In order to note the differences between ADD and ADHD it is perhaps best to begin with an explanation of what the terms mean.
ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and is a blanket term that covers a variety of symptoms. There are certain criteria that must be met for a person to be labeled with ADHD. The standard criteria are:-
Fidgeting – Squirming around and unable to be still
Finds it difficult to remain seated
Excessive running around and climbing (restlessness in older children)
Finding it difficult to play quietly
Nearly always in the move, sometimes described as being ‘driven like a motor’
Blurting out answers to questions
Impatience or inability to ‘wait your turn’
Intrusive or disruptive around others, constantly interrupting and distracting
At least six of these criteria must be met to be diagnosed ADHD. Those six must be to a degree that is considered ‘maladaptive’.
ADD is the term for Attention Deficit Disorder. ADD can apply to anyone who shows signs of ADHD but is most often applied to those who do not exhibit the hyperactivity associated with the label. This is often the more common form amongst females. The criteria for ADD are:-
Often makes mistakes in schoolwork and misses small details generally
Does not listen
Has problems following instructions and finishing tasks
Tendency to be disorganized
Problems with homework and/or schoolwork
Tendency to lose things, sometimes assignments and books
Tendency to forget daily activities
Again, at least six of the criteria must be present and considered ‘maladaptive’ for the ADD diagnosis to be given. This version of ADD is also known as ‘Inattention’ ADD.
This leaves us with the question of the differences between ADD and ADHD. As you can see, ADHD would include any and all of the above symptoms. ADD, on the other hand, is unlikely to have the hyperactivity components such as being constantly ‘on the go’ and the inability to sit still for any length of time.
There is no great difference between ADD and ADHD and the terms can often appear interchangeable. The important thing is to get a diagnosis from an expert in the field and be guided by what they tell you.
ADD/ADHD can be an exhausting situation for any parent or carer. Finding help and support is a must. The following websites will help you on your way to getting answers and connecting with others who are in the same situation.
ADHDnews.com is a welcoming site with a wealth of information and message-boards where you can interact with other parents and carers.
The Janssen-Cilag ADHD website is a great resource. It is split into sections for parents, educators, teens and health professionals and every section is filled with information and resources that will help answer your questions and address your concerns.
For more in-depth information about the differences between ADHD and ADD, try this website.