The different types of ADHD explained

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  1. Small addition. The new DSM (i.e. 5) will be written this way. This is to make it easier when reissued. Previously, this was still called bv III revisited. Now it will simply be 5.1, 5.2 etc. The DSM is not a diagnostic manual. It is an international classification system.

    1. Hi Cora, thanks for your addition. You're right, DSM issues are indeed officially written in plain numbers these days. Will update that. Only, if the DSM is not a diagnostic manual, why does the abbreviation D of Diagnostic and M of manual stand for that? ;)

    2. Hi Jochem,

      I break my head over it.
      With a probable diagnosis of autism
      turns out I (aged 50) am probably actually highly sensitive,
      In addition, I have an ADHD form
      And in the process have CPTSS.
      Once working on (certain) things, I often can't stop
      and I go on and on and on, even when I'm squarely through. So that hyperfocus...
      How can I see this from the perspective that ADHD and HSP can occur simultaneously in me? A puzzle...
      How does it usually manifest in someone with both ADHD and HSP????
      I would love to know this (and much more).
      To have "comparison material".
      I hope you can give me some clarification.
      Thanks in advance,

      Judith

  2. Good piece! What I only miss a little is the link to giftedness, as many of the symptoms are present in both areas. I am 52 now and received my ADD diagnosis myself in 2009. I was stiff with symptoms. A world opened up for me. A lot of things suddenly fell into place. During that same period, I was (what became clear in retrospect) also in the middle of a severe burnout. The longer I was at home and the more I got my life back on track bit by bit, the fewer the symptoms became. We are now 10 years on and I do not yet reach almost the "required" number of symptoms on which an ADD diagnosis can be issued. I did continue to suffer from a number of things, such as having difficulty concentrating on things that do not interest me and so on. I am also highly sensitive. The world is under a magnifying glass for me. Together with several counsellors I went into that over the years. And after a while it was concluded that I might be gifted. Not that I know what to do with that at the moment, but that aside. However, over the past few years I have read a lot about this and often come across stories of people who were initially diagnosed with AD(H)D, but later turned out to be "just" gifted. When I relate it to myself (and my children of 22 and 19), I see a lot of overlap between AD(H)D and giftedness. I also think in pictures, can jump from one thing to another (switch gears very quickly) and have trouble concentrating on things that don't matter (to me). My son (19 - ADHD) has the same, but he bounces around all day, is very impulsive, but also very intelligent and very creative. My daughter (22) is now in a counselling programme to see if she is also gifted or if there are other causes for her problems. She too is quite intelligent and has ADD symptoms as well as HB characteristics. I try to put fewer and fewer labels on people, because everyone is different and your past life (and lineage) can have a huge influence on your behaviour in the rest of your life, but I do think it is extremely important to be clear whether someone has AD(H)D or is (highly)gifted. Especially at a young age. Have really read some very sad stories about adults who were given the AD(H)D sticker as children, but that this eventually turned out to be a misdiagnosis, with all its consequences. On the other hand, relatively very little is still known about HB, while AD(H)D is now well established. Furthermore, an AD(H)D diagnosis qualifies you for help, while HB is unfortunately still something elusive for many people (even GPs!) ("you're gifted, so what's the problem?"). If I look at my own characteristics and apply them to both HB and ADD, I fit into both groups, without nuancing them. However, when these characteristics are nuanced, it suddenly becomes a very different story.

    1. Thanks for your response Theo.
      I have also looked into giftedness and then I recognise so much in it in myself. For me, it is clear that I have ADHD but I wouldn't be surprised if I am also HB. Something that certainly didn't stand out at school before. Was really not a good student, didn't care about anything, never paid attention and therefore certainly didn't seem very smart. Every time I was asked a question, I didn't know the answer, purely because I just wasn't paying attention at all.

      Otherwise, I was, and still am, someone who is often seen as highly intelligent. I am often asked what university I am from etc. I also can't stand superficial people who can talk about 'nothing'. With me, it has to be either good laughs and clowning or profound. Otherwise it has no meaning for me.

      In addition, in one way or another, I am also very good at a lot of things, both on a practical and theoretical level. Have a lot of political insights, view of the world. Have enormous knowledge in various fields but am also a handyman who repairs my own car and tackles everything in the house. I also like extreme sports like freestyle snowboarding and was a stuntman for a while. Then again, was an instant favourite there, picking up very many stunts very quickly without fear. As if I have some sort of 6th sense with which I just feel how things should be done. You don't have to explain it to me, I just feel it and then just do it. Done, thats it.
      All things you don't often see together in one person. Especially when you consider that I am also highly sensitive.

