To understand the differences between ADD and ADHD one must know what each denotes. Attention Deficit Disorder – ADD – is a distinct form of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder — ADHD – minus the hyperactivity element. And that one letter denotes a very distinct difference in diagnosis and treatment. Here is what you need to know about ADD and ADHD – how they differ and why it’s important to know the difference.
On the Surface
ADHD is a brain disorder that causes interference with focusing or normal functioning. Those who have been diagnosed with ADHD have markedly short attention spans and can exhibit extreme impulsivity – acting before thinking things through. There are actually three clinical versions of ADHD: the Predominantly Inattentive Type, the Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive type, and a combination of the two that presents as both hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive symptoms. On the other hand, those with ADD can be calm and serene – not in the least hyper. As a result, many with ADD are simply thought to be shy, quiet or pensive.
A person with ADHD will typically fidget and squirm in their seat, get up out of their chair at inappropriate times, talk excessively, and find it difficult waiting in line or for their turn. Those with ADHD are often found to be hyperactive to the point of being disruptive and rambunctious. They may find it difficult to follow through on tasks due to difficulties processing information or instructions when they are presented. Meanwhile, those with ADD, while usually creative, full of positive energy and intuitive, often are perceived as being independent to the point of persistent or stubborn.
The Benefits of Both
The most noticeable difference between ADD and ADHD is the hyperactivity portion and the exaggerated symptoms of hypomania they seem to always exhibit. That said, with encouragement, many with ADHD excel in sports or activities that allow for hyper-focus on activities they enjoy, such as working with technology or building things.
Those with ADD are usually charismatic by nature and are unusually sensitive but cover that with a sense of bravado while also being bighearted, generous and are garrulous with a typically off-the-wall sense of humor. It may seem that people with ADD are not listening to parents or teachers, but they are actually acutely aware and listening to everything in earshot and are usually overwhelmed with all the external stimuli. With proper guidance, many people with ADD go on to be leaders and entrepreneurs in their field of choice.
Treating the Conditions
ADHD can be hereditary; some factors that contribute to its development are genetics, social factors, and exposure to environmental toxins or poor diet. Special accommodations may be required at school, combined with family counseling and medications. Deciding the right treatment for ADD or ADHD is highly dependent on a case by case basis. As no two people are alike, neither are any two treatment plans. For some, medications may be in order; for others a change in diet or finding a school or workplace that better suits socialization or learning styles may serve well.
Either way, you will want to ensure you seek out a trusted caregiver to help you or your loved one achieve health, happiness and success. If you have a family member who displays symptoms associated with ADHD or ADD, it’s always good to get a second opinion. At Lynx Healthcare we are here to help. If you live in Washington, Oregon, or New Mexico consider reaching out to our family or psychiatric care specialists by requesting an appointment, calling us at (509) 591-0070 or chatting with us online.