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.
Michele Borba
The Difference Between ADD and ADHD is as follows:

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV-TRY) is the official manual published by the American Psychiatric Association that lists all recognized mental and behavioral disorders. Doctors in the U.S. currently recognize three types of attention-deficits:

“Predominantly inattentive type:” (Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD) The child has difficulty paying attention, doesn’t seem to listen, is easily distracted and forgetful but has no signs of hyperactivity.

“Predominantly hyperactive/impulsive type”: (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD) The child fidgets or squirms in his seat, leaves seat when expected to remain seated, talks excessively, has trouble waiting, appears in perpetual motion, interrupts or intrudes on others; blurts out answers before questions are complete.

“Combined type” (ADD/ADHD) The child displays both inattentive and hyperactive and impulsive behaviors.

To be diagnosed with any of the classifications, the child must display at least six problem behaviors before seven years of age. Those behaviors must also significantly interfere with the child’s ability to achieve academically or socially and are not consistent with normal child development.

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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.