What's the difference between ADD and ADHD?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) -- an all-inclusive term that swallowed up attention deficit disorder (ADD) -- comprises a cluster of symptoms, from mild inattentiveness to disruptive agitation, and manifests differently in boys and girls.

ADHD symptoms include three subtypes of behavior: hyperactive-impulsive, inattentive (what was formerly ADD), and a combination of hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive. A child can have any combination or degree of these behaviors. ADD is a type of ADHD, with little or no hyperactivity.
Diana K. Blythe, MD
The difference between ADD (ADHD inattentive type) and ADHD (ADHD impulsive/hyperactive type) concerns hyperactivity and impulsivity. While people with both types have the symptoms of inattentiveness and easy distractibility, the impulsive/hyperactive type also has problems with these additional symptoms. It really is the same disease, the symptoms can just manifest differently.

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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.