There is a lot of confusion out there regarding Attention Deficit Disorder. In particular, there is a lot of confusion about what it is like to have ADD. The truth is, that it is a little bit different for everyone. This can be especially true for the differences between Adult ADD and Child ADD. Just like there are different kinds of OCD (hand washing, repeating words, etc…) there are different kinds of ADD/ADHD. The whole ADD vs. ADHD thing illustrates this point. ADD is the older term and it stands, of course, for Attention Deficit Disorder. ADHD stands for Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, and is the technically correct term according to the DSM V which is the official diagnostic manual.
Types of Attention Deficit Disorder
The catch is that some people have hyperactivity and some people do not. In fact, the DSM-V lists 3 types of ADD. One is the most commonly known which is with Hyperactivity. Another type is called Passive and is the opposite of hyperactivity (paying so little attention as to not bother moving around). The third type is a combo of the two or hybrid type. Inside each of these “types” is a real person, and since people are individuals it can be a little different for everybody.
Think about it this way: Two people both have Type-II Diabetes. Does this mean that they will both have the same dose of insulin? Does this mean that they will both have to take it at the same time each day? Does this mean that the exact same amount of the wrong food will cause the same reaction? Of course not.
Both Adult ADD and Child ADD are the same way. For some it can be overwhelming. For others, it can be less.
What Is It Like to Have ADD?
So, what is it like? The easiest way to explain adult ADD is like this:
Think back to a morning where things just were a little bit crazy and your brain was a little big foggy. You woke up, hit the snooze button too many times, got into the shower, and by the time you got out, you were already running so late that it was almost impossible to get to work on time. So, you ran through your morning as fast as you could and cut out the things that weren’t important like making coffee or getting the paper. But, since you didn’t make coffee, you forgot to start the dishwasher because you didn’t go out into the kitchen and be reminded by the pile in the sink. You forgot to put out the recycling because you didn’t go out front and get the paper and see the neighbor’s bins beside the street like you usually do.
The crazy morning probably threw off even more of your day. You got in a little late so you didn’t get a reminder about the staff meeting. You felt “off” because you didn’t have your coffee and you were still a little bit “buzzy” from the frantic rushing around.
By the end of the day, you were just glad to get home, kick off your shoes and watch some T.V. to relax. By the time you went to bed, everything was back to normal, and you thought to yourself, “Whew! I’m glad that day is over.”
Want to know what having ADD is like? It’s like having that day, all day, everyday. Only, when you have ADD sometimes stuff doesn’t go as planned for you either. So if your day already is that scattered, frantic, run-around, day and then things start to go wrong, imagine what your day becomes.
That’s what it is like to have ADD/ADHD.