ADD vs. ADHD Symptoms: What’s the Difference?

What Is ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)?

ADD (attention deficit disorder) is the time period often used to describe a neurological situation with symptoms of inattention, distractibility, and poor working reminiscence. ADD symptoms in adults include hassle focusing on school paintings, habitually forgetting appointments, simply dropping monitor of time, and struggling with govt functions. Patients with these symptoms may have what clinicians now call Predominantly Inattentive Type consideration deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADD is an out of date term and no longer a scientific diagnosis, even though it is steadily nonetheless used to refer to a definite subset of symptoms that fall underneath the umbrella time period, ADHD.

The Difference Between ADD and ADHD

Many folks use the phrases ADD and ADHD interchangeably, however they are not the identical factor. ADD (consideration deficit dysfunction) is the colloquial term for one explicit form of ADHD — Predominantly Inattentive Type, previously known as attention deficit disorder. To summarize:

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity dysfunction (ADHD) is a neurological or psychological dysfunction.
  • Technically talking, consideration deficit disorder (ADD) is not a clinical diagnosis, but “ADD” is incessantly used to check with Predominantly Inattentive Type ADHD and related symptoms
  • Since 1994, medical doctors were the usage of the term ADHD to describe both the hyperactive and inattentive subtypes of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder1.
  • Still, many oldsters, lecturers, and adults proceed to use the term “ADD.”

Symptoms of ADD (Predominantly Inattentive Type ADHD)

Predominantly Inattentive Type ADHD (formerly ADD) does not present in the same approach as the different two types of ADHD, referred to as Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type ADHD and Combined Type ADHD.

Hallmark symptoms of ADD come with:

  1. Poor operating reminiscence
  2. Inattention
  3. Distractibility
  4. Poor govt function

Self-Test: ADD Symptoms in Children
Self-Test: ADD Symptoms in Adults

[Free Download: An In-Depth Guide to Inattentive ADHD]

What Is ADHD?

The term ADHD is usually used to explain what doctors now diagnose as Predominantly Hyperactive Type ADHD. The ADHD symptoms associated with this prognosis align extra closely with the stereotypical understanding of consideration deficit:

  • A squirmy, impulsive person (typically a kid)…
  • Bursting with energy…
  • Who struggles to attend his or her turn.

Adults with hyperactive or impulsive ADHD could also be…

  • Talkative
  • Fidgety
  • Have worried energy

Self-Test: ADHD Symptoms in Adults Adults
Self-Test: ADHD Test for Children

What are the Symptom Differences Between ADD and ADHD?

People with ADD often lack the hyperactivity element that may be a outstanding symptom of Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD. They might be thought to be daydreamers or seem to be disinterested and disorganized in the study room or the administrative center. They will also be liable to forgetfulness and dropping issues, and struggle to practice directions.

In comparability, the ones with Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD align more intently with the stereotypical figuring out of consideration deficit — a fidgeting, impulsive particular person (typically a kid), who is bursting with energy and struggles to wait their flip. Those with this kind of ADHD generally tend to act out and display behavior problems.

How is ADHD Diagnosed?

There is not any single check for Predominantly Inattentive Type ADHD (previously ADD). In fact, since children with ADD are most frequently not disruptive in school, they may be mistakenly viewed as merely “shy” or a “in an international of their very own.”

To make a diagnosis, your doctor will assess for any ADHD symptoms exhibited in the past six months. They may even do a physical examination and overview your scientific historical past to rule out another clinical or psychiatric prerequisites that could be causing symptoms.

Once a doctor has a complete understanding of the presenting symptoms, they are going to be capable to make decide which type of ADHD (if any) is the appropriate diagnosis. Find additional information in our complete ADHD diagnosis guide.

A Closer Look at the 3 Types of ADHD

Symptoms of Primarily Inattentive ADHD (Formerly ADD)

People who say they have ADD in all probability have symptoms of inattentive variety ADHD like forgetfulness and poor focal point, organization, and listening skills. Inattentive ADHD continuously resembles a mood dysfunction in adults, whilst it’s observed as spacey, apathetic conduct in children, in particular women.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-V (DSM-V)2, six of the following symptoms must be present to warrant a prognosis of ADHD, Primarily Inattentive Type:

  • Often fails to present shut attention to main points, or makes careless mistakes
  • Often has issue maintaining consideration
  • Often does not appear to listen when spoken to
  • Often does no longer practice via on directions and fails to complete projects
  • Often has problem organizing tasks and activities
  • Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to interact in duties that require sustained mental effort
  • Often loses issues important for duties/actions
  • Is incessantly easily distracted
  • Is continuously forgetful in day by day actions

If you assume you have Primarily Inattentive Type ADHD, take one in all our self-tests underneath and percentage your results with a scientific professional.

Symptoms of Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD

This sub-type encompasses a lot of ADHD’s stereotypical traits: a kid (typically a boy) bouncing off the walls, interrupting at school, and fidgeting nearly repeatedly. In fact, just a small portion of children and adults meet the symptom criteria for this kind of ADHD.

