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ADHD: Predominantly Inattentive Type

First recognized in 1980, the predominantly inattentive type of ADHD includes individuals with attention problems, but without excessive activity levels or poor impulse control. With 30% of clinical cases, some are just milder forms of combined type. 

Typical symptoms

    • Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes
    • Has difficulty sustaining attention and is easily distracted
    • Does not appear to listen
    • Struggles to follow through with instructions
    • Has difficulty with organization
    • Avoids or dislikes tasks requiring sustained mental effort
    • Loses things and is forgetful in daily activities

Sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT)

Up to half of cases, however, appear to have a qualitatively different form of attention problem. Researchers refer to this as sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT), with some arguing it may represent a separate disorder altogether. SCT symptoms show numerous differences from prominently inattentive type. These include excessive: 

    • Daydreaming, spacey appearance, staring
    • Hypoactive, slow moving, lethargic, sluggish 
    • Easily confused, mentally “foggy” 
    • Slow, error-prone information processing 
    • Poor or selective attention (distinguishing what is and is not important in the information one must process) 
    • Possibly more erratic retrieval from long-term memory
    • Being socially reticent, shy, withdrawn 
    • Not impulsive 
    • Rarely shows aggression, oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder 
    • Greater risk of anxiety and possibly depression 
    • Equally impaired in educational performance 
    • Just as likely to have learning disabilities (20-50%) and possibly a greater frequency of math disorders 
    • Possibly a less likely response to stimulants 
    • Possibly a better response to social skills training

Read more about symptoms and CFI’s treatment options for ADHD.



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