ADHD Inattentive Type

Douglas Cowan Psy.D. MFT's picture
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ADHD Inattentive Type and Winnie the Pooh

Winnie the Pooh is the classic picture of "Inattentive ADHD." Although Pooh is very lovable, loyal, and kind, he is also inattentive, sluggish, slow-moving, unmotivated. He is a classic daydreamer with brain fog. In other works we have called this "Space Cadet" style ADHD.ADHD inattentive type picture

People with this type of ADHD are:

  • Easily distracted
  • Have short attention spans to a task that is not interesting, or is hard
  • Daydreaming when others are talking to him/her
  • Always looking for things that they have just put down somewhere...
  • Always late
  • Easily bored

Inattentive ADHD Neurology Explained

Normally in the brain the prefrontal cortex will speed up activity when there is work to concentrate on. But with this type of inattentive ADHD the prefrontal cortex actually slows down when placed under a work load, like reading or doing homework.

This part of the brain looks normal when "at rest," but actually looks like it is starting to fall asleep when asked to "go to work." This makes it very hard to pay attention to school work, get homework done, listen to the teacher, clean your room, and so on.

We have actually observed this hundreds of times with subjects on an EEG. When at rest, the brainwave activity is pretty normal. But once the subject is asked to read, or to do a math worksheet, the subject's brainwave activity begins to look like the subject is falling asleep. And often times they do fall asleep! This sure makes school hard for these students!

Winnie the Pooh style inattention is seen more in girls than in boys.

This inattentive ADHD may one day be considered to be a completely different disorder than impulsive-hyperactive ADHD or combined type ADHD. There are a lot of differences between them.

For example, the inattentive Pooh type ADHD responds only moderately well to the stimulant methylphenidate (Ritalin). In a recent study 20% had "day and night" improvement, and about 60% only somewhat improved. This is compared to the impulsive-hyperactive or combined types which showed over 90% really good improvements with methylphenidate. There are other significant differences too.

Here's a good resource developed by some researchers at Harvard to help improve working memory. Its a computer based program to improve working memory in children and teenagers.

Here are some of the questions from our Online ADHD screening tool (click here)that can help you clarify if the problem is Inattentive ADHD.

Answer every statement below by rating the behavior on a scale from one (1) to five (5).
(1) You have not noticed this behavior before.
(2) You have noticed this behavior a little, but it is not a significant problem.
(3) You have noticed this behavior, and see it fairly often.
(4) You have noticed this behavior, and see it almost daily or everyday.
(5) You have noticed this behavior, and it is really a big problem.

Section One:

_____ My child does not complete tasks or jobs that I give him to do.
_____ My child does not listen to me, or does not pay attention to me when I’m talking.
_____ My child daydreams a lot.
_____ It seems that we are always looking for things that my child has misplaced or lost.
_____ My child has poor concentration on tasks that are difficult, hard, or boring.
_____ My child changes from one play activity to another a lot, more than most kids his age.
_____ My child is easily distracted.
_____ My child often makes us late.
_____ Most of the time I am doing my child’s homework for him.
_____ After taking two hours to complete what should have been a 20 minute homework assignment, the next day my child loses his homework or fails to turn it in to his teacher.

_____ Add these scores up here. Scores of 10 to 24 are common.

Scores of 25 to 34 are in the "at risk" ranges, and scores of 35 or greater are at "high risk."

Alternative Treatment Strategy Specifically for Inattentive ADHD

Here is what we recommend for Winnie the Pooh types if you are trying to avoid using stimulant medications:

  • Use our recommended ADHD Eating Program
  • Begin using Essential Fatty Acid supplementation, preferably with Flax Seed Oil, or Borage Oil. There may be too much mercury in fish oils to use them these days, I can't say for sure, but be careful. The Omega Oils are very important and can be purchased in "bulk" and added to salad dressings, etc.
  • Get ATTEND to increase focus, attention span, and time on task. Start with 2 capsules per day and work up to 4 capsules per day in divided doses.
  • Also get MEMORIN for increased memory and concentration to task. Take 2 capsules per day in divided doses.

ATTEND is the single best alternative treatment that we know of. It is an excellent product with an excellent product guarantee. MEMORIN works well with ATTEND to increase memory and concentration for Inattentive types.

ATTEND contains:

  • L-Tyrosine, which is highly recommended,
  • GABA,
  • DL-Phenylalyne,
  • Ginko,
  • Pycnogenol and Grape Seed Extracts,
  • 5-HTP,
  • Pregnenolone,
  • DMAE,
  • and 60 other important ingredients including Essential Fatty Acids and Lipid Complexes.

See the ATTEND formula list.

MEMORIN contains additional Ginko, plus lots of Phosphatidyl Serine and other phosphatidyls, and additional pregnenolone, a naturally occurring memory hormone.

Back to "Different Types of ADHD" index

This book section: The Different Types of ADHD

Douglas Cowan, Psy.D., MFT is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Tehachapi, CA who has been a counselor to children, teens, and adults helping them to overcome ADHD, find relief for depression or anxiety, and solve other problems in life since 1989. He served on the medical advisory board to the company that makes Attend and Extress from 1997 through 2011, and he is the Editor of the ADHD Information Library online resource at His weekly ADHD Newsletter goes out to 9,500 families. Visit his website at for more information on achieving greater health, personal growth, Christ-centered spirituality, stress management, parenting skills, ADHD, working out the stresses of being a care-giver to elderly parents and also being a parent to teenagers, or finding greater meaning in retirement years, Dr. Cowan can be a valuable resource to you.

Counselor counseling Tehachapi for ADHD, depression, anxiety, and more.

Douglas Cowan, Psy.D., MFT
27400 Oakflat Dr.
Tehachapi, CA 93561
(661) 972-5953

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