      As a child, I was also good at many things (quickly) which meant I could never choose what I actually wanted. After all, if I chose one thing, I missed out on another.
      Also, you don't often see an adrenaline junkie, climber, cyclocrosser, freestyle snowboarder and you name it, having a lot of knowledge on a theoretical level as well.

      I always missed something about other people because most people are good at one thing and then go full steam ahead with that. I also miss the depth. Because of this, it feels like I'm never on the same level.

      All this made and still makes me quite lonely and I have suffered a lot from depression. Unfortunately, I now also have CFS/ME, which I am still working on recovering from. That's going in the right direction, though.

      Sounds very cocky so this reaction of mine haha. But thought I'd drop it after your reaction.

      Thanks.
      Greetings,
      Jochem

      1. Hi Jochem. Thanks for your reply. Nice to read! And largely very recognisable! Especially the bit about not being able to choose because everything is interesting, or wandering off during class because in your head you were solving world problems again ;). But also the bit about connecting with people. Have an innate aversion to small talk. Talking to make noise and so on. I think that's an art, mind you (hairdressers, e.g.), bear with me. But not for me. Or fun or depth. Exactly as you say. I'm not much of an adrenaline junky myself, but do enjoy "pushing the edge", if you know what I mean.
        Anyway, one does not exclude the other, of course. And below the line, it basically doesn't matter whether you have AD(H)D or are HB. It's all about how you are in your life and whether you get out of it what you want to get out of it. Of course, if that makes you feel good, there is no problem at all. Just noticed with myself (and read with many others) that the road to the checkpoint is often a (tedious) diversions. That a lot of hassle could have been avoided if people had either gone a bit deeper into the complaints, or approached them in other ways. Of course, I come from a time when ADHD didn't even exist (I left primary school in 1980), so of course I can't blame my teachers from those days either. But my glittering career did also stop immediately in that year. Simply because of not knowing/understanding what was wrong with me. "You're not trying hard enough! You have havo/vwo advice, don't you? Come on, then!". So maybe it's a bit deeper with me too, than average. And it's always easy to talk afterwards. Which is why I am very alert to it with my children. My son bounces just fine, so I don't even start talking about a possible HB with him, but my daughter gets stuck, so I do want to keep an eye on the direction in which she is steered by social workers and whether she agrees with it. Because I know from my own experience that a misdiagnosis might be instructive, but it can also be unnecessarily time-consuming. Very frustrating when, after several years of counselling, you sit at home feeling that there is something else/more going on and that you were on the wrong track all those years. Anyway, it's all getting a bit heavy, now... ;) I still intensely enjoy the first butterfly in spring and the first warm rays of sun on my face, so it won't be that bad anymore. :D

        1. Small talk, brrrr... haha, my dad always calls it moving a lot of air. And going to the hairdresser. I haven't done that for years. I often cut it myself or let it grow again for 2 years for the blonde surfer look :P
          But that's it, it doesn't matter so much what it is exactly. What mostly bothers me is the chaotic and that I have poor focus and get distracted by everything. Unless I get into hyperfocus. Also the lack of motivation... going all out on something and then quickly running out of things to do. Those are the well-known ADHD characteristics.
          Sometimes I wish I had more structure and order in my head.
          Indeed, a misdiagnosis does not seem nice to me. In that respect, it is also so tricky. There is so much overlap and people cannot really be divided into all the boxes. So many variations...

  3. Thanks!
    With HSP, do you attract other people's criticism worse? I don't know why it is, but people who are a bit depressed seek me out every time to spout criticism. I'm actually thinking I should knit a scarf that says "I don't want your opinion". Because of my ADHD, I do NOT manage to NOT respond. Then it ends up in some kind of argument every time (and it's still about MY way of life). It takes me weeks before I can think of anything else. I would therefore like to connect with similar people.

    1. Sounds very familiar to me. Both for myself and a friend of mine with ADHD who is also highly sensitive.
      We may be very prone to this kind of thing. Have a high sense of justice and want to 'fix' everything. This in turn causes irritations etc.
      Maybe we can also be very responsive to things that others just pass by. For me, it is very difficult not to go into everything and think about it. Then again, I can be knocked out by this for days.

