ADHD Vs ADD: What’s The Difference Between ADHD And ADD?

While reading about various mental health issues, you might get confused with the terms ADHD and ADD. Well, how cannot someone get confused and mix-up these two, after all, they are very similar. That similarity makes us want to say that ADD gave birth to ADHD. Yes, ADHD is ADD but with added symptoms. Let’s read more about ADD vs. ADHD


ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder which is one of the most common mental health issues in children. This term is very broad and the symptoms vary from individual to individual. In the United states, the estimated number of children going through this disorder is 6.4 million, as per the centers for disease control and prevention. 

However, this condition is sometimes referred to as ADD or attention deficit disorder. To your knowledge, this term is not used anymore as more evaluations have been made. 

The term “ADD” was once referred to those people who faced problems while focusing on one thing but were not certainly hyperactive. Now you can see the difference between both the terms. 

In May 2013, The American Psychiatric Association released the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders changed the criteria for ADD. The new rule was to refer anyone with ADD as ADHD. 

Let’s know more about ADHD or the newly coined term for ADD. 

What are the types of ADHD? 

Difference Between ADHD And ADD

There are only three types of ADHD known to the world, which are:

  • Inattentive ADHD

Inattentive ADHD is used one referred to the signs and symptoms of the old term ADD. This means that the person diagnosed with inattentive ADHD has enough symptoms of inattention or being easily distracted. But they are not certainly impulsive or hyperactive in any case. 

  • Impulsive/hyperactive ADHD 

Now after adding these two adjectives to ADD, it was changed to ADHD. It must be clear that the person who is diagnosed with hyperactive ADHD is the one who carries the symptoms of being impulsive or hyperactive. 

  • Combined 

Well, it is clear the person who is diagnosed with combined ADHD, has the symptoms of both attentivity and hyperactivity. 

Now let’s get deeper into these terms

Difference Between ADHD And ADD

Well, we all go through this sometimes. There are even people who are inattentive or face trouble while focusing almost every time. According to an expert, a child is diagnosed as inattentive when he or she: 

  1. Gets easily distracted 
  2. Loses focus or is easily side-tracked
  3. Has trouble with organization
  4. Dislikes and avoids tasks that require long periods of mental efforts, such as homework
  5. Loses vital things needed for tasks and activities
  6. Has trouble keeping attention on tasks or activities
  7. Ignores a speaker, even when spoken to directly
  8. Is not able to follow instructions
  9. Fails to finish schoolwork or assignments
  10.  Is forgetful, even in daily activities
  11.  Is unable to give close attention to rules and regulations in schoolwork or other activities and makes careless mistakes
Impulsivity and hyperactivity 

A child might get diagnosed with hyperactivity or impulsivity when he or she:

  1. Runs around or gets into inappropriate situations
  2. Speaks out an answer before someone finishes asking a question
  3. Intrudes on and interrupts others constantly 
  4. Is unable to play quietly or take part in pastime activities
  5. Has severe difficulty waiting for their turn
  6. Squirms in their seat tap their hands or feet, or fidgets
  7. Gets up from a seat when not asked for the same
  8. Appears to be always on the go
  9. Talks unnecessarily 

Other symptoms 

The most important symptoms for diagnosing someone with ADHD are hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. Along with the mains, there are other symptoms too which an adult or child should match to be diagnosed with ADHD. That is:

  1. Most of the symptoms must be displayed by the age of 12.
  2. He or she must show clear evidence that the symptoms interfere with their functioning at school, work, or in social situations.
  3. They face symptoms in more than one setting, such as school, at home, with friends, or during other activities.
  4. They face symptoms in more than one setting, such as school, at home, with friends, or during other activities.

Symptoms of ADHD in adults 

As compared to children, ADHD affects less of the adults, about 2.5 percent. Children with unattended ADHD later enter adulthood but face somewhat similar symptoms, which are as under:

  1. Hyperfocus

A study was conducted in 2020, where the adults who had ADHD were easily distracted. This condition is often referred to as hyperfocus. 

A person having this symptom can get that occupied where he becomes unaware of what is happening around them. Thus, they can easily lose the track of time and can even leave the person in front of them unattended. 

  1. Lack of focus 

Well, this symptom is somewhat similar to the others. But here, the person finds it difficult to pay attention to someone and something. This can also mean that:

  • Unknowingly overlooking details
  • not completing tasks or projects
  • finding it hard to listen to others in a conversation
  1. Time management concern

These people find it hard to manage their time. They mostly end up procrastinating on tasks, ignoring work in which they are uninterested, or even showing up late for events. 

  1. Disorganized 

Well, this quality lies in most of us, but in people with ADHD, it is a little bit more. Like they find it difficult to keep things in the right place all the time or even lack in organizing.

  1. Impulsivity 

When a person is impulsive, they tend to interrupt in between conversations, find themselves socially inappropriate, rush while doing a task, and act without giving a thought. 

The bottom line 

Some other symptoms that can be found in adults dealing with ADHD are being forgetful, having huge emotional concerns, giving negative views to their character, dealing with lack of motivation, being fatigues, feeling restless and anxious most of the time, and having relationship concerns too. 

ADHD in children, as well as adults, is to be treated at home as well as through medication. Now you must have got a view of the difference between ADHD and ADD, which is not much. 

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