What Is The Difference Between ADHD and ADD?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a well-known childhood disorder that is also very common in adults. ADHD is characterized by varying degrees of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and/or inattention that can interfere with school, work, emotional, and social functioning.
TYPES OF ADHD:
Both types are considered ADHD. If someone is diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) it is the same as being diagnosed with ADHD: Predominately Inattentive. “Predominately Inattentive” means that the hyperactive elements of ADHD are not as relevant to – but not excluded from – the behavior of the individual.
Disorders Associated with ADHD
ADHD is often associated with other issues and conditions. Some common co-occurring diagnoses include:
Symptoms of ADHD and ADD
Symptoms of ADHD in adults may be more difficult to detect, especially if the individual has never been diagnosed or treated. Adults suffering from ADHD may have difficulty following directions, remembering information, concentrating, organizing their work and lives, and meeting their obligations and responsibilities in a timely fashion. If not managed well, these difficulties can lead to vocational, academic, relationship, emotional, social, and behavioral problems.
The symptoms of ADHD are often split out into three main categories:
Having a short attention span and being easily distracted. Some common examples of inattention type behaviors include:
- Easily distracted by irrelevant sights and sounds
- Bouncing from one activity to another
- Easily bored
- Frequent forgetting
- Zoning out in the middle of a conversation or task
- Difficulty paying attention or focusing when in conversation or when engaged in a task
- Difficulty completing or following through on tasks
- Overlooking details, leading to errors
- Poor listening skills
- Difficulty remembering conversations or following directions
- Hyper-focus (a tendency to become absorbed in tasks that are stimulating and rewarding)
Behaviors that seem to be spontaneous without much thought, which can cause a person to do inappropriate or harmful things without much thought for the consequences. Some common examples of impulsive behavior include:
- Interrupts others
- Talks over others
- Poor self-control
- Can be rude or inappropriate without thinking
- Addictive tendencies
- Reckless behaviors
- Can be perceived as socially inappropriate (e.g., trouble sitting still, blurting out comments)
Inappropriate or excessive activity. Some common examples of hyperactive behavior include:
- Easily bored
- Racing thoughts
- Risk taking
- Pressured and excessive speech
Although many people experience one or more of these types of behaviors throughout their lifetime, some people experience them to such a degree that it becomes difficult to function effectively across different situations (e.g., school, work, home, relationships). Overall, the symptoms of ADHD may range from mild to severe and can vary depending on the situation (e.g., the person may struggle more at work than he/she does at home).
Causes of ADHD
As with many mental health disorders, ADHD is believed to be the result of a combination of psychological, environmental and genetic factors.
Commonality of ADHD
Approximately 3 to 5 percent of school-aged children are diagnosed with ADHD and approximately 60% of those individuals maintain the disorder into adulthood. This means that approximately 4% of the US adult population (8 million adults) can be diagnosed with ADHD. However, many adults go undiagnosed.
Diagnosis of ADHD
ADHD is not an adult-onset disorder but rather is a childhood-onset disorder. Although it can be undiagnosed in childhood and persist into adulthood, the symptoms of ADHD begin in childhood. Undiagnosed adults often have increased feelings of inadequacy and depression because they are having difficulties in different areas of their life and do not know why.
Proper diagnosis, treatment and coaching are invaluable for adults who suffer from symptoms of ADHD. Thorough psychological assessment is often used to determine an accurate diagnosis of ADHD.
PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSESSMENTS FOR ADHD SYMPTOMS AND BEHAVIORS MAY INCLUDE:
- A comprehensive interview, gathering current and historical information. The mental health clinician will be looking for a history that is consistent with ADHD, including evidence of problems with peers, developmental delays, a history of school problems, and current functioning at work, in social relationships, etc.
- A questionnaire to determine if the individual had ADHD symptoms in childhood
- Questionnaires assessing current functioning
- Other psychological testing to rule out other potential problems
- A referral for a physical exam to rule out medical or neurological illnesses
Sometimes it is beneficial (and could be required by your physician, psychiatrist or school) to seek an ADHD evaluation to diagnose and assess current level of functioning.
If an ADHD evaluation is recommended or required, the psychologist will conduct a clinical interview and various psychological tests and/or questionnaires to assess and diagnose. A report and/or consult will be provided to the client and/or requesting party, if the client provides permission.