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The Difference Between Add And Adhd

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Got It So What Is Add

Whats the difference between ADD and ADHD?

Spoiler: It doesnt exist. Initially, the American Psychiatric Association recognized two discrete types of ADD: attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity and attention deficit disorder without hyperactivity. But in 1987, the APA removed the term ADD from its official diagnostic manual. And decided to include just one diagnosis: ADHD. But even after all this time, some people still mistakenly use the outdated term, ADD.

Inattentive Type Adhd In Girls

While ADHD occurs in boys and girls at similar rates, boys are more likely to be diagnosed with the condition. Boys may be more likely to exhibit externalizing symptoms of the hyperactive-impulsive type of ADHD, increasing the diagnosis rate since such symptoms tend to be more disruptive. Girls tend to exhibit more internalizing symptoms of ADHD, which may make it more difficult to spot, contributing to underdiagnosis.

What Are The Differences Between Add And Adhd

Attention deficit disorder is an outdated term for what experts now call attention deficit hyperactivity disorder .

The term ADD first appeared in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , a reference manual that helps mental health professionals diagnose mental health conditions.

Experts separated the condition into two subtypes:

  • ADD with hyperactivity
  • ADD without hyperactivity

When the American Psychiatric Association released a revised edition in 1987, they combined these two subtypes into one condition: ADHD.

Today, ADHD is one of the more common childhood mental health conditions. The says that about 9.4 percent of children and adolescents in the United States have ADHD.

Adults can have ADHD, too. According to a 2021 review , nearly 2.6 percent of adults globally have persistent ADHD from childhood, while about 6.7 percent of adults have symptoms of adult ADHD.

Since these estimates come from reported symptoms and diagnoses, some believe the real prevalence of ADHD could be higher.

Experts have identified three types of ADHD, based on the main symptoms involved:

  • a combination of inattention and hyperactivity

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Do Symptoms Of Adult Adhd Differ From A Childs Adhd

Adults are less likely to demonstrate hyperactive traits in the same way as children, who, for example, may jump on a desk or climb the walls. Through maturity and years of practice with managing their symptoms, adults are better able to hide their impulsive and hyperactive feelings.

Instead, Frank says, the hyperactivity seems to go underground and present as a feeling of inner restlessness, trouble relaxing or sitting still, and fidgeting.


  • ADHD is a highly genetic, brain-based biological syndrome, says Frank. The majority of those who suffer from this condition have close relatives with ADHD. Multiple research studies have shown various alterations in the brain images of ADHD patients. Currently, scientists are trying to discover which two genes cause ADHD.
  • While both sexes can have ADHD, women are more prone to the Inattentive type whereas males are more likely to be diagnosed with the Hyperactive/Impulsive classification.

Which Terminology Will You Use

ADD vs ADHD: Whats the Difference? · Mango Clinic

Some people with ADHD find that their symptoms reflect a mix from both the inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive types â leading to a diagnosis of combined type ADHD. This is the most common presentation of ADHD.

While ADHD has these distinct subtypes or presentations, people with ADHD can show any number or combination of these symptoms throughout their lifetime. As for the terminology, “ADHD” is the official name – but depending on your diagnosis, maybe you feel âADDâ suits you better.

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Difference Between Add And Adhd

Theres much confusion regarding the difference between ADD and ADHD. Basically, ADD is an old term. For many years, ADD was used to define a type of ADHD. But of course, it hasnt been a definite diagnosis for decades.

We have received many Emails in which we are requested to clear the difference between them as they arent sure if ADD and ADHD are the same. If youre one of those unaware people, then this article is for you. So, read this article carefully to know the difference between ADD and ADHD.

Before 1994, it was diagnosed with ADD but at present, the formal and prescribed diagnosis is ADHD, Mostly Inattentive Type. ADD is a type of ADHD that doesnt consist of continuous movement and fidgeting.

Symptoms In Kids Vs Teens Vs Adults

While symptoms of the condition are similar in kids, teens, and adults, they may also change over time. Children may be more likely to be affected by symptoms of hyperactivity. These symptoms may become more noticeable and disruptive when children are in classroom settings.

While symptoms change as people grow older, teens and adults are likely to continue to experience symptoms such as poor attention, difficultly remembering information, and troubles with organization.

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Add And Adhd Subtypes And Presentations

The subtypes of ADHD introduced in 1994 were:

  • Impulsive and hyperactive ADHD: May include difficulty with organization, paying attention, or listening
  • Inattentive and distractible ADHD : May include difficulty being still, waiting, or remaining quiet
  • Combined ADHD: Includes both impulsive and hyperactive ADHD and inattentive and distractible ADHD, and is the most common type of ADHD.

In 2013, the ADHD “subtypes” were changed to “presentations.” This means that instead of being diagnosed with a specific type of ADHD, people are diagnosed with ADHD and the way in which they have ADHD.

