8 Minutes

October 25, 2021 by THE BALANCE
Fact checked

ADD and ADHD, are the same or different? Yes, they are different and their difference is more important than you think. ADD and ADHD  both are disorders that can impact a child or adult’s life(though children have a high rate of diagnosis). ADD and ADHD do have symptoms in common but they are not the same thing.  ADD is a kind of ADHD that does not include fidgeting or continual movement. However, the line between the two is unclear. There is a lot more to know to clearly distinguish between ADD and ADHD, all of which are explained below.

ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood, but it can also affect adults. Emotions, habits, and the ability to learn new things can all be affected all can be affected ADHD. 

There are three different forms of ADHD:

  • Type of inattentiveness (the type most commonly referred to as ADD)
  • Hyperactive/impulsive type
  •  Combined (hyperactivity, and impulsivity)

ADD is a subtype and an outdated term for ADHD. A person with ADD (inattentive ADHD) has adequate signs of inattention (or easy distraction) but is not hyperactive or impulsive. In contrast, those with hyperactive/impulsive ADHD have a pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with their ability to function and develop.

Attention deficit disorder (ADD) is a name previously used for ADHD. Previously, the phrase attention deficit disorder was used to describe someone who had difficulty focusing but was not hyperactive. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) was published by the American Psychiatric Association in May 2013. The DSM-5 redefined the criteria for diagnosing this condition. Now, the term ADD is replaced by ADHD and further classified into different categories or sub-types.

Types

1. Inattentive type

When the term ADD is used, it usually refers to inattentive ADHD. This indicates that a person exhibits adequate signs of inattention (or easy distractibility) yet is not hyperactive or impulsive.

2. Hyperactive/impulsive type

When a person exhibits hyperactivity and impulsivity but not inattention, they are diagnosed with this type.

3. Combined

When a person displays signs of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, they are diagnosed with combined ADHD.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is not just a childhood condition; 30 percent to 70 percent of children with ADHD continue to have symptoms as adults. Furthermore, adults who were never identified as children may have more evident symptoms later in life, causing problems at work or in relationships. Many individuals are unaware that they have ADHD, leaving them perplexed as to why their ambitions appear to elude them.

Best ADHD Treatment

Adults with ADHD have a slightly different pattern than children. Adults may be frequently late for work or significant occasions. Adults may recognize that their tardiness is causing them to fall short of their goals, yet they just can’t seem to get on time. Adults with ADHD may struggle to prioritize, begin, and complete tasks. They are unorganized, agitated, and easily distracted. When it comes to reading, some persons with ADHD have difficulty concentrating. Careers, goals, and relationships can all be derailed by an inability to stay focused and complete tasks. Self-control issues are common in adults with ADHD. This can result in:

  • Controlling rage is difficult.
  • impulsive actions
  • Having an outburst of obscene or offensive ideas

You may have heard the words attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) used interchangeably. Attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are the same things; the only difference is that ADHD has gone by various names over the previous three decades. This is because when more research is conducted, information grows, and the term has been modified to reflect that knowledge.

When people learn that ADD and ADHD are the same things, they can become upset or frustrated. They believe that the letter “H,” which stands for hyperactivity, does not adequately characterize themselves or their child. Understanding how the name has changed through time can be beneficial.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) of the American Psychiatric Association is used by healthcare providers to diagnose ADHD. This diagnostic criterion ensures that persons with ADHD are properly recognized and treated. Using the same criterion across areas can also aid in determining how many children suffer from ADHD and how this issue affects public health.

Below are the criteria for each type of ADHD according to DSM-V.