    2. Indd! I had a situation like that recently too. And also someone who was in depression... like I had some kind of attraction orz. Person suddenly started apping me and telling me all his problems. I looked for a solution but uhm yeah... I got completely stuck myself. While I would have loved to look for a solution... I have add myself. but sometimes I wonder if I'm not an hsp?
      I'm still thinking about it weeks later, so annoying etc
      Greetings

  4. What a clear article. Great to read. Lots of recognition too.
    Our son (almost 9) has recently been diagnosed after examination; ADHD (type unknown to us), high sensitivity and autism with additional depressive symptoms and anxiety. So the combination ADHD and high sensitivity is not so strange, as we thought. It also all makes sense with the depressive symptoms and anxiety, quite logical even.
    However, the combination with autism makes it very difficult for us to reconcile. It is still so fresh that the advised psycho-education has yet to be planned, but in the meantime we are wondering how this is possible.

    Also unusual: on social media, you come across the term HSP almost everywhere. While the people you come across in social work (research bureaus/psychologists/ remedial educationalists, you name it) do not use this term. We hear ?highsensitive' or ?highgevoelig' called and there would be a difference in Belgium, while in the Netherlands this difference is not made, which of course creates confusion.
    Somehow it doesn't matter. After all, you are the way you are and you are good that way. But for the world around you, like school when you are almost 9 and still have a long way to go, it would be nice if you could offer a clear label with accompanying instructions. How do you do that when different terms are being used everywhere, creating almost a yes-no situation?
    What about these 3 terms? Is it just all the same with some personal nuances, or is there a real difference there too?
    And how could I possibly reconcile this with autism added to the label?

    This is already quite an old article, but enlightening for the first time without coming across as ?woolly? So hopefully someone is still actively working on it who might be able to offer some more clarification.

    1. Hi Ilse,
      The terms HSP, hypersensitive and highly sensitive all refer to the same thing. By the way, HSP is not an official psychiatric diagnosis you can get. Therefore, to my knowledge, it is not included in the DSM-5 where you can find all psychiatric and psychological labels.
      There is a lot of overlap between autism and HSP. Many people sometimes do not know whether they are HSP or still mildly autistic or both.
      You could think of it as a spectrum where HSP is on the left side of the spectrum and traditional autism on the right. In between are then all kinds of labels like PDD-NOS, asperger etc. In addition, ADHD/ADD but also dyslexia occurs a lot in overlap.
      More information on HSP and the characteristics of HSP can be found here.

  5. Thanks for the clear explanation!
    I myself also wonder how pms symptoms relate to this. With severe pms (pmdd) there is a lot of focus on depression but many of the features of ad(h)d I recognise during the pms phase

  6. Some things in the article I find rather stereotypical and not always correct. I have ADHD-C and contrary to what the article says, you will not always notice that I have ADHD during a group discussion or that I always talk a lot or the like. In fact, I am a very shy person who very often feels uncomfortable in social situations (which is common in people with ADHD) and so I often remain silent during such conversations. Nor is it at all true that people with ADHD are usually very creative, as I am not at all creative (and there are many people I know with ADHD who are not very creative), nor do all people with ADHD think in pictures. As an example, I cannot do that at all... (and I am by no means the only one who cannot do that and has ADHD). What almost all people with ADHD do have (and is not mentioned here) is a very great perseverance. This is because many people with ADHD generally experience many setbacks etc because of their ADHD, but learn to deal with them and learn to persevere.

    1. Hi Sophie,
      Thank you for your response. I understand what you mean. In that respect, it is also not so black and white to name and there are always exceptions.
      Similarly, many people are diagnosed with autism/pdd-nos, asperger's but also dyslexia and the like in addition to ADHD. Because of these overlaps, all kinds of differences can also occur.

      What you describe about being very shy and therefore not noticing the ADHD-C I can definitely relate to. But isn't it then true that when you do feel very comfortable you become a lot busier and more agile? For example, when talking to people.

      What I do wonder is what then was the deciding factor with you that they gave you the diagnosis of ADHD-C and not ADHD-I. Because actually, the main difference is the 'H' of hyperactivity. Other than that, most of the characteristics are actually pretty much the same. What you also see is people being diagnosed with ADHD-C at a young age and this later changing to ADD (ADHD-I). In that case, all symptoms are often still as intense but the hyperactivity is more in the background, so that you can no longer really call it ADHD-C. Being chaotic, forgetful and troubled by a jumble of thoughts also occurs in both types.

      But either way, we are all different and pigeonholing remains tricky. Actually, this is not entirely possible either but it can also have its advantages for when you want to target people in the best possible way.

