ADD/ADHD is a condition that affects millions of Americans. Basically, a neurological process which is not completely understood causes the person with ADD to have greater difficulty with certain mental processes including sustaining focus. ADHD is recognized in the official DSM-IV manual as having three variants. These types are Attention Deficit Disorder, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type (the most commonly known), Attention Deficit Disorder, Predominantly Inattentive Type (less well known), and a hybrid or combination of the two.
ADHD cannot be developed or caught from another person. In order to be properly diagnosed as ADHD, the symptoms must be exhibited from childhood. This can be tricky, however, because only hyperactivity is likely to be noticed and acted upon by adults. Many of ADHD’s actual symptoms are internal and not easily recognizable, particularly to a child who doesn’t have a long period of reference as to what is “standard.”
What Is The Difference Between ADD and ADHD?
One of the most common questions about ADHD is, what is the difference between ADD and ADHD.
The ignorant individual might point out that the ‘H’ in ADHD stands for hyperactivity. Therefore, ADD is attention deficit disorder and ADHD is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In other words, ADHD is basically just ADD with hyperactivity added.
While the ‘h’ does indeed stand for hyperactivity in the abbreviation ADHD, there is NO DIFFERENCE between ADD and ADHD at all.
Technically, there is no such thing as ADD or attention deficit disorder anymore.
The officially diganostic manual of all things related to mental health is a big medical volume that goes by the name DSM. There is more than one edition of the DSM as they update it from time to time in order to keep up with modern medical knowledge. The current version of the DSM is the fifth edition, more commonly known as DSM-V.
When the DSM-V came out there was a concern that too many people, particularly children, were being misdiagnosed when what they really had was ADD or a variant thereof. The problem is that when your average shrink goes and does a bit of research to see if maybe there is something new out there since they last went to medical school, or whatever, they tend to search based upon the major symptoms. If you try the same thing on a medical website, you will see that this is not a precise operation and that there will be many false matches no matter how carefully you try and craft your search. I often joke that I no longer search WebMD when I am sick, because it keeps telling me I have LUPUS.
(Lupus is no laughing matter. Unfortunately, it is such a bad condition that it can cause pretty much every kind of problem there is when it comes to the human body. So, when you search for headaches, fever, muscle pains, and the like, chances are Lupus is a match, even though it is very likely that you do not have it.)
Like you and me, a doctor scans the medical results based upon their search of symptoms for likely matches and skips over those that look like they are not good matches.
When the DSM-V was being written, ADD was not commonly known among the public or within the mental health community. So, when a helpful therapist was looking for what might be causing an otherwise bright, likable, energetic boy to act out in school, they were typing in “hyperactivity”. However, when Attention Deficit Disorder showed up in the results, they were skipping over it, likely because in all the time they worked with the patient, the subject of attention and distraction never came up. So, they were missing the chance to read the correct diagnosis.
To stop this from happening, the official name of was changed in the DSM to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder so that when that same therapist searched on hyperactive, they would see that name and think, maybe I should check this out.
Today, there is enough awareness that the H is no longer necessary, but they don’t like to go changing the names all of the time either. Instead, they have simply added “variants” to the current title.
So, there is only ADHD. There is no ADD.
Why Does This Website Switch Between ADHD and ADD In Every Webpage?
You can blame the guys at the search engines. Most visitors find this website for the first time via a Google search or Bing search or even a Yahoo search. All of these websites rank their results based on how well they “match” the search input into the box.
Believe it or not, searching for ADD tips will give you different results than searching for ADHD tips, and it will very much affect the order in which they are displayed. In other words, if I only used the term “ADHD” on my website, as is correct, I would almost never show up for people who search for “ADD.” And, since a lot of the people who need the help that this website provides for ADDers don’t already know everything there is to know about ADD/ADHD they just might be searching using the old term.
By alternating between the two, and including spelling out the attention deficit disorder phrases (and alternating them too), the chances of the right people finding this page at the right time is greatly increased.
So, please ignore the changing terms and just read whatever sounds right in your head. This site is here to help, not make you use one acronym or another.