Inattention

 Six or more symptoms of inattention for children under the age of sixteen, or five or more symptoms for adolescents and adults aged seventeen and above; signs of inattention have been present for at least six months, and they are inappropriate for developmental level:

  • In schoolwork, at work, or in other pursuits, he or she frequently fails to pay close attention to details or makes careless blunders.
  • Frequently struggles to maintain focus on chores or recreational activities.
  • When spoken to directly, he frequently does not appear to listen.
  • Frequently ignores directions and fails to complete schooling, chores, or workplace responsibilities (e.g., loses focus, side-tracked).
  • Has a hard time keeping track of tasks and activities.
  • Frequently avoids, hates, or is hesitant to accomplish tasks that demand sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework).
  • Frequently misplaces items required for chores and activities (e.g. school materials, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, mobile telephones).
  • Is prone to being distracted
  • In regular activities, he is prone to forgetfulness.

Hyperactivity and Impulsivity

Six or more symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity in children under the age of 16, or five or more symptoms in adolescents and adults aged 17 years and older; symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have been present for at least six months and are disruptive and inappropriate for the person’s developmental level:

  • Frequently fidgets or taps his or her hands or feet, or squirms in his or her seat.
  • In instances where staying seated is anticipated, he frequently departs his seat.
  • Frequently runs or climbs in places where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may be limited to feeling restless).
  • Frequently unable to play or participate in leisure activities in silence.
  • Is frequently “on the go,” as if “propelled by a motor.”
  • Frequently speaks incessantly.
  • Frequently answers before the question has been fully answered.
  • Has a hard time waiting their turn.
  • Interrupts or intrudes on others frequently (e.g., butts into conversations or games)

Adults with ADHD

ADHD is a condition that can endure well into adulthood. Only five symptoms are required to diagnose ADHD in adults and adolescents aged 17 or older, as opposed to the six required in younger children. At a later age, the symptoms may take on a different appearance. Adult hyperactivity, for example, can manifest as severe restlessness or tiring others out with their energy.

A person with ADHD combined type has symptoms of both inattention and hyperactivity. ADD is an older name of the inattentive type. According, to the current diagnostic criteria a person can have symptoms of hyperactivity and inattentiveness at the same time in ADHD-combined time. 

Although ADHD cannot be cured, many of the symptoms that impair functioning and cause distress can be managed with a combination of medication (including Concerta, Ritalin, Adderall, and Vyvanse) and psychosocial counseling. Calendars, planners, task organizers, and timers are examples of organization aids that can help persons with ADHD perform better.

Therapies For ADHD

Psychoeducation

You or your child will be encouraged to talk about ADHD and its implications through psychoeducation. It can assist children, teenagers, and adults in making sense of their ADHD diagnosis, as well as coping and living with the disease.

Behavior Therapy

Behavior therapy, which may include teachers as well as parents, provides support for caregivers of children with ADHD. Behavior management is a type of behavior therapy that uses a reward system to encourage your child to try to control their ADHD.

Parent training and education programs

It’s not that you’ve been a horrible parent if you’ve been offered a parent training and education program; it’s designed to teach parents and caregivers about behavior management while improving confidence in their capacity to help their children and enhance their relationship.

Training in social skills

Social skills training is you or your child participating in role-playing scenarios to teach them how to act in social circumstances by observing how their actions influence others.

Other Approaches

Diet

ADHD sufferers should consume a well-balanced diet. Do not eliminate foods without first consulting a doctor.

Some people may notice a correlation between the foods they eat and the severity of their ADHD symptoms. If this is the case, keep a journal of what you eat and drink, as well as your subsequent behavior. Consult your doctor, who may send you to a dietician (a healthcare professional who specializes in nutrition).

Supplements

 Some research has shown that omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid supplements may be beneficial for people with ADHD, while there is little evidence to back this up.

Before taking any supplements, consult your doctor because some can interact with medications in unpredictable ways or make them less effective.

You should also keep in mind that some supplements should not be taken for an extended period of time since they can build up to harmful levels in your body.

While ADHD can be a lifetime battle, recognizing it early in infancy allows a child to have a head start on learning to live with and control their symptoms, and in some cases, totally eliminate them. 

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