ADD vs ADHD Overview

The terms Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have been used interchangeably for years. What is the difference of ADD vs ADHD? The answer is not so straight forward depending on who you ask. In many professional opinions, ADD is the outdated term of ADHD, and inattentive ADHD is a type of the disorder that was once called ADD. As a child and adolescent psychiatrist with a focus on this disorder, Dr. Katie Skelton is available to answer any questions a New Braunfels, San Marcos or Seguin, Texas parent or caregiver may have about the condition, as well as provide a diagnosis and detailed treatment plan.

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Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

Many individuals use the terms Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder to mean the same thing, but is there a difference?

Simple facts on ADD vs ADHD:

  • ADD is considered the outdated term of ADHD in many professional opinions
  • ADHD symptoms include hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention
  • In the past, ADD was the term used to describe inattentive ADHD, a type of ADHD

ADHD is a broad term used to describe one of the most common childhood disorders. The brain disorder causes a variety of symptoms that vary from child to child, which is why there has been a long-term debate on ADD vs ADHD.

This disorder is often referred to as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) but many professionals believe that is an outdated term. The term was used in the past to describe an individual who was not hyperactive but displayed inattention. In May 2013, The American Psychiatric Association released the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), and the criteria to diagnose this form of ADD were changed to the broad ADHD term.

The Three Types of ADHD

The confusion of ADD vs ADHD can be found in the three types of ADHD that affect school-aged children. The three types include:

  • Inattentive- A child or teenager displays symptoms of inattention, but not hyperactivity or impulsivity. (Known as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) in the past.)
  • Hyperactive/Impulsive- A child or teenager displays symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity, but not inattention.
  • Combined- An individual displays symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention. (The most common type of ADHD.)

Medical professionals who still distinguish between ADD and ADHD will provide an Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) diagnosis for children and adolescents who have inattentive ADHD symptoms with no hyperactivity/impulsivity symptoms.

When it comes to treatment options, it is important to note that in certain young patients medication is superior to therapy alone. Click here to read an informative Q&A, ‘The Multimodal Treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (MTA).’

Is your child displaying ADD symptoms?

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For additional resources on Attention Deficit Disorder, or for more questions on ADD vs ADHD, contact the New Braunfels, San Marcos and Seguin, Texas office of Dr. Katie Skelton.