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Inattentive ADHD

Is there any medical treatment for ADHD Inattentive?

I read from Dr. Russell Barkley that it is much harder for people with ADHD Inattentive to respond to stimulant medication than hyperactive individuals.

Dr. Russell Barkley is obviously very well respected individual. This makes me hopeless since it looks like I have sever type of ADHD Inattentive.


I continuously daydream and music works it even worse. I can’t focus on anything.


What options are there that is available? Any medication?


This is the quote from Dr Barkley

“These children do not respond to stimulants anywhere near as well as AD/HD hyperactive, impulsive children do. Only about one in five of these children will show a sufficiently therapeutic response to maintain them on medication after an initial period of titration. Oh, you’ll find that about two-thirds of them show mild improvement, but those improvements are not enough to justify calling them clinical responders, therapeutic responders. Ninety-two percent of AD/HD children respond to stimulants. Twenty percent of these children respond to stimulants. And the dosing is different. AD/HD children tend to be better on moderate to high doses. Inattentive children, if they’re going to respond at all, it’s at very light doses, small doses. ”


I’m not sure that’s 100% true

I think a lot of it is trial and error, particularly the weight ratio for meds.

I also believe that maturity, practice at concentrating, meditating and exercise all play a part in the success rate

Posted by Ausmacuser on Jan 27, 2014 at 11:14am

Whoa, Random, don’t go down the tubes so fast.

Barkley’s a really smart guy but he doesn’t know everything. Also, he’s talking about children—and you don’t know what he’s measuring in those studies. The changes that occur in inattentives are far more subtle.

I have inattentive ADHD and a lot of my clients have inattentive ADHD. Most ADHD adults have more inattentive than hyperactive symptoms anyway. My inattentive clients can focus better on meds. The “talk show” in their heads, the constant noise of thoughts, quiets down, and they feel more in touch with other people, less overwhelmed. Their spouses say they listen better, remember better, don’t have to be told the same thing 10 times, and are not so much “in a fog.”
The complex executive functions, such as time management, organization, and pursuing goals do not necessarily get much better. That takes some extra work. But on meds, inattentive ADDers aren’t forgetting what they want to do in the space of 10 minutes, so they’re better able to start working on their goals and improving those complex executive functions.

Not EVERYONE responds. There are some inattentive ADDers whose brains are still extremely scattered, even on meds. But I believe that’s a minority.

You can increase the likelihood that meds will work for you if you take up an exercise regimen. Cardio is good, cardio plus strength training is better, cardio plus some complex activity that uses both the muscles AND the mind (such as tennis or a martial art) is even better. 

Conversely, if you take meds but then sit in front of a TV or computer screen all day and don’t have any constructive activity or structure in your life, don’t expect the meds to do you much good.

Good luck! Don’t let those “defeated-before-I-begin” ADHD thoughts stop you from trying to have a better life, okay?

Posted by Larry Letich, LCSW on Jan 28, 2014 at 12:59am

I’m with Larry!  Don’t let that all-or-nothing ADHD thinking stop you from pursuing what could be very beneficial treatment for your symptoms! 

While Dr. Barkley is a brilliant physician, what he asserts has definitely not been my personal or professional experience!

I have inattentive ADHD and was helped tremendously by meds in the beginning.  (I say “in the beginning” because I have developed the skills, tools, etc. to manage my life such that I don’t need medication very often.)  I have a job that I am very passionate about and is very stimulating to me, and I have created a very ADD-friendly structure in my life, so I don’t need meds every day anymore.  BUT, when I have unstructured days, my medication definitely helps me a bunch. (Tax prep time is coming, and you can bet my medication will be very helpful to me then!) LOL

I have also had many, many clients with inattentive ADHD who have benefited significantly from medication (as well as many who make dramatic changes without the benefit of medication). And there are so many options available for medication these days!

I think it’s important to keep in mind as well that what we call “improvement” in children is often what we can see outwardly—and fewer adults with ADHD hold onto those outward signs of physical hyperactivity that they may have exhibited in childhood. 

One important caveat, though:  we have an expression in Coaching that says, “Pills don’t teach skills!”  While medication can be a really helpful tool for most people to focus sufficiently to learn to do things differently, we still have to do the work!  Meds are definitely not the cure-all we usually hope they’ll be—but that doesn’t mean you can’t make dramatic improvements anyway!

I see it every day.

I hope there’s something in here that helps.  Best of luck! 