      All the best.
      Greetings,
      Jochem

    2. Hi Sophie,
      It was good to read this,because I was already starting to doubt my adhd-c diagnosis.I don't agree at all with being busy and talking a lot,on the contrary.How many times do I get told that I come across as quiet and don't say much....when inside I feel very different from that.I am also very shy and place myself in the background rather than in the foreground.Because of this,I often feel the understanding when told that you have adhd,which is why I often don't say it,do you experience it that way?
      Greetings from a quiet adhdler

  7. Pleasant article to read. I myself work as an SPV in the mental health sector and often run into my vulnerabilities too: overstimulation and perfectionism resulting in impulsivity, brooding and fatigue. Finding the right balance is always my biggest challenge. As such, I have also frequently delved into ADHD, ADD and HSP. A critical note I would like to make is that these collective names of symptoms take on too much of a life of their own. What I think is important to mention is that there is no truth to these topics. A diagnosis or character trait are coined by people in the context of western society. In this society, thinking is very disorder-oriented. Economic interests determine the speed of our society which is geared towards the average person. Misfits are seen as a problem because they cannot always keep up with the rhythm of the big mob. And of course, nutrition and social equality is also an important perspective to take into account. Not everyone gets the same opportunities to develop peacefully. I would also like to see this nuance reflected in the articles circulating on the internet.

  8. Of my children, two are different. Adhd I heard in one and pdd nos in the other. The other three children can concentrate a little better but also indicate that they find it difficult. These disorders do not run in our families. I am from 1968, I had mumps and measles around 6 and 2. My generation is very large. So how does such a deffect suddenly occur in two of my children?
    I think this is crazy, I have always wondered how this could be and have always known that something from outside had to be the jammer. First I looked for it in the change of diet, later also in the acceleration of our society. Yet I continued reading and made connections with the many vaccination cocktails that babies are injected with from six to eight weeks. The attached toxins that supposedly cannot harm the baby .... From 1987, Adhd was recorded and described as a disorder. Ah that's a striking date.
    My generation received the dktp three times, and 1 x the smallpox shot (which incidentally disappeared from the schedule at the time because of too much damage and fatalities after administration) from 1974 onwards, the separate B (mumps) M (measles) and R (rubella) were added. From 1984, the BMR was included in the RVP as a cocktail. From that period onwards, I see (also through my work) more and more people growing up with disorders = brain damage?
    Looking at all the stories of desperate parents now, there must be a causal link between one and the other. Many people do not want to see this and continue to believe in the goodness of our government and continue to vaccinate (more and more) their dearest little ones to prevent 'serious' diseases.
    I get very worried when I see how the group is growing with all conditions and disorders and how the group is shrinking who are not affected by anything. It's just what you want to look at, do your own research, don't just assume everything and consciously make your choice when yourself have children and go to the CB for the first time (by the way nothing is compulsory now, including the CB)
    I am now continuing to decongest vaccinations in my children through Cease therapy and using CBD oil. It is also notable that both children are HSP, which is very nice and difficult in these over-stimulated times. Unfortunately, they have also been additionally burdened with an arsenal of vaccinations at a very young age.

    1. Hoi An,
      I personally will not be surprised if vaccinations play a big role in these conditions. I can't say much more about it but I too have had all vaccinations and also later in life with a view to travelling abroad.
      My idea is that it is a combination of the vaccinations and the sensitivity of your genes, plus possibly further environmental factors.
      You're pretty done with that if you're sensitive to this.
      Later in life, you can do all sorts of things to feel better and more balanced where you can think of meditation, yoga, nutrition, your sleep pattern, supplements, etc.
      There are also all kinds of options for detoxifying heavy metals. Maybe you could look into that.

  9. Hello all,

    Let me just drop that scary word "UWV"...

    Request for info: does anyone know what the UWV's position is on HSP? ADD is now fully recognised (in some places?). I am specifically referring to: HSP as a "problem description" (and thus a label with the aim that treatment can be reimbursed) with a subsequent reintegration/coaching/resocialisation/outflow mental health pathway (for the client).... I am very curious about your experiences!

