The Difference Between ADD and ADHD

There is a difference between ADD and ADHD. As you learn about this difference, you will also learn the definition of ADHD.

Professionals have redefined the terms leaving one of them out while none of us have noticed. Ok, maybe you are one of the special people who knew about it all along.

We will discover the definition and difference of the old terms and this newer terminology. You will be ahead of everyone else.

ADD Defined

ADD was the term used to describe the disorder, Attention Defecit Disorder. People who had a problem with concentrating, focusing, staying still and that met the certain criteria, were diagnosed with ADD. In the 1980 edition of the DSM III (Diagnostic Statistic Manual), it was first used.




It was later revised to a new term with subtypes. I have used this term since I was a kid and I didn't know until recently that it was pretty much laid to rest. I have used ADD to describe the non hyperactive disorder. I used ADHD to describe the hyperactive disorder.

New Term ADHD Sub Types

In 1987, ADD became ADHD. It was listed in the DSM IIIR this way. The difference between ADD and ADHD, is that ADD was done away with and ADHD is broken into three categories:

  • Predominantly Inattentive Type
  • Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type
  • Combined Type: Symptoms of the above types are equally evident.

The combined type describes me. When I received the letter from my doctor, in 2005, with my diagnosis, I did not have a clue what the combined type was. All I knew was that it said ADHD and I knew what that meant.

Go to my page about the symptoms to learn more about them.

Many people like ourselves still use the old term, ADD, but the professionals use ADHD types. We understand the original term and it isn't particularly wrong to use it. In any type of diagnosis, you will see the new term ADHD with the types referenced.

Now you have an understanding of the difference between ADD and ADHD. You are almost as knowledgeable as the professionals are, ok, maybe not that close.

To learn more about the symptoms of Attention Defecit Hyperactivity Disorder, go to my ADHD symptoms page.

If you have any questions or comments, please review the ones below or fill out the form for yours.
Tj Chambers

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