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ADD vs ADHD: What Is The Difference?

By Dr. Emily Kensington

ADD vs ADHD: Is there a difference between the two disorders? There are differences between ADD and ADHD but the terms for ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) are often used interchangeably for the sake of simplicity.

The term ADD was used first, starting in 1980. In 1994, however, the American Psychiatric Association expanded the terminology as a result of expanded research and knowledge (American Psychiatric Association, 2008).

The American Psychiatric Association lists three main types of Attention Deficit Disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV), which is used by physicians in the diagnostic process.

These three subtypes are based upon the symptoms: Inattentive Type, Hyperactive-Impulsive Type, or Combined Type. (See a complete list of ADHD symptoms here.)

In the end, simply use the term you prefer. It may seem awkward to explain to someone “My son was diagnosed with ADHD with predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive type characteristics.” Rather, it may be easier to simply state “My son has ADD.”

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