Many people talk about ADHD and ADD as if they are the exact same disorder. After all, both feature an extreme lack of focus and difficulty paying attention to SQUIRREL! -their surroundings. However, despite being used interchangeably, these are two different disorders that may require different methods of treatment.
What’s the difference between ADHD and ADD? How can you tell whether someone has one or the other? Here are the critical signs of each that you need to look out for.
What Is ADHD?
ADHD is an abbreviation for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. ADHD is one of the most common diagnoses given to children. This has led to endless debates in the medical and parenting communities about the disorder being overdiagnosed for behaviors that are normal for young children.
ADHD is more often diagnosed in boys than girls due to the hyperactivity component and the tendency for boys to act out more in the classroom than girls. However, girls also struggle with ADHD of the Inattentive variety, which we’ll discuss in further detail below.
Some common signs and symptoms of ADHD include:
- Excessive talking and nervous energy
- Blurting out answers and talking over others before they finish speaking
- Running around or bouncing where it’s not appropriate
- Easily becoming sidetracked and failing to pay attention to details
If these symptoms have proven a recurring theme since before the age of twelve, it may be time to consider speaking to a specialist like Dr. Ned Hallowell to see if you have ADHD.
What Is ADD?
ADD, short for Attention Deficit Disorder, is a now-outdated term used to refer to the Inattentive presentation of ADHD. In this presentation, children would not show the hyperactivity or impulsiveness characteristic of the classic vision of ADHD. Rather, they would seem unable to focus or pay attention, like they were dissociating or daydreaming.
Common symptoms of ADD/ADHD Inattentive Presentation include:
- Difficulty maintaining organization and keeping track of daily tasks
- A strong dislike for and avoidance of menial tasks that require sustained mental effort (e.g. homework, business, etc.)
- Consistent loss of vital items or information needed for tasks
- Ignoring a speaker, even once addressed directly
Since ADD is less likely to disturb a classroom than ADHD, it often goes undiagnosed for years. Some don’t even discover that they have it until adulthood.
What’s the Difference Between ADHD and ADD?
Now, let’s dive into a more direct comparison. What’s the difference between ADHD and ADD?
Put simply, ADD is an older way to refer to a subset of ADHD presentations. ADD sufferers will not have the same hyperactivity or impulsiveness as ADHD sufferers. ADHD is also far more likely to be diagnosed in childhood, where ADD can remain undiagnosed for years.
Looking for More Mental Health Insights?
Now that you understand the difference between ADHD and ADD, you may want to know more about how to live with one or both of these conditions. For answers to those mental health concerns and many more, visit our blog each day for more content like this!