    Fri. Gr. Lisanne

    1. Hello Lisanne!

      I myself was fully discharged by the UWV when I was 40, am now 56 years old and think it is actually with me anyway HSP was what was killing me in my job. Actually, right from the start I noticed that company doctors didn't really take HSP seriously as a "work disability". I stopped defending and explaining it then too.
      Especially older doctors or straightforward thinking UWV doctors unfortunately still think this way.... So safer with the "sticker" ADHD/ADD on the forehead went to the medical examiner.
      Such an examination is personal, who is your doctor, can you "logically articulate" it, with very good luck yourself HSP (don't think so in such a profession you are fired within a year or you have a burn out)
      My humble advice; preparation is almost impossible, as an HSPer, go by your intuitive feeling, fingers crossed and enjoy your "gift" make positive use of it.
      perhaps you have been by now and are without all the stress...;-)

  10. I enjoyed reading the piece and will have to read it a few more times.
    My nephew (8) and niece (6) also have this problem now. With my nephew it has been labelled with niece it is yet to be investigated. Nephew is very hyperactive and especially in e period when there is a lot of tension such as St Nicholas and his own birthday. Has trouble if he is not listened to. At school, they are quick to say he is aggressive but the opposite is true. My niece also struggles with learning. So I don't know what will come out at the psychologist, knowing that her father has ADHD and dislexic runs in the family. Has many similarities ADHD like learning difficulties (concentration).
    Would love to find out how many techniques there are to get those stimuli going without reaching for drugs.

  11. This is mostly drivel again about 'disorders' existing purely in the minds of the DSM compilers of the American Psychiatric etc. People differ in degree of sensitivity to stimuli, that does not mean someone has a disorder. We live in a world overloaded with stimuli where there is little room for calm, inertia. If you are less able, perhaps never learned, to shut yourself off from the excess of stimuli, you can become overloaded. A better starting point is to start from differences between people and learn to exist according to your predisposition.

    1. Hello,
      I too am Belgian Hilde :-) and mother of four. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of nine, so am the combined type. I am 43 and after a burn-out two years ago, I started thinking about what I really wanted to do in and with my life. What "I" really wanted to do. Because I had (and still have) great difficulty concentrating and because of the lack of empathy from parents and teachers, I had not finished secondary school at the time. A real "drop-out"... I did always have nice jobs, was well paid (did the work of three people :-) so nice for the companies I worked for) and can call myself a self-made woman. And then there was that burnout... My perfectionism, which can take really extreme forms in all areas, has crippled me. After reflection, I decided to start studying again. And hip hi, within two months I'll finish my secondary studies (partly central exam board and partly future education) and start the psychology course at Ghent University next school year. I REALLY want to make a difference for adults with AD(H)D, there are really too few specialists here in this Belgian country!
      What I particularly notice is the difference in 'school' approach between before and now. Three of my four children have already been diagnosed with ADHD or ADD. The smallest of five has not yet been tested but everything points towards ADHD in him too. Haha, (and actually this is not funny but come...) I do appear to have very strong "ADHD" genes. Before, and I'm talking about the period when I went to school between the ages of six and eighteen, you were simply labelled as "busy, disinterested, dreamer, difficult child,... (the list is very long) and you received absolutely no support because ADHD (not really known then) was mainly a figment of your imagination and the result of a "wrong" upbringing. Now, if you obviously have a diagnosis document/report, you get extra support measures (a little more time to complete your test, the possibility of taking oral exams, going for a walk if you already have a hard time staying seated, and, and, and, and). I then had myself re-tested anyway, as I had been diagnosed but not certified at the time. I have, still do :-)) ADHD and am thus of the combined type, concentration disorders and impulsivity/hyperactivity, categorised as moderate to severe disorder that is heavily "handicapping". And fair? It is ... "handicapping" in this merry-go-round of a world. I hear everything, see everything, feel everything and along the other side I try to know and learn everything (quite literally to be taken) about the subjects I am involved with. At some of the comments on your blog, which I really enjoy and find enriching, my heart bleeds and I would like to give the person in question a warm loving hug. Other responses (which rather lump everything together or minimise AD(H)D as such) make me "really" rebel. Then again, they did give the reason to start typing / replying.
      AD(H)D is not always doom and gloom for me... Sometimes it's a blessing and sometimes it's a curse. We AD(H)D'ers, we can do more. We are capable of greater things than the average person. We have a SUPER FOCUS, which even an ASD person could learn a thing or two from, and a dose of energy that would dwarf a duracell rabbit.
      I don't see myself as selfish at all, I too often figure myself out to step in for others. I do find it very difficult to distinguish main issues from side issues... everything is equally important, it often seems to me. Or at least a detail can give rise to a major catastrophe, for example... so I also always know all the side issues from the course.
      I am sociable, good-humoured and usually fun to be around. But I also finish other people's sentences or answer even when really not asked. I am straightforward, very present, honest and above all very sensitive. Au fond, I am just Eva.
      Having watched the movie, I would also like to refer to the website "totallyadd" the documentary/film "ADD and loving it" is a blissful approach to our "disorder" :-), very nicely brought visions of AD(H)D.... by AD(H)D stand-up comedians. Really worth checking out. I bought myself all the videos they offered... so for those interested.... I'll leave my email address in a moment.
      And then, while I'm typing here and looking for enough respondents to make a valid final paper....
      As a final project for Human Sciences, I have to conduct a scientific study on a topic of my own choosing. Naturally, it was quickly clear to me that I wanted to know more about AD(H)D and, in particular, how much impact the feedback we received as children (from parents, teachers etc...) on our AD(H)D behaviour has on our self-image...The self-image we had as children, but also the impact on our current self-image. In other words, have the comments and thus the feedback, scarred us or is it just our AD(H)D "disorder" that makes us, AD(H)Ders, develop an inferiority complex, fear of failure, perfectionism etc, etc? I have prepared an online survey. I appeal to my peers to be willing to spend 10 minutes of their precious time on my survey... If you enter your e-mail address in it, I will also send you the complete survey afterwards. Anonymity will be guaranteed and the data will not be passed on to third parties.
      Whoever would feel inclined to help me... thanks a lot in advance! Here is my email address (please send me a message that you want to participate) -> eva@fuster.be
      Love and above all, good luck in whatever each of you undertakes!
      Good advice for people with unsympathetic parents, relatives or "so called friends".... Cut those ties!!!! Follow your gut and put your energy into things that are worth it! Start leaving energy for yourself!
      x
      Eva