Whats The Difference Between Add And Adhd Follow

What Is The Difference Between ADD And ADHD? (Dr Richard Abbey)

Difference between ADD and ADHD

If youve spent any time exploring attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, youve likely seen ADD used interchangeably with ADHD. While these two terms have been used in the past to describe the same condition, they arent technically the same thing.

In fact, anyone who has been diagnosed with ADHD will tell you they don’t necessarily have the same symptoms as others. Dont assume everyone will act the same, nor will they have the same experiences. The subtle distinctions make a world of difference to the person living with ADHD.

Lets take a closer look at what the term ADHD means and the differences between ADD and ADHD.

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What Are Symptoms Of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder In Adults

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults is associated with an ongoing pattern of inattention, hyperactivity, and/or impulsivity that can interfere significantly with a persons activities and relationships.

Symptoms of inattention may include:

  • Difficulty paying close attention to details
  • Making seemingly careless mistakes
  • Problems maintaining attention for lengthy tasks
  • Challenges listening closely when spoken to directly
  • Difficulty following instructions and finishing work
  • Difficulty organizing tasks and managing time
  • Losing everyday things such as keys, wallets, and phones
  • Being easily distracted by unrelated thoughts or stimuli
  • Forgetfulness of routine activities, such as bill paying, keeping appointments, or returning calls

Symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity may include:

  • Extreme restlessness, difficulty sitting still for extended periods
  • Fidgeting or squirming
  • Inability to quietly engage in activities
  • Excessive talking

Whats The Difference Between Add And Adhd

Most people are familiar with the terms attention-deficit disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder , but with only one word differentiating the two, it can be difficult to understand the distinction. Does the latter simply include an extra symptom? The truth is a little more complicated.

The dichotomy between these terms is a false one. The term ADD is outdated, and what were traditionally seen as separate conditions are now subtypes of the same one. However, there are other, better ways to categorize variations of ADHD. Lets explore ADHD, a brief history of these terms, and the way its subtypes are now categorized.

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Adhd Vs Anxiety: Whats The Difference

The difference between ADHD and anxiety ultimately comes down to whether or not the individual is not focused because of fearful, apprehensive thoughts, or is not focused because of being easily distracted even though their mind is calm.

In sum, children with generalized anxiety disorders will have poor focus because their minds are dominated by anxious, worrisome thoughts. Their anxiety can permeate all academic assignments.

In contrast, an inattentive ADHD childs mind can be quiet, but easily distracted, which results in their inattention. They may only show anxiety sometimes about a specific academic task or challenge.

A thorough clinical history is important in helping differentiate the cause of the inattention and evaluating if it may be primarily an anxiety disorder.

Below are some important questions to ask when attempting to make a diagnosis.

What Is Inattentive Adhd

Pin on ADHD

Inattentive ADHD is too often dismissed as spacey, apathetic behavior in children, or misdiagnosed as a mood disorder or anxiety in adults. People with this form of ADHD often lose focus, are forgetful, and seem to have trouble listening. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-V , six of the following symptoms must be present and causing a severe impact at school or work to merit a diagnosis.

  • Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes
  • Often has difficulty sustaining attention
  • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to
  • Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish projects
  • Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
  • Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort
  • Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities
  • Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
  • Is often forgetful in daily activities

Recognizing inattentive ADHD is key to preventing a lifetime of low self esteem and shame.

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Is There A Difference Between Add And Adhd In Behavioral Therapy Treatment

No matter what you call them, all three presentations of ADHD are treatable through the standard techniques of applied behavior analysis. Since ADD is just a subset of what we call ADHD today, theres no real difference in treatments between the two.

In fact, ABA therapy for ADD and ADHD is one of the few scientifically proven treatments available. According to the Clinical Psychology Review, behavioral therapy should be the first choice for treatment in mild cases or in preschool age children. Catching the disorder early and applying consistent and effective behavioral therapies can keep cases from getting to the point where medication becomes necessary.

There are plenty of tools in the ABA toolbox to handle ADHD, but some of the more common therapies used are:

  • Discrete Trial Training DTT uses drills to model appropriate behaviors, breaking down troubling behaviors into a sequence of more manageable components and reinforcing them piece by piece.
  • Self-management Training Typically used with older ADHD patients, this emphasizes using self-praise and other internal feedback techniques to calm the impulses they experience and even out behaviors.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy A hybrid of behavioral and psychotherapy techniques, this kind of treatment can be used one-on-one or in group settings to encourage patients to self-assess and self-regulate.

The Difference Between Add & Adhd

May 11, 2021 by Annette Hunt

When searching for information on mental health issues, youll find attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder lumped together. In fact, youll often read ADD/ADHD. So its easy to see why people get confused.

Before we talk about the differences, its worth it to take a brief historical look at attention deficit disorder to get an idea of how the term came about.

The diagnostic system of psychiatric disorders is relatively young, having been adopted back in 1980. Before that, the term that doctors used to describe hyperactive and inattentive children was Hyperkinetic Disorder of Childhood.

