What is Inattentive ADHD & How Can You Help?

Boy head down on desk and checked out

"While therapy and medication are popular choices, it’s essential to take a look at your current lifestyle as a starting point."

Inattentive ADHD

Many people still have a limited perspective on how ADHD looks: the little boy with boundless energy climbing the furniture and running around the classroom. This is because the earliest research on ADHD focused on hyperactivity, which is more common in boys than girls.

The truth is, ADHD isn’t always visible, especially when it comes to the inattentive subtype. What may appear as shyness, constant daydreaming, or procrastination may actually be signs of internalized ADHD. 

Read on to learn more about predominantly inattentive ADHD, symptoms to look out for, and strategies to support individuals who have it.

What is Inattentive ADHD?

People with inattentive ADHD have difficulty paying attention, staying organized, and following through on tasks, especially if they involve multiple steps. Their symptoms are usually internalized, and for this reason, they are commonly misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed. Girls and women are more likely to have inattentive ADHD, which is why researchers estimate 50 to 75 percent of ADHD cases in girls are missed.1

Recognizing Distinctive Traits & Behavioral Patterns in Inattentive ADHD

Common inattentive ADHD symptoms include: 

  • Lack of focus
  • Forgetfulness
  • Avoidance of tasks involving multiple steps
  • Trouble following instructions
  • Difficulty staying organized
  • Frequent mistakes at school or work
  • Often described as a “daydreamer” 
  • Constantly feeling overwhelmed
  • Mind wanders during conversation
  • Time blindness
  • Hypersensitivity

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Strategies to Support Individuals with Inattentive ADHD

If someone you know is struggling with inattentive ADHD, there are a range of things you can do to support them. Educating yourself about their unique challenges will allow you to provide assistance in a patient and empathetic manner. Whether it’s your child, your partner, your student, or a friend, here are some ways you can better support them:

How to support someone with ADHD:

  • Practice open communication: Encourage open and honest communication. Allow the person with ADHD to express their thoughts and feelings without judgment. Be a good listener and validate their experiences.
  • Help them devise a routine: Consider buying them a planner, a task chart you keep on the fridge, or some other organizational tools to help them establish routines and stay on top of tasks. Predictability can be beneficial for both children and adults with ADHD.
  • Provide clear instructions: If you’re supporting your child, a student, or even an employee with ADHD, be sure to give clear and concise instructions, and consider providing information both verbally and in writing. This clarity can help them understand and remember tasks.
  • Offer positive reinforcement: People with ADHD thrive on feedback. Be sure to acknowledge and reward their accomplishments. Positive reinforcement can be a powerful motivator and boost their self-esteem.
  • Be patient: Understand there may be challenges and setbacks. Patience is crucial, and avoiding frustration or impatience can contribute to a more supportive environment.

Creating ADHD-Friendly Environments with Practical Adjustments

People with ADHD are easily overwhelmed and distracted when their environment is overcrowded and noisy. Cut down on sensory stimuli to help them thrive.

Here are some ways to create an ADHD-friendly environment:

  • Minimize distractions: Switch off electronic devices such as the TV, computer, radio, and video games in your home whenever feasible. Request the teacher to seat your child away from windows and doors during class to create a more focused learning environment. In the workplace, encourage employees to use headsets. 
  • Keep charts and calendars visible: It’s easier to stay on top of a routine or important dates when reminders are in clear view. 
  • Designate zones for different activities: Consider devoting certain areas of the home or classroom to specific activities:a homework zone, an eating zone, a play zone, etc. Discourage screens and excess noise in areas that have been designated “quiet” spaces, especially the bedroom.   
  • Keep spaces clutter-free: Clutter can be distracting and overwhelming. It’s also easy to lose items in a cluttered space. Invest in some well-labeled storage bins, containers, shelves, hooks, drawers, and trays for specific items. 

Managing Inattentive ADHD: Coping Techniques & Strategies

If you or your child are struggling with inattentive ADHD, there are numerous steps you can take to reduce symptoms. While therapy and medication are popular choices, it’s essential to take a look at your current lifestyle as a starting point. This includes following a healthy diet without excess sugar or caffeine, getting adequate sleep, controlling screen time, and integrating mindfulness and relaxation practices into daily life. More often than not, making tweaks to one’s lifestyle can make a significant difference in a person’s symptoms while learning coping strategies.

If you feel like more support is needed, then medication is another option. While there is certainly value in prescription medication and it is the right choice for many individuals with ADHD, we prefer to see it as a last resort, rather than the first and only choice.

One gentler option is Brillia, a non-prescription medication clinically proven to reduce symptoms associated with ADHD, such as inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity, and irritability. Free from harsh, synthetic chemicals and harmful side effects, Brillia contains antibodies to the S100B protein, which plays an active role in how efficiently brain cells communicate with each other. By regulating this protein, Brillia normalizes the same neurotransmitters targeted by prescription medication without causing drowsiness, upset stomach, or masking the personality. 

There are two formulations available: Brillia for Children & Teens ages 5-18 and Brillia for Adults

Learn more about how Brillia works and why the medication works better when combined with healthy lifestyle habits, and find more resources on managing ADHD at the Brillia(nce) Resource Center.

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References: 1https://www.theguardian.com/science/audio/2022/may/12/why-arent-women-getting-diagnosed-with-adhd
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