Lynne Edris, ACG
Life & ADHD Coach

Posted by ADD_Coach_Lynne on Jan 28, 2014 at 3:39am

I take meds for my Inattentive ADHD. I think it depends on ones body chemistry , which meds will help and which meds won’t

Posted by Lilapsophile on Jan 29, 2014 at 8:17pm

Ps the talk show in my head is like Jerry Springer. A good sense of humor helps everything in life. I find my ADHD has blessed me with a very bent sense of humor. I’d much rather laugh than cry. I’ve done enough crying as a child to fill up an Olympic sized pool

Posted by Lilapsophile on Jan 29, 2014 at 8:19pm

I have inattentive ADHD, and I have talk shows, music, lists, new ideas of how to do things, conversations with myself, and much more going on in my head CONSTANTLY. It’s very exhausting. I am not sure how much my meds help.. I believe it does a little because I notice I’m a little more overwhelmed in the evenings when it wears off. It’s been a little over a year now, and I’m still working on my new life.


Posted by Grierwego on Feb 06, 2014 at 11:20pm

I have recently found out I have inattentive ADHD and am researching the different meds options. Can anyone recommend one?

Posted by Clarebell on Feb 11, 2014 at 10:51pm

I was diagnosed with ADD Inattentive at age 47, and started on Adderall, 15 mg/2x day, and it made a big difference for me, with minimal side effects. With meds, I was able to focus on what I wanted to, could get back on track if I got distracted, extraneous noise didn’t put me overn the edge, I could actually attend long conversations and not interrupt and I was not so fatigued at the end of the day due to mental exhaustion and my mind stopped racing all the time.

Though the meds make a big difference, I still have an ADD brain with many compensatory strategies and behavior that I am trying to change while trying to understand my brain better.

I concur with the suggestion of exercise, meditation/mindfullness as additional strategies.

I was able to find a pychiatric nurse practitioner who had worked with AD/HD for years, so I’d advise if you can, find a health professional that has similar expertise if you can. (I have read this recommendation in several ADD books as well.)

Posted by JHC922 on Feb 12, 2014 at 10:00pm

Brand new to this site with a 16 yo son who just started Vyvance yesterday. It was his idea to pursue the diagnosis.  He is Extremely inattentive. It did not show itself until he got into the middle grades when being responsible for his own school work was required.  From that point on his grades have gone progressively downhill.

So today is Day 2 of the meds and he is NOT a happy camper.  He’s aggitated, spent a half hour on the toilet this morning, said his concentration and focus are worse than ever. Did I say he’s aggitated???  How long do you give this medication before calling on the doc to make an adjustment? 
Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance to anyone who cares to chime in.

Posted by baylakates on Feb 19, 2014 at 5:24am

I’m not a Dr. or pharmacist, so your mileage may vary!  I would give it a few days, but from my personal experience, it sounds like they may have started him at too high a dosage.  Everyone is different, but my son (18 yo) needs to start at a very low dosage when he tries a new med,and increase more gradually than what is common to avoid side effects like stomach upset and irritation.  I don’t have to ease in like he does myself—we’re all so different!

It might be worth a phone call to the doctor if he comes home today not feeling much better.

Posted by ADD_Coach_Lynne on Feb 19, 2014 at 11:32pm

I have been diagnosed as ADD for 28 years and no one had ever spoken of inatentive ADHD before. I am completely intrigued by this topic and will definitely be taking this to my Counselor and Psychiatrist because I feel I might be more in this direction.

Of course I am not trying to jump the gun here but this will definitely be something to discuss.

Posted by GKLMB1978 on Feb 24, 2014 at 9:45pm

I’m 21 years old and parents (mum and her husband) would refuse to get me diagnosed for years as they just believed I was “lazy” and psychiatrists would be a waste of their time and money, even though both my father and little brother suffer from inattentive as well. They finally had to agree to it after my GP did heaps of blood tests to show them it’s nothing to do with my physical health as parents believed it was because I don’t healthy and sleep 24/7. I was diagnosed with extreme inattentive ADD and still took them a long time to accept it. I experienced some side effects and changed a few meds but every single one I’ve been on helped me focus way more than I ever could before. I couldn’t even finish reading a full sentence before that for years. Meds definitely do work, I don’t know what this article or people saying inattentive ADD doesn’t exist are on about, they definitely need to experience is for themselves before talking smack.

Posted by Hobbit on Mar 23, 2015 at 2:23pm

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