Are ADHD and ADD the Same Thing?

ADHD and ADD have become part of our everyday language, but there was a time when people with attention disorders went undiagnosed and underserved. Once known as hyperkinetic impulse disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) became an official diagnosis in the 1960s. The terms ADHD and ADD are often used interchangeably, but are they actually the same condition? If not, what are the differences between ADD and ADHD?

The Difference between ADHD and ADD

ADD and ADHD are mostly identical, but there are some distinctions. Primarily, a person with attention deficit disorder (ADD) will not display the fidgeting behavior that someone with ADHD has. People with ADD and ADHD experience symptoms like:

  • Difficulty focusing or paying attention, even during important situations
  • Trouble staying on task
  • Changing subjects during a discussion
  • Getting distracted by noises and other events in the room
  • Not listening
  • Disorganization and messy habits
  • Daydreaming
  • Struggles in social settings and peer groups
  • Forgetting tasks during the day or missing appointments

A child with ADHD may have some or all of these symptoms, along with squirming movements, heightened energy levels, or a constant “on the go” attitude. ADD is now grouped with ADHD from a diagnostic standpoint, even though the conditions do have slight variations. Diagnoses may include:

  • ADHD primarily inattentive presentation (ADD)
  • ADHD primarily impulsive/hyperactive presentation (ADHD)
  • ADHD combined presentation (all three)
  • ADHD unspecified or other specified

For the sake of simplicity, all you need to know is that ADHD includes a hyperactive component, but both conditions can impact focus and function.

Does My Child Have ADD or ADHD? Do I Have ADHD?

The only way to definitively know if you or your child has ADD or ADHD is through psychological testing. One of our clinical psychologists can evaluate the symptoms, behaviors and responses to select questions to diagnose if you or your child has a mental health disorder, learning disability, behavioral disorder, or other condition. That diagnosis is the first step toward targeted treatment, including executive functions coaching, educational advocacy, academic accommodations, counseling, lifestyle changes, and other adaptations that can improve your child’s quality of life.

ADD and ADHD Treatment – What to Do after a Diagnosis

At CNLD Testing & Therapy, we focus on what’s next just as much as what is. We will guide you through life after an ADHD diagnosis to ensure you’re well equipped to help yourself or your child. Executive functions coaching is one of the most common treatments for ADD and ADHD. This process teaches self-regulation, how to control impulses, and how to recognize ADD and ADHD behaviors.

Each person has unique needs. We offer personalized, judgement-free solutions that are tailored to your family. You can work with our on-staff educational advocate to understand your options at school, and you can seek ADHD treatment with one of our licensed counselors. Contact us at (734) 994-9466 to schedule an appointment for ADHD psychological testing.