ADD and ADHD: differences, diagnosis, and treatment

Attention deficit disorder (ADD) is a term sometimes used to describe a manifestation of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD is a neurological disorder that can cause a series of behavioral problems, such as difficulty in participating in teaching, concentrating on schoolwork, completing homework, following instructions, completing tasks, and social interaction.

In the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), this condition is officially called “attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, mainly manifested in inattention.”

Although the term ADD is technically an outdated term-and is no longer used by medical professionals-it is still sometimes used colloquially to refer to people who have difficulty concentrating but do not show symptoms of hyperactivity.

Symptoms of ADD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)

People with ADHD have difficulty concentrating or staying focused for long periods of time. Some symptoms of this type of ADHD include:

  • easily distracted
  • Difficult to follow instructions
  • Difficulty persisting in completing tasks
  • forgetful
  • Lost personal items such as keys or books
  • Not paying attention to details
  • Keep organized questions
  • Short attention span

Children with ADHD without ADHD may be bored or not interested in classroom activities. They may be prone to daydreaming or forgetfulness, slow work pace, and incomplete work.

Their homework, desks and lockers may look messy. They may lose materials or misplace their homework at school and at home, and fail to turn in homework. This can frustrate teachers and parents, and cause children to perform poorly in class.

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ADD and ADHD: What is the difference?

Although many people continue to use the terms ADD and ADHD interchangeably, it is important to realize that they are different. Here are some key points to note:

  • ADD is an old term that is now referred to as the inattention type of ADHD.
  • Since the mid-1990s, the term ADHD has been used to describe the types of inattention and hyperactivity.
  • However, some people continue to use the term ADD to indicate that the condition does not include ADHD as a symptom.
  • DSM-5 currently recognizes three subtypes of ADHD: inattention (sometimes called ADD at will), hyperactivity and impulsivity, and mixed.

ADD (Inattention Type Hyperactivity Disorder) manifests itself differently from hyperactive impulsive or mixed hyperactivity. Children with these manifestations have different symptoms.

For example, children with the other two types of ADHD often exhibit behaviors or exhibit behavior problems in class. Children with inattention type ADHD usually do not cause distractions in school. They may even sit quietly in class, but this does not mean that their disorder is not a problem, and they will not try to concentrate. In addition, not all children with ADHD with inattention are the same.

Children with combined ADHD show several symptoms of hyperactive impulsive type and inattention type.


If you suspect that your child has ADHD, please discuss the appropriate treatment with your child’s school counselor, teacher or doctor. If you have any concerns, please start these discussions immediately. Early intervention can ensure that your child will be less disturbed by the condition.

Your child’s pediatrician may recommend that you see a child psychologist, who can take a formal test to see if your child meets the criteria for ADHD, and if so, which category they fall into. The test can not only help distinguish ADHD from other problems that may cause academic difficulties, but it can also be used to track a child’s response to interventions over time.

Based on your child’s symptoms, they may be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, impulse-hyperactivity hyperactivity disorder, or mixed hyperactivity disorder.


There is no cure for ADHD, but treatment can help children control their symptoms and improve their daily functions. The treatment of ADHD usually involves drug therapy, behavioral intervention, or a combination of the two. The type of treatment chosen depends on the child’s symptoms and needs.


ADHD is usually treated with one of three drugs: psychostimulants, antidepressants, or non-stimulants. These drugs can help children with ADHD (ADD) focus on tasks and concentration.

  • Psychostimulants: Psychostimulants affect neurotransmitters in the brain and may help boost energy and increase alertness. An extended release form is generally recommended (rather than an immediate release form). Psychostimulants include amphetamines (such as Adderall) and methylphenidate (such as Ritalin and Concerta).
  • Antidepressants: Antidepressants also affect neurotransmitters in the brain and may help improve mood and concentration. Common antidepressants used for ADHD with inattention include Wellbutrin (bupropion) and Effexor (venlafaxine).
  • Non-stimulant medications: Non-stimulant medications can help people who experience side effects of stimulants, including Strattera (tomoxetine) and Intuniv (guanfacine). Non-stimulants affect the specific neurotransmitter norepinephrine and may help regulate mood and increase concentration on specific tasks.

Like any medicine, there are common side effects. Mental stimulants, antidepressants, and non-stimulants can cause dizziness, loss of appetite, and stomach upset. If you notice any abnormal symptoms in your child, be sure to consult your doctor.

Behavior management

Regardless of whether parents choose drugs as a treatment option, most doctors and child psychologists recommend the development of behavioral intervention plans to help teach children adaptive behavior skills and reduce off-task and inattention behavior.

Generally, a combination of various methods is used, including:

  • Behavior therapy: For young children, the therapist will usually meet with you and your child. A meeting usually includes the therapist facilitating a dialogue with your child and even providing them with activities to help them express their feelings. Your doctor or therapist may recommend family therapy so that all members of the family can learn healthy ways to manage the child’s condition.
  • Parental behavior management training: recommended to parents of children under 12 years old, the therapist will train parents to help children change their behaviors. You will learn strategies such as play therapy and talk therapy to allow your children to express their feelings freely and help them adopt healthy coping mechanisms to deal with difficult emotions.
  • Behavioral intervention in the school: Your child may meet the criteria for additional assistance under Section 504 of the Disability Education Act (IDEA) or the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Adjustments may include extra test time, extra rest time, changes to their environment, active reinforcement, and homework specifically for your child.
  • Behavioral peer intervention: In this method, a therapist or a well-trained professional will lead a group of children to participate in activities and teach them how to interact constructively with their peers. Teaching skills such as talking, coping with teasing and making friends. Parents and teachers can receive training to strengthen the home and school curriculum.

In the long run, behavioral intervention programs may have advantages because these adjustments may result in lasting improvements in concentration skills that drugs cannot provide.

Many people find that the holistic approach can effectively control the behavioral symptoms of ADHD in children. Regular physical exercise has been shown to improve the mood of adults and children with ADHD, and improve concentration and executive function.

Studies have shown that attention and emotional regulation of ADHD patients improved after practicing yoga.

Diet may also play a role in managing ADHD behaviors. Some studies have shown that fried foods, added sugar, salt, and artificial ingredients may aggravate behavioral problems and attention span.

However, more research is needed to understand how diet affects ADHD. Talk to your child’s doctor to make sure they get adequate nutrition, eat regularly, and eat plenty of vegetables-all of which are related to the improvement of the mood of children with ADHD.

Very good sentence

If you think your child may have “hyperactivity disorder”, be sure to discuss attention deficit hyperactivity disorder with your child’s doctor. Effective treatments can help children with inattention, and early intervention can prevent the disease from adversely affecting their lives.

Some parents worry about the stigma of having their children assessed for ADHD. It is important to talk to your child, let them know that everyone has different skills and abilities. By receiving treatment, you can help your child develop new skills and ways to cope with symptoms.