What is the Difference Between ADD and ADHD?

What is the Difference Between ADD and ADHD?

Copyright (c) 2010 Jacqueline Sinfield

ADD and ADHD are very often used interchangeably and it can get a little confusing. However, it is really a question of terminology. Over the years as more is learned about ADHD (the current official term) the name has changed to reflect the most recent findings.

In 1980 ADD was the term used to describe someone who had Attention Deficit Disorder and ADHD was the term used to describe a person who has Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Prior to 1980, ADHD was of course present but was called a wide range of things, most of which would be considered highly insulting if they were used today.

Then in 1987 ADHD became official term for anyone who was diagnosised with what was previously ADD and ADHD. It was at this time that American Psychiatric Associated stated that ADHD was a medical diagnosis (rather than psychological) that could cause behavioural issues. In the 1994 publication of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV) The National Institute of Mental Health, (or NIMH) stated that the definition of ADHD is a “Disruptive Behaviour Disorder” where high levels of inattention, hyperactivity or a combination are constantly present in an individual.

3 types ADHD have been identified, which are: ADHD-Predominantly Inattentive Type: Is characterized by mainly inattention, and so people have problems focusing, completing tasks, are easily distracted and seem forgetful, disorganized and careless.

ADHD-Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type: Is characterized mainly by hyperactivity and impulsivity. Paying attention is not a major problem. However, they seem to act and speak before thinking, have lots of energy and always on the go.

ADHD-Combined Type: In this instance characteristics on both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsivity are present. To conclude, ADD and ADHD describe the same condition but ADHD is currently the official and most up to date term.

When someone is diagnosed with ADHD they are tested to find out if they have a certain cluster of characters or traits.

Those traits are traits that anyone can experience periodically. For example, inability to concentrate, trouble thinking clearly, lack of organizing in the physical environment, poor managing time, procrastination, feeling overwhelmed and constantly behind, poor memory and forgetfulness, problems with relationships and a general feeling that they aren’t living up to their potential.

But for a person with ADHD, it’s the amount of these traits that are present and the extent that they experience them. These traits are present to such an extent that they negatively affect their life.

Bottom line: Not everyone has ADHD, but lots of people, at times may experience some of things that people with ADHD do.

Jacqueline Sinfield is an ADHD coach and author of the book, Untapped Brilliance: How to Reach Your Full Potential as an Adult with ADHD. She has worked in the healthcare field for nearly twenty years. She has an Honors degree in Psychology and trained & worked as a nurse in England before moving to Montreal, Canada where she has her own private coaching practise. http://www.untappedbrilliance.com

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