The Many Faces of ADD – Dr. Stephen Ferrari

The Many Faces of ADD – Dr. Stephen Ferrari

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) can manifest itself very differently in different people. While the underlying neurological causes of this disorder are the same regardless of how it manifests itself, there are the three distinct sub-types, each with distinct sets of symptoms. To further complicate matters, some symptoms are expressed differently in males than they are in females.

The three sub-types of ADD are:

  1. Primarily Inattentive
  2. Primarily Hyperactive-Impulsive
  3. Combined Form

Typical symptoms for the Primarily Inattentive sub-type are:

  1. Often fails to finish things he or she starts.
  2. Often doesn’t seem to listen
  3. Easily Distracted
  4. Has difficulty concentrating on school work or other tasks requiring sustained attention
  5. Often has difficulty organizing goal-directed activities

Symptoms characteristic of the Primarily Hyperactive-Impulsive sub-type fall into two categories, Impulsivity and Hyperactivity:


  1. Often acts before thinking, and/or makes inappropriate statements
  2. Shifts excessively from one activity to another
  3. Often blurts out answers to questions before the questions have been completed.
  4. Needs a lot of supervision
  5. Frequently calls out in class
  6. Has difficulty awaiting turn in games or group situations


  1. Excessive runs about or climbs on things
  2. Has difficulty sitting still or fidgets excessively
  3. Has difficulty staying seated
  4. Moves about excessively during sleep
  5. Is always “on the go” or acts as if “driven by a motor”
  6. Often talks excessively
  7. Often has difficulty playing quietly
  8. Often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected.

The Combined sub-type includes symptoms from both Inattentive and Hyperactive-Impulsive sub-types. It is important to note that not all the symptoms of a sub-type need be present for that classification.

Additionally, while there are exceptions, females tend to express hyperactivity verbally, as opposed to physically, the case with males. Females will also tend to be more social, whereas males may be more isolated.

One method of treatment is Neurofeedback, a non-drug, painless, side effect-free procedure in which the person learns to re-train the attention mechanisms of the brain, alleviating the condition. Once the treatment is complete, no further training is necessary.

To request information on the treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD, ADHD), Mild to Moderate Autism Spectrum Disorders, Sleep Disorders, Chronic Depression, Chronic Anxiety, and Peak Performance Training contact:

Dr. Stephen A. Ferrari
Alta Neuro-Imaging Neurofeedback
1075 Yorba Place
Suite 105
Placentia, CA 92870


Orange County ADHD Treatment & ADHD Symptom Expert