ADD ADHD difference

Perhaps no child related medical condition has received more attention from the press, medical professionals and parents than Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). But wait, or is that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)? Many people are unsure about the difference between ADD and ADHD and whether or not they are actually two separate yet related conditions. Not matter what you call it (or them) ADD/ADHD is a serious condition that can affect a child or teen’s quality of life, education and even their chances at success later in life.

The difference between ADD and ADHD is simple – attention deficit disorder (ADD) was the original name of this debilitating disorder, which is characterized by a lack of attention, hyperactivity, difficulty learning, difficulty socializing, and poor performance in school or at studies. Now though, ADD has been reclassified as a type of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), effectively meaning that ADD is part of the ADHD spectrum and not a completely separate and different disease. You will likely notice that commercials and newscasts rarely use the term ADD anymore, instead preferring the longer and more difficult to pronounce term ADHD. It is because of the difference in ADD and ADHD that this gradual change has took place in our nation’s mainstream media coverage.

So what’s so important about ADD (or is that ADHD) anyway? First, some 3 to 5 percent of children in the United States suffer from ADHD, and these children go to school with non-ADHD sufferers. Though it is not their fault, children with ADHD can disrupt classes, use up a teacher’s valuable time, and jeopardize the learning environment for children who do not suffering from this disorder. In that way, ADHD is more than an isolated problem with some 3 to 5 percent of children. Instead, ADHD is a national crisis. Luckily, as we have learned more about ADHD, we have been able to treat children who suffer from it and help teachers get their classrooms back on track.

How do you know a child has ADHD? A child’s teacher or a school administrator may suggest that your child get tested for ADHD if he or she shows any of the following symptoms: hyperactivity, inability or unwillingness to pay attention, and learning and or behaving at below the expected developmental level. A doctor or psychiatrist will test for ADHD. For now, the causes of ADHD are unknown, though medical science is working to combat the condition and discover what underlying causes might cause it to manifest in the first place.

What scientists and medical researchers have found out through their studies is that ADHD effects a child’s brain, namely the parts of the brain that control impulse control, problem solving skills, planning and perceiving skills, and understanding others. This may explain why children with ADHD have a problem in school and in their social lives.

Luckily for sufferers of ADHD, the syndrome is treatable. Unfortunately, the syndrome has only been identified relatively recently. That means that there were probably thousands or even millions of children who suffered from ADHD but were never diagnosed. This is a major problem because, if never diagnosed, ADHD can actually follow a person into adulthood. Worse, the same symptoms that plague children with ADHD – inattention, hyperactivity, unable to function in social or structured situations – can make living an adult life extremely difficult. Adult sufferers of ADHD may find it difficult to make and keep friends, hold down steady jobs, or even manage the basics of their life sufficiently.

The difference between ADD and ADHD is that ADD has now been reclassified as ADHD. If you think you or someone you know may be suffering from ADHD, seek help. Treatment is available and can help improve quality of life significantly.


Last updated on Feb 21st, 2010 and filed under Mental Health. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses for “ADD ADHD difference”

  1. It is interesting that ADD is no longer a term in psycho-educational reports. Psychologists now use the term ADHD with or without hyperactivity. Parents are somewhat confused by the term of ADHD – especially if the child is not demonstrating signs of hyperactivity. The standard attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder diagnosis is divided into three types:

    • The inattentive type diagnosis is for children with attention deficits but no problem with hyperactivity. Most people refer to this as ADD.
    • The hyperactive/impulsive type diagnosis is used for hyperactive children, who might also be impulsive. Most people refer to this as ADHD
    • The combined type is for children with both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive behaviors.

    I am curious if a new term will present itself soon to replace the acronym ADHD.

  2. Kids ADD Recovery says:

    ADD and ADHD are serious psychological disorders that make teens depressed and unmotivated. Teens suffering from ADD are unable to concentrate on any work. Various behavioral, emotional and psychological problems are caused due to ADD and ADHD problems.

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