close to you complain that you forget what they shared with you.
  4. You are disorganized in your physical environment.
  5. You find it hard to stay on task from beginning to end, and even harder if the task is boring.
  6. You often make careless errors despite your best intentions.
  7. Detailed tasks, for example taxes, are exceptionally challenging and stressful.
  8. You find it hard to follow verbal or written instructions.
  9. You are often late or miss appointments.
  10. You lose important items often like keys, wallets and passports.
  11. People would describe you as a “dreamer.”
  12. You find it hard to block out noise.
  13. You often experience fatigue.
  14. You’ve probably heard the phrase “Could try harder” a lot at school (even if you were trying +++).
  15. You are prone to procrastination.

Treatment can consist of medication (usually of the stimulant type), and behavioral therapy Family therapy and ADHD Coaching are other valuable resources for Inattentive ADHD.

Inattentives and Relationships

As you might imagine Inattentives can have serious relationship issues. Especially when they are prone to forgetting conversations they had really recently because they weren’t fully tuned in at the time. This can also create problems in social situations where, if they’re not attentive to what is being said around them, they can miss social cues, and parts of conversations. They might then jump in with inappropriate comments that can end up embarrassing their partner, or themselves.

There can be many projects that get started, but end up never being finished because the Inattentive gets side-tracked and loses interest. I’ve had many spouses complain to me about the garage that is left a mess, or the tools that never get put away. These situations have ended up causing many an argument.

The right medication and a good ADHD coach can be really helpful to the Inattentive ADHDer.


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