Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD) have been used interchangeably by many people which often leads to a lot of misunderstanding. Remember that technically speaking, both of them do not refer to the same thing. However, there is a difference between ADD and ADHD. Each of these brain disorders has specific signs and symptoms.
We all know that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is one of the most common disorders among children when it comes to their mental state. As a matter of fact, the estimated number of children diagnosed with ADHD in the United States alone is around 6.4 million according to the data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But what about ADD? That is what we are going to find out in this article.
What Is The Difference Between ADD And ADHD?
While both ADD and ADHD are brain-related conditions that can affect the person’s ability to keep his or her focus on things such as school work, social relationships and daily routines like dressing and eating, there is a significant difference between the two.
Before delving into their differences, it is first vital to note that ADD is one of the three subtypes of ADHD. This means that ADD falls under the category of ADHD, and thus, is an ADHD ailment in itself. ADD has been referred to by its formal name by many doctors since 1994: ADHD, predominantly inattentive type. Meanwhile, the other two ADHD subtypes are ADHD, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type, and ADHD, combined type.
Children with the inattentive type of ADHD otherwise referred to as ADD, are best differentiated from ADHD hyperactive-impulsive type due to its quiet nature. Kids with ADD may not be bursting with energy and stamina as in children with ADHD problems who are rambunctious and often disrupt the class and other gatherings.
ADD children also often tend to daydream and enter their own dreamland rather than make noises and get uncontrollably loud. ADD-affected children are also often shy and would just stay in the corner of the room.
Though kids with ADD may appear to be not listening to you, it might be the other way around. ADD patients are listening very intently to what you are saying. However, they cannot just filter out the important information from the other non-important stuff. While this may become a sort of irritant and annoy you, please do remember that this condition is also very frustrating for your child.
Similarities Of ADD and ADHD
The difference between ADD and ADHD may be restricted to what’s described above. However, there are also some other similarities that both of them share, especially when you take into consideration that both are attention-based problems. The children with ADD also have the same problem like difficulty in finishing tasks or following certain directions as their ADHD counterparts. ADD children are somewhat sluggish and are slow to process and respond to information. They cannot quickly identify relevant information from non-irrelevant stuff which makes parents, teachers and other adults misconstrue them as being stubborn or not paying attention at all.
Both ADD and ADHD patients also appear to be distracted most of the time and always forget things. They act with carelessness over a lot of things as well.
Since symptoms of ADD are not always as loud as the symptoms of ADHD, this disorder is often overlooked and remains undiagnosed.
3 Primary Symptoms Of ADD And ADHD
Despite the differences, there are three primary symptoms of ADHD in general, and these are:
With each sign, a child must meet several criteria for him to be diagnosed with the disease. The criteria which he needs to meet for ADHD diagnosis differs with age. Children who are 16 and below must exhibit six or more symptoms under the three primary categories, while those who are aged 17 and above require only 5.
The symptoms must also be present for at least six months and should be found to be abnormal behavior among the child’s peers.
Severity Of Symptoms
Symptoms of both ADD and ADHD may range from mild to severe depending on the physiological and environmental factors that contribute to the general well-being of the person. Some people may experience slight inattentiveness and may become hyperactive when they do tasks that they find boring or unenjoyable. However, these people can still focus on doing tasks that they love to do.
Other people, on the opposite side of the scale, may experience symptoms that are more severe and which lead them to be unproductive members of the society and may lead to negative effects on their personal relationships as well.
Other conditions such as a sense of anxiety and depression, learning disabilities, and unstructured group situations may also lead to worse symptoms as well. Some symptoms are believed to go away as the child matures, while some will persist.
Treatment For ADD and ADHD
Good news! There are a good prognosis and outlook for getting the right treatment as soon as you correctly determine the subtype of ADHD. Are you included in the ADD group? Or perhaps you enjoy being rowdyish all the time and belong to the hyperactive ADHD group? Or you may also be a mixture of both, where periods of ADD overlaps with periods of ADHD attacks?
Whichever of the three you think you are suffering from, it is important that you know the correct diagnosis to ensure proper treatment. You need to be given proper treatment to help you cope with your disorder. Make sure that you are discussing everything with your doctor as an accurate diagnosis is the first step to successful treatment.
No matter which type of ADHD your child has, the treatment and medication mostly remain the same. Stimulants are usually given because they have positive effects on the children. Moreover, behavioral modifications and therapies are also given to help children. And their support groups manage the symptoms correctly no matter what the range of severity.