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ADHD and Gifted Adults

Intelligence & Sub-Type: What's the correlation?

From a topic that’s come up in another group, I’m wondering what the numbers look like and would appreciate your participation in this rather “unscientific” poll/survey.  (I’ve also posted this in the group for parents of gifted children).

For those who are identified as “gifted” in intelligence/academics, what sub-type of ADHD do you have: Primarily Inattentive, Combined, or Primarily Hyperactive-Impulsive?


I’m PI with some low grade hyperactive symptoms, frequently jiggling foot, tapping fingers and such but in such a contained manner others may not notice it. I am physically active which gives me an outlet for that aspect.

Interesting question. A bit different take on intelligence and AD/HD. I’ve read a fair amount on AD/HD’rs being smarter than average and other reports that it is spread about equally across the IQ range. The latter makes more sense to me. I’ve not read anything substantiating the underlying physical causes of ADD are linked with higher IQ. ADD may make those with higher IQ more noticeable.

But your question is within the subset of gifted ADD’ers is there a prevalence of one type or another.

Posted by Gadfly on Apr 30, 2014 at 7:26pm

I’m more PI, but leaning towards Combined.  I still have the tendancy towards impulsiveness e.g. interupting people.  When I was in school, I took two different types of IQ tests: In one I rated 135, and the other 162. Either way, I’m fairly bright. Not that it helped me in life;:I used to say [in regards to my high IQ] “Yeah, that and a dollar will get me on the bus”.I didn’t get diagnosed until I was about 53, so my life has been full of potential, but unfulfilled due to losing jobs, partners ,friends etc and have experienced the financial instability that often eventuates.. 
In a similar vein, in an adult support group I am part of, we did notice an unusually high percentage of left-handers vs right-handers (e.g. 3:4 women there were lefties) as compared to the general population. Does anyone know of any studies done that would either substantiate this premise, or refute it?

Posted by Vitality on Apr 30, 2014 at 8:09pm

Very good everyone and thanks for your responses.  I just noticed this thread that posted by another member.  I raised the topic due to my research and review and now is getting confirmation by most of you. Yes my answer and contention to the whole world of ADHD , specially experts that are still ignorant of this fact is that “hyperactive/impulsive” group are smarter and there is a correlation with high IQ.  You all welcome to read the discussion in the impulsivity group when it was raised by me last week. as i have mentioned, my years of patients observation and extensive review and research does not much confirm the existence of a “combined” type. I as a few other scientists in the field strongly believe that the two subtypes of hyperactivity/impulsivity and inattentive have two different etiologies and pathophysiologies so they can not be mixed. unfortunately the field and our diagnostic system, DSM now in 5th edition that everyone follows blindly like a bible is far from recognition of these facts, but perceive ADHD as more associated with low IQ, even mental retardation, autism, learning disabilities and so on.  Imagine how many poor such kids are mis-labeled and mis-diangosed and mis-treated by the whole society at large.  that is why among my busy practice, i take the time and effort to do the research, writing here and elsewhere, then and now to get the true recognition for our such kids who are not disabled but are the bright, super-intelligent generations of tomorrow.
In answer to the last thread here, I do not know about right or left handedness, though I have two siblings patients, both left handed from right handed parents. but in any case majority of left handed people have a right brain hemisphere dominant as right handed people.

Posted by Dr.Showraki on Apr 30, 2014 at 9:48pm

I am primarily Hyperactive.  I would not call myself gifted by any stretch of the imagination.  I have, however, attained a Masters in Public Admin from a top notch school (Stony Brook).  The road was hardly smooth getting there.  What got me through was dogged determination and surrounding myself with good people. 

I guess that is what all success depends upon - hard work and good people.  I just wish I could have maintained that grad-school mindset into my professional life. 

Instead of a high flying career, I have taken a backwater teaching job in a public school (Chemistry).  The reality is I have never been happier. My understanding of this damnable condition we share tempered my expectations.  I wish I had discovered this 20 years ago.

Posted by LakeLife on May 03, 2014 at 11:21am

I’d say that hyperactivity and the rest of the gang are hallmarks of my childhood: colicky as a baby, frightfully thin through adolscence, more likely to riccochet off walls than engage (until interest is piqued and hyperfocus kicks in), metabolization of a greyhound, difficulty sleeping until fatigue crash solves the problem for me, emotionally volatile (incredibly effusive, affectionate and attentive until mood shifts to detatched, irritable ‘leave-me alone’), generous to a fault but also quick to suspect others of just about anything, slow to recognize an offense yet then enraged with lightening speed (and diffused just as quickly)... I was placed in gifted programs and given more latitude than a child should have in a misguided attempt to corral the powerful mind, but sadly no one realized that basic tools for life - patience, resolve, non-polarity - might benefit me more than a never-ending leash. As a result, I am a 43 year old who still lives in a home her parents own, who cannot keep a checking account in the black for a full month, who has a school loan she’ll pay down for the rest of her life but remains 12 credit hours short of a degree, who cannot arrrive at work before 9:30 despite weekly threats of dismissal.

Posted by keneen on Jul 16, 2014 at 6:23pm

I am probably inattentive, but i also discovered hyperactivity traits, observing myself thoroughly now diagnosing myself and preparing to help the psychiatrist diagnosing me. Will write more if anyone reads. Where I grew up, there were no “gifted programs”, but took Mensa test in my 30’s as part of trying to find out what the hell was wrong with me, I got into Mensa. I just want to say this Keneen writing above sounds fantastic and I will just steal this sentence with description of 2 symptoms, I need to add to my own symptoms list: “generous to a fault but also quick to suspect others of just about anything, slow to recognize an offense yet then enraged with lightening speed (and diffused just as quickly).”

Posted by 47female on Apr 11, 2016 at 7:43am

I believe one of the reasons the three sub-types of ADHD are no longer diagnosed is because there’s increasing thought that the hyperactivity element presents more markedly early on in life, with the inattentiveness dominating as we age.  Given that Adult ADHD wasn’t recognised until the late 90s (2008 here in the UK), there wasn’t the baseline data back then to illustrate this.

With regard ‘disability’, I’d definitely now classify my ADHD as highly disabling (which is didn’t used to be).  At a recent occupational health assessment, the doctor there reported it was highly likely that the severity of my symptoms would see it come under Employment Disability law here.  The key is the degree of impairment, I’d suggest.

Posted by VikingMermaid on Aug 08, 2016 at 12:02am

One other thought: there is significant overlap between the symptoms of ADHD and of Overexcitabilities (OEs; see Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Integration).  OEs correlate highly with giftedness (intelligence is just one form of being gifted). 

Not all gifted people have OEs, and not all those with OES are gifted - but the link between the two is far, far higher than random chance.  It’s also worth noting that there is significant misdiagnosis of ADHD when it’s actually ADHD & OE presenting.  Worth researching!

Posted by VikingMermaid on Aug 08, 2016 at 12:08am

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