There are three subtypes of ADHD:

  • ADHD, Combined Type - Individual displays both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms.
  • ADHD, Predominantly Inattentive Type - Symptoms are primarily related to inattention. Individual does not display significant hyperactive/impulsive behaviors.
  • ADHD, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type - Symptoms are primarily related to hyperactivity and impulsivity. Individual does not display significant attention problems.

A thin line between childhood ADHD/ADD and trauma.

Dr. Nicole Brown’s quest to understand her misbehaving pediatric patients began with a hunch.

Brown was completing her residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, when she realized that many of her low-income patients had been diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

These children lived in households and neighborhoods where violence and relentless stress prevailed. Their parents found them hard to manage and teachers described them as disruptive or inattentive. Brown knew these behaviors as classic symptoms of ADHD, a brain disorder characterized by impulsivity, hyperactivity, and an inability to focus.

When Brown looked closely, though, she saw something else: trauma. Hyper-vigilance and dissociation, for example, could be mistaken for inattention. Impulsivity might be brought on by a stress response in overdrive.

“Despite our best efforts in referring them to behavioral therapy and starting them on stimulants, it was hard to get the symptoms under control,” she said of treating her patients according to guidelines for ADHD. “I began hypothesizing that perhaps a lot of what we were seeing was more externalizing behavior as a result of family dysfunction or other traumatic experience.”


The Atlantic Daily

Trauma and how it affects the brain.


When trauma takes place, both our left side which is for thinking and verbal, and the right side which is creative and pictorial are interfered with which then causes great perception distortions.
The memory of the event glues to the parts of the brain that is non-conscious or  non-verbal, which then makes it difficult for the individual to make contact with the parts that enables understanding, reasoning and thinking, this part of the brain is called the frontal lobes.
Every body responds to trauma differently... while some see remember and feel, others may be able to vocally express the event but absolutely feel nothing as if they witnessed someone else go through it. In these cases its difficult for the individual  to really make sense of the order of events of stories in their own life... its as if there is something in the brain preventing normal function, ability and potential to do things that should come naturally, like speaking.
Here are few symptoms of Emotional Trauma, however have also been known to be manifested by those who suffer with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
•         Shock, denial or disbelief
•         Anger, irritability or mood swings
•         Guilt, shame, self blame
•         Feeling sad or hopeless
•         Confusion or difficulty concentrating
•         Anxiety or fear
•         Withdraw from or cling to people
•         Feeling disconnected or numb


Physical Symptoms of trauma

•         Insomnia or nightmares
•         Being easily startled
•         Racing heartbeat
•         Aches and pains
•         Fatigue
•         Difficultly concentrating
•         Edginess and agitation
•         Muscle tension

The Amygdala is the part of the brain where remembering, emotions and survival mode resides and although it’s about the shape and a little bit bigger than an almond, it is a very integral part of the brains make up.
Here are a few things to know about how this part of the brain functions when trauma is also present within the brain.
•         It can cause the interpretation of the messages about what is safe and what is dangerous to be distorted.

•         It can cause false alarms to be set off in the brain.

•         Caused hypersensitivity and overreacts to normal stimuli.

•         Because it knows nothing about reasoning or cognitive functions and only deals with emotions and feelings, trauma often blurs the lines causing chaos and confusion.


"Mums the word" book by Nadine Alexander.