      1. Bye, as far as I know I am not an ADHD star.
        Presumably an HSP star though. But even here in the Netherlands, I notice a lot of confusion among psychiatrists and psychologists about making the right diagnosis. Partly because you often only end up at a mental health institution if you are overburdened and/or traumatised for a long time. Burnout is also often not recognised here. Not even by experts in the field and certainly not in schools. I find it really serious that highly sensitive children often go completely wrong at school. They are belittled and because they are ashamed they do not show outside the door how hard they have it even when they are severely overworked and depressed. In school, one should know at least a little about the psychology of the child and what can go wrong and how mentors or teachers can recognise it, Because these children are largely dependent on their teachers and mentors. In my experience, parents are quite underestimated on their knowledge and knowing their own child. I have really heartbreaking experiences, not necessarily just in my own family but I see it happening to other parents and children. I see too many children and young people committing suicide . I don't find that crazy! They go crazy within the home school system and if something happens at home, such as a divorce or the death of a loved one, they immediately point the finger at the parent. It is high time that GPs, teachers, mentors and social workers take a hard look at themselves and their systems. Because there is a lot more going wrong there than ever comes to light! Many teachers are far too young, too narrowly educated and have far too little knowledge and understanding of a child's psyche. Exceptions of course. But here in the Netherlands, teachers and social workers and doctors are often overburdened too, they don't have and don't take the time and schools have become learning factories ! A child or young person needs personal attention and a feeling of safety and appreciation. You hardly find that anymore within today's systems and as a parent you have to watch helplessly how they ruin your child. Not on purpose but out of previous issues and ignorance. As an HSP or other children who are not quite average or mediocre, you have a problem. Everything goes fast, quick and superficial. And all this while both parents often have to work to make ends meet and pressures from the performance society and the many choices and temptations are ever increasing! I think it is high time to ask ourselves what the hell we are doing. The Netherlands but probably also other countries need a wake-up call before it is really too late. Hsp-ersons are scouts they are the first to experience when something is wrong. By taking them seriously, one can benefit from this and intervene, because other children with yet other qualities are bound to follow! Because everyone is naturally sensitive to a greater or lesser extent!

      2. Hi Eva great your response substantive and yet equally engaging. Both as a person as a mother and as an educator and psychologist it is very helpful to me! And totally top your topic! To be honest: I do believe that it is mainly the feedback that may or may not derail you internally ...
        I wish you all the best in enjoying yourself and your children and this world!

    2. Clearly a response from someone who has no experience of it himself. I myself have ADHD-3 and I would like to trade a day with someone who doesn't have a brain that is out of control. Or that I don't have to lock myself up for a day to avoid nasty situations. This is really not a figment of the pharmaceutical industry's imagination. It is an 'abnormality' for a reason. If you have nothing useful to add, don't say anything at all or do your homework.