Then a new publication of the psychiatric diagnostic reference, called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 3rd Edition , came out in 1980 and the terms attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and attention deficit disorder without hyperactivity were formalized.

So What are the Real Differences Between ADHD and ADD?

The real difference between ADD and ADHD is who is diagnosing the person and which terminology they prefer to use. For example, the term Attention Deficit Disorder is shorter and easier to say and write. It is often used by people, as well as medical professionals, as a shorthand version of the full-blown Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

That being said, ADD is often used as a shorthand to describe the inattentive type of ADHD.

I know, it can definitely be confusing!


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Is It Anxiety Or Adhd

To further help distinguish between ADD and anxiety, below are some baseline questions that should be asked:

  • Is your child a worrier? Ask your child if he/she has worries that will not go away regardless of what they do. Ask your child if worries make it hard for him/her to do things they want to do.
  • Is your child shy?
  • Ask your child if there are things that make them very scared when they think about them.
  • Is your child anxious about going to school or do they even feel homesick at school?
  • Does your child become anxious or irritated if they have to leave the house?
  • Is there a family history of anxiety?
  • Does either parent suffer from anxiety?

These are essential questions to answer in determining a proper diagnosis, then developing an effective treatment plan for the child or adolescent experiencing problematic symptoms. If the anxiety symptoms are very troublesome and if there is a family history of anxiety, then the child probably should be treated for the anxiety symptoms first.

Then, when the anxiety symptoms are reduced or resolved and the child still has inattentive symptoms interfering with school, ADHD treatment can follow. If the anxiety symptoms are mild, but the inattentive symptoms are prominent, then treatment should be provided the other way around, with ADHD treatment offered first.

Can A Person Grow Out Of Adhd

The Difference Between ADD & ADHD, The 3 Subtypes, and Getting an ADHD Diagnosis

No. As mentioned earlier, ADHD is a brain-based biological syndrome. Its highly genetic, which means you wont get it from eating too many sweets, bad parenting or playing too many video games . Nor can a person outgrow the condition.

While some people notice a great improvement in symptoms as they age , those who suffer from ADHD will still experience similar feelings or challenges internally, says Frank.

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition. That means part of the disorder is tied in with how the brain ages. The ADHD brain matures a bit later than neurotypical brains. As a result, some people with ADHD see improvement as they progress through their 20s, Frank explains. They learn how to compensate for their challenges over the years.

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What People Mean By Add

The difference between the terms ADD and ADHD has to do with symptoms. ADHD has three main symptoms:

Most people with ADHD struggle in all three areas. But some mainly have trouble with attention, or focus. Before 1994, they would have been diagnosed with ADD . Today, the formal diagnosis is ADHD, Predominantly Inattentive Type.

There are other terms people use to refer to this type of ADHD. You might hear:

  • ADHD without hyperactivity
  • Inattentive ADHD

All of these terms mean the same thing ADHD when the main symptom is inattention.

When kids with ADHD mostly struggle with attention, their challenges arent always recognized. They may just come across as shy, daydreamy, or off in their own world. But trouble with focus impacts kids in lots of ways.

They might not follow through on projects or have trouble following directions. Its often hard for them to sift through information and know whats important and what isnt. They may be easily distracted and seem forgetful or careless.

What Are The Differences Between Add & Adhd

Image by Tara Winstead,

While ADD is no longer an official term used, many people still refer to their condition as ADD and many doctors recognise the term as referring to the inattentive presentation, and will recognise ADHD as referring to the hyperactive-impulsive or combined presentation. All presentations of ADHD are similar and are diagnosed based on the individuals difficulty with focus and attention. However, there are key differences between the presentations:People the predominantly inattentive presentation of ADHD may:

  • Have difficulty organising their work and time
  • Become easily distracted
  • Forget to complete important tasks
  • Frequently lose their belongings
  • Struggle to complete tasks that do not interest them
  • Struggle to focus on schoolwork, chores, or work tasks
  • Experience difficulty following directions
  • Drive very fast

People with the combined presentation of ADHD may experience a combination of the above traits, and these may change as people move from childhood to adulthood.

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So What Is The Real Difference Between Add And Adhd

Technically there is no difference between ADD and ADHD. It simply comes down to a specifier to determine the type.

Basically, the real difference between ADD and HDHD is who is diagnosing the person and which terminology they prefer to use. To put it simply, the age of the person who is evaluating the client.

For example the term Attention Deficit Disorder is shorter and easier to say and write. It is often used by people, as well as medical professionals, as a shorthand version of the full blown Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. And clinicians that have been around for a while!

To be clear, and technically speaking, there is no longer is an official Attention Deficit Disorder diagnosis. Today it is simply known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder , with a specifier made to indicate the actual type of ADHD that individual suffers from: inattentive type, hyperactivity impulsive type, or a combination type.

That being said, ADD is often used as a shorthand to describe the inattentive type of ADHD.

Pretty confusing, huh? Therapists like all those acronyms and letters and initials. It makes us sound smarter and more believable doesnt it?

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