ADD and ADHD affect millions. Understanding the symptoms can help families preliminarily diagnose children and loved ones and find treatment options.

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What You Should Know About ADD and ADHD


(DECEMBER 2013) The terms ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are not the same.

ADD is an outdated term. It was once used to describe people who have difficulty focusing on tasks or generally paying attention whereas ADHD was used to describe people with trouble focusing compounded by hyperactivity symptoms. Now, professionals distinguish using the terms ADHD primarily inattentive type or ADHD primarily hyperactive type.

Primarily inattentive type is used to describe those who have difficulty paying attention but aren’t disruptive, while primarily hyperactive type is used to describe people who have trouble focusing and often exhibit unruly behavior and an abundance of energy. It is possible for a person to be diagnosed with a mix of the two, known as ADHD combined type.

ADHD primarily inattentive type symptoms include:

  • Short attention span
  • Lack of attention to details
  • Disorganization
  • Not listening
  • Avoidance of focus-driven tasks
  • Distractibility
  • Forgetfulness

ADHD primarily hyperactive disorder symptoms include those above plus:

  • Fidgeting or squirming
  • Getting up often when seated
  • Running or climbing at inappropriate times
  • Trouble playing quietly
  • Talking excessively or out of turn
  • Interrupting
  • May have a quick temper

There are multiple treatment options for children and adults with ADHD. Medications, behavioral therapies and even exercise are often used alone or in conjunction to produce positive results.

Children with undiagnosed ADHD often have a difficult time in school because their behaviors don’t mesh well with a structured classroom environment. Their peers may not understand their behaviors and therefore pick on or bully these children.

If your child has ADHD, you may want to have him wear a medical identification bracelet to make other adults aware of his condition when you are not there. Just knowing there is a medical reason behind your child’s behavior can help others manage him – and those around him – appropriately.