  12. Hilde,

    Why was I born in Belgium and not in the Netherlands. That would have saved me many years of unnecessary suffering! You guys are so much further ahead with diagnosis, correct data and above all understanding from most doctors in medicine themselves. I am a mother of three "by now big, so the toughest and busiest periods are now behind us" big boys aged 14, 18 and 21 and we also belong to such a genetically complex family. My husband has never wanted to be tested until here, for him this subject is pretty much taboo with the result that after all these "parenting" years, I am now completely bogged down by it. As someone wrote, all 3 of them need different approaches so as not to damage their self-confidence through too much negative criticism with us especially at school! Letting each child develop their own creativities because these really are children who can be capable of a lot if given the right guidance! One with HSP had to have complete silence while studying while the other typical ADHD one was downstairs playing his drums! This is just a single small example of what things were like at our house every day. One thing is definitely true, there was always ambiance at our place. Only at times it did drive me crazy. In fact, a lot of situations like this that took place at our house over the years should have been filmed. Then I would now be in possession of hard evidence for the large number of Belgians who still claim that this child problem does not exist but that it is all down to upbringing, even their own family.
    Which diagnosis is given correctly does not matter so much in hindsight, but as a parent it is very important to know as early as possible what exactly is going on with your child. Because it is precisely this group of youngsters where things can quickly go wrong because their nervous system is much more sensitive. However, it is precisely the ADHD/HSP children who have a lot of potential and it has always existed. In this day and age, they simply stand out more quickly because at school, they are now expected to perform faster and at a much greater rate. They also tend to be children who need more time than anyone else to finish their tests. I wonder how science writes about this in a decade or so. ?

  13. Wow .... So much info , but so true !!! We have such a family with a bit of everything 2x ADHD type 1 1x HSP and 1x ADHD type 3 with a form of PDDNOS and one who has type 2 if I read it this way and 2 with Dislexia! Yes, never a dull moment at home but also very tiring, sometimes I am really tired pfffff, always a full feeling in my head, always saying the right things to the right person so it doesn't come in the wrong way! The misunderstanding we have already had to endure from the outside world but 1 thing I know for sure my family is alive and enjoying and I love it and we are social in our beautiful way and we are always ready with a helping hand if only it were not so ??? but I am proud of who we are and where we are !!! And never A Boring moment at or house what we often hear with you there is always life and "almost " anything is possible !!! Jochem thanks for your piece, a lot has become clear to me and I will certainly share this with others.

    1. Hi Agnes, a nice dollop of fun by the sound of it at your place. Exactly the kind of mix I wrote about, haha. I understand that it can be tiring but you are doing well :) I'm glad you enjoyed the article and thanks for sharing.
      Greetings, Jochem.

  14. I read the article, well read....... have to do that a few more times before I get it.
    I have been diagnosed with AD(H)D, am always Hyper in my head, also see too much, hear too much, overstimulated,
    too many emotions- mood swings.
    Chaotic, start everything, but rarely finish anything.
    Am very tired.
    Greetings Carla

    1. Hi Carla,

      How annoying for you. There are many people who benefit from the natural remedy lto3. Mainly also for symptoms you describe, but also for concentration. It has become especially popular among people with ADD, ADHD and high sensitivity, but also people with burn-out and stress. You can here lto3 experiences find.
      For more information on lto3, please visit here http://www.addkenmerken.net/lto3/
      Good luck with everything.
      Greetings Jochem

  15. Sorry, I had not read it properly.
    I am an HSPer who is in her 3rd Burnout. ;)
    I have all the characteristics of the HSP: when I enter somewhere, I see all the details, feel the atmosphere, hear every sound, sense people's moods, catch what they think and expect from me and feel my own emotions about it and my own insecurity.
    In short: I see too much, hear too much and sense too much and feel too many emotions myself.
    I used to think I had ADHD because I always arrive late and procrastinate on everything.
    But when I read the book on HSP, I recognised more in it.

    You know what I'm starting to wonder more and more, though?
    Isn't everything just HSP?
    You have the introverted HSP, which is a lot like autism.
    You have extroverted HSP, which is a lot like ADHD.
    You have the HSP sensation seeker, which is a lot like Borderline.
    And HSPers who switch between the three, especially when they get overexcited.

