8 Types of Inattention in Adult ADHD

by Eileen Bailey Health Writer

There are three main symptoms of adult ADHD: hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention. By the time you have reached adulthood hyperactivity might have lessened to a feeling of restlessness and being fidgety. Many adults have learned ways to tame their impulsivity. However, inattention frequently remains high, interfering with jobs, relationships and daily life.

Easily Distracted

You might have trouble paying attention to something for any period of time or find yourself drifting off in thought or tune out conversations. You might find it easier to take in information in small bursts, such as reading a slideshow online rather than reading a long article. You might have trouble following conversations or be told you are a poor listener.


Your personal spaces might be filled with stacks of papers or other clutter. You might feel overwhelmed with the clutter yet still not have any idea of where organizing. You might continually make attempts to tidy up your belongings only to find clutter and piles return immediately. You might have trouble with time-management and planning tasks or activities.


You might have a hard time getting started on projects and tasks. You might put off any task you deem as unpleasant, tedious or boring. You might chronically avoid tasks that require sustained attention.

Difficulty completing tasks

You might have multiple projects going on at one time, all in various stages of completion. You might find that you continuously begin projects and tasks and then become bored or distracted and move on to the next task. You are easily sidetracked, starting one task and moving to another, forgetting about the first task.


You might forget lunch dates, appointments, deadlines or important events. You might have a hard time remembering instructions, even when repeated. You might forget to pay your bills or return phone calls or emails. Others might see you as lazy or that you intentionally forget in order to avoid responsibility.

Losing items

You might consistently lose your keys, glasses, wallet or cell phone. You might misplace work items, such as pens or papers on a regular basis. You might spend time everyday searching for items you have lost or misplaced.

Poor reading comprehension

You might have a hard time remembering what you have read. You might need to re-read paragraphs several times to remember the information.

Making careless mistakes

You might have trouble paying attention to details of different tasks. You might make careless mistakes and have a difficult time editing or checking your work.

Eileen Bailey
Meet Our Writer
Eileen Bailey

Eileen Bailey is an award-winning author of six books on health and parenting topics and freelance writer specializing in health topics including ADHD, Anxiety, Sexual Health, Skin Care, Psoriasis and Skin Cancer. Her wish is to provide readers with relevant and practical information on health conditions to help them make informed decisions regarding their health care.