ADD and ADHD Are the Same Condition

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Did you know that ADD and ADHD are the same condition?  There is no difference between ADD and ADHD except for the terminology. Experts are not certain whether ADHD is a fairly recent phenomenon or one that had been with us since the beginning of the human race. In the early 1900s, a British pediatrician named George Still first spoke of the symptoms we now know as ADHD.  It remained unnamed, however, until the early 1970s when the thoroughly unflattering title Minimal Brain Disorder (MBD) was given to it, the adjective “minimal” giving patients the moniker of being brain dead.

Fortunately, subsequent research showed the symptoms were not from damage to the brain, but from something else. The name “Attention Deficit Disorder” (ADD) was given to the condition in the early 1980s.  In 1994, the American Psychiatric Association changed the name to its present official and clinical name “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder” (ADHD). People continued using the old name, however.  That’s why we now have “ADD” and “ADHD” referring to the same thing. Regardless of whatever it’s called – ADD or ADHD – the symptoms remain the same. ADHD children and adults:

  • Have selective attention
  • Have difficulty paying close attention especially if it involves something they do not find interesting; makes careless mistakes at school and at home;
  • Are incapable of sustained attention on matters they find boring
  • Appear to have their mind somewhere else when spoken to
  • Often start something but fail to complete it
  • Have difficulty organizing tasks and activities
  • Are often forgetful even in daily mundane activities
  • Are easily distracted


  • Often fidgets with his hands or squirms in his seat
  • Has difficulty sitting still
  • Runs around or climbs excessively when doing so is inappropriate (in adults, this finds expression in restlessness)
  • Has difficulty playing quietly
  • Is constantly moving
  • Talks nonstop


  • Blurts out answers even before the question has been completed
  • Has difficulty waiting for his turn in queues
  • Butts in on the conversation or play of others

ADHD is further classified by three subtypes:

ADHD predominantly inattentive type (ADHD-I)

  • Is disorganized
  • Gets easily distracted
  • Is forgetful
  • Has difficulty sustaining attention
  • Has difficulty following instructions
  • Has difficulty paying attention
  • Is careless, leading to mistakes

ADHD predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type (ADHD-HI)

  • Fidgets with his hands
  • Appears incapable of quiet activity
  • Butts in on the conversation, play, or work of others
  • Has difficulty sitting still
  • Speaks when he is not supposed to
  • Climbs or runs about when inappropriate
  • Talks a lot

ADHD combined type (ADHD-C)

  • A combination of the symptoms exhibited by the other two subtypes

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th edition , also called DSM-IV, requires that some ADHD symptoms must have been observed before age seven, and that it must be demonstrated that these symptoms significantly impair functioning in two or more settings for at least a six-month period in order to classify a patient as having ADHD.