  16. The overlaps are greater because when an HSP is overexcited, they can't concentrate either.
    And if they are chronically overstimulated, like children due to high expectations at school and privately with their homework, or in adolescence with the confusing hormones and as adults with everything that "has to be done", they are thus chronically unable to concentrate.

    The big difference between ADHD and HSP is the empathy or empathic ability.
    ADHDers come across as more selfish and have more trouble empathising or sympathising with another person.
    They also listen less to what another person has to say and come up plumply halfway through the other person's story with something of their own concern that has nothing to do with the other person's problem.
    This makes them seem selfish.
    Whereas an HSPer is totally sympathetic and sympathetic to another person and sometimes completely loses himself in it.
    Except when an HSPer is overworked, then they can't keep their attention on the other person's problem either, or it no longer interests them.

    ADHDers who are also high-sensitive also feel more strongly what another person feels or expects, but use that to go against that even more stubbornly and to push their own way through, beyond all limits.
    While an HSPer actually becomes more insecure, because of what they sense from another and risk losing themselves because of it and have to fight to get back to themselves (and what they themselves feel and want).
    As a result, they often become overworked and therefore indifferent to someone else's problem.

    1. Hi Roos, thanks for your fine addition. Only, the things you mention are just described in the article ;)I also recognise myself so much in what you write. Being chronically overstimulated and so on. I myself am someone who can empathise with others very well but what you say. I shouldn't get overexcited or overstressed because then sometimes I can't feel anything at all and I need time to come back to myself. Meditating helps me do that. The strange thing is that sometimes I really feel like an ADD sufferer (I have that diagnosis too) but on good moments I can actually concentrate quite well and feel quite normal. But those good moments never last for hours because then I'm over-stimulated again, which makes my concentration and feeling worse. So many things affect me. The energies of others around me, the weather, food, other people, etc. Then again, it's more the HSP side. I really feel the tension in my body then. With me it switches quite a bit during the day. Greetings Jochem.

    2. Roos, I don't think you can put it so black and white. Adhdders are empathetic, but they are busy with several things at once. As a result, they react too early or too late. Clumsiness in communication is not the same as lack of empathy. (While it sometimes does look that way, in behaviour you sometimes see overlap with autistic traits, but the disability is really on a different plane)

  17. Wonderful that it is described so clearly.... Sometimes I still have the idea that add or adhd-l type, which is the case with me, is not understood in my circles.....word by default but thrown onto the busy picture of adhd...... and then my reactions and actions are sometimes misunderstood and when I say sorry, I can't always do something about it and I work on it, I often get the reaction of yes, right..... so the text is now shared and then they can read it and maybe show more understanding.....

  18. Thanks for your nice and kind comments! Really enjoy reading them! :)

    Els, super that you are addressing this. This deserves more attention, especially what you say about misdiagnosis. Very regrettable! Good luck with your workshops :)

    Greetings, Jochem.

  19. Hello Jochem,

    I didn't find out that I am an HSPer until I was 50. A friend gave me a book on HSP with the words " Read this,maybe you will recognise yourself".
    All my life, I felt different. Therapy after therapy to get into 'balance'.
    My ex a purebred adhder category 3.
    Our children have the high sensitivity anyway. My youngest has been diagnosed with add with a phobia. She feels dead unhappy with herself. I referred her your to site. Personally, I think she is an HSPer.
    I agree with Els that people are quick to be labelled with medication. Worse, in the mainstream the term HSP does not even come up. Good on Els for paying more attention to this in schools.

    I read your columns attentively. They are clear and understandable . Thank you

  20. Hello Jochem,

    As an interim teacher and coach/counsellor specialising in education and high sensitivity, I too often see a pupil being diagnosed with add/ adhd/ autism, possibly with the accompanying medication. When I then really start talking to the student, parents, teachers, all too often it turns out that the student is 'only' highly sensitive. This makes me sad: how many children are walking around with the wrong label and not getting the right support. Nice to read that more people are (h)recognising it and putting it out into the world. Thank you.

    My goal, in the short term, is to be able to run a workshop recognising hsp in schools for both parents and teachers. And to be able to support students with turning hsp as a burden into hsp as a strength.

  21. Thank you for this piece. It was very helpful to me. My daughter is a true HSPer I now know ( instead of an ADDer )
    So I read the news trumps with full attention and use the tips.

    regards,
    Marijke

  22. Very nice that there are people like you Jochem, who can articulate our issues well. It is clear and well-organised. Thanks Jochem!