According to the DSM-V, six of the following symptoms must be provide to warrant a diagnosis:

  • Fidgets with fingers or feet or squirms in seat
  • Leaves seat in lecture room or in other eventualities wherein last seated is anticipated
  • Runs about or climbs excessively in scenarios through which is it irrelevant; emotions of restlessness in teenagers and adults
  • Has issue playing or attractive in recreational actions quietly
  • Appears “on the pass” or acts as if “pushed by way of a motor.”
  • Talks excessively
  • Blurts out solutions
  • Has problem looking ahead to their flip
  • Interrupts or intrudes on others

Self-Test: Hyperactive and Impulsive ADHD Symptoms in Children
Self-Test: Hyperactive and Impulsive ADHD Symptoms in Adults

Symptoms of Combined Type ADHD happens if you have six or extra symptoms every of inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive ADHD.

How Does Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD Look Different from Inattentive ADHD (Formerly ADD) in Everyday Life?

1. Inattentive ADHD Symptom: Careless Mistakes

A child with inattentive ADHD might rush thru a quiz, missing questions he knows the answers to or skipping entire sections in his haste. An adult would possibly fail to scrupulously proofread a record or electronic mail at paintings which leads to more issues.

2. Inattentive ADHD Symptom: Difficulty Sustaining Attention

A kid with inattentive ADHD could have trouble staying focused during organized actions, like sports and games, or duties, like choosing up his room. An grownup would possibly fight to care for attention throughout long readings or extended conversations.

3. Inattentive ADHD Symptom: Failure to Listen

Children and adults with inattentive ADHD might appear absent-minded when spoken to immediately, even though there may not be an evident distraction. Often does not follow via on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or tasks in the administrative center (e.g., begins tasks however briefly loses center of attention and is easily sidetracked).

4. Inattentive ADHD Symptom: Difficulty with Instructions

Many kids, teenagers, and adults with inattentive ADHD battle to observe via on directions, failing to complete schoolwork, chores, or other tasks in the office.

5. Inattentive ADHD Symptom: Poor Organization

Organization can be a problem for the ones with inattentive ADHD at any age — a kid would possibly fight with protecting her locker organized; a young person would possibly to find it difficult to stay school applications directly; and ADHD adults may really feel beaten by work emails at the workplace. A loss of organization often is going hand in hand with messy work, poor time management, and a failure to satisfy points in time.

6. Inattentive ADHD Symptom: Avoidance of Difficult Tasks

Adolescents and adults with inattentive ADHD ceaselessly have a hard time finishing tasks that require sustained psychological effort, like long homework assignments, reviewing documents, and filling out forms.

7. Inattentive ADHD Symptom: Chronically Losing Things

Frequently misplacing necessary pieces, like keys, eyeglasses, cellphones, and faculty fabrics, generally is a signal of inattentive ADHD in children, youth, and adults.

8. Inattentive ADHD Symptom: Easily Distracted

Children with inattentive ADHD may become distracted in the school room via extraneous stimuli, whilst adults may merely drift off into unrelated ideas and lose center of attention on the activity handy.

9. Inattentive ADHD Symptom: Forgetfulness

Whether it’s remembering to take the trash out, pay a bill, or return an email, inattentive ADHD ceaselessly gifts as forgetfulness, especially in teens and adults.

Do More Women Have Inattentive Type ADHD Than Have Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD?

ADHD isn’t gender-biased, nevertheless it regularly goes undiagnosed in ladies. More women and girls have Inattentive ADHD than have Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD. Young women and girls who combat with inattentive ADHD symptoms are overshadowed via hyperactive boys, who show more stereotypical hyperactive ADHD behavior. Instead of detecting their symptoms as ADHD, clinical pros often mistake them for temper disorders. If you think you or your daughter can have ADHD symptoms, take our ADHD test for women and girls and share your results with a medical professional.

That said, Inattentive Type ADHD is not exclusive to ladies. Many boys have this subtype of ADHD, even though their symptoms is also similarly lost sight of or misdiagnosed due to gender stereotypes.

ADDitude Seems to Write Only About ADHD. Why Is That? provides a variety of articles about ADD and ADHD, which is the legit, clinical time period used to describe consideration deficit dysfunction — without reference to whether a patient has symptoms of hyperactivity. Because “ADD” is thought of as an outdated term through clinical practitioners, we use the term “inattentive ADHD” to explain the sub-type now not associated with hyperactivity or impulsivity. We use the time period ADHD to extensively mean each the inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive sub-types, and “hyperactive/inattentive ADHD” when suitable as well.

ADD vs. ADHD: Next Steps


1 Lange, Klaus W et al. “The historical past of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.” Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders (Nov. 2010).

2 Symptoms and Diagnosis of ADHD. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition. American Psychiatric Association (2013). https://www.(d(.gov/ncbddd/adhd/diagnosis.html

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