Is ADD the same as ADHD?

Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Medicine
The letters ADD and ADHD both refer to the same disorder: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The term ADD is often used instead of ADHD because attention deficit hyperactivity disorder was once known as attention deficit disorder. In 1994 the American Psychiatric Association changed the name to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but many people, including health professionals, still use the term ADD instead of ADHD. However, the correct term is ADHD, and the term ADD may start becoming less popular as more people become aware of the new terminology and guidelines on ADHD.

Some doctors use the term ADD to describe people who have the primarily inattentive type of ADHD. A doctor might say that the individual has ADD, instead of ADHD, because the person does not have hyperactive qualities. For example, they may not have trouble sitting still, but they are distracted easily and have trouble following directions.
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
In 1994 (the same year Schindler's List swept the Oscar’s), a group of brainy scientists started revising the big bible of mental health. They realized that many people with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) also had problems with hyperactivity. So they added a capital "H" to ADD, creating the term we all know today, ADHD.

Continue Learning about ADHD



Whether you refer to it as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)it's the same disorder. Impulsive behavior, hyperactivity, difficulty concentrating are symptomsand children and adults ...

can have them. Can't sit still, can't finish projects, always forgetfulthese are also part of the pattern. With medications and therapy, it's possible to control these impulses and live a more normal, productive life.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.