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ADD Versus ADHD–What’s the Difference? 

ADD Versus ADHD–What’s the Difference? 

Psychiatric disorders are a group of mental illnesses that can cause significant distress, impairment in functioning, and even disability. These conditions include depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and personality disorders. They affect people from all walks of life regardless of age or gender. Symptoms vary depending on the type of disorder but often include changes in mood and behavior as well as difficulty thinking clearly or concentrating. Treatment for psychiatric disorders usually involves a combination of medication, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes to help manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is the leading medical association for psychiatrists and other mental health professionals in the United States. Founded in 1844, it is one of the oldest medical associations in the country and has members from all 50 states as well as many countries around the world. The APA works to advance psychiatric knowledge through research, education, and advocacy initiatives that promote a better understanding of mental illness and improved access to quality care for those affected by it. In addition to providing resources to its members such as continuing education programs, publications, guidelines, clinical practice tools, and more; they also provide a wide range of information about mental health conditions on its website for both patients and healthcare providers alike. The APA’s mission is to ensure access to quality treatment and services for all people with mental disorders while promoting public awareness about these issues so that stigma can be reduced.

There are a wide variety of mental disorders and mood disorders that have overlapping symptoms and treatments. Anxiety disorders, personality disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and even depression disorders can have similar symptoms that are common in ADD and ADHD disorders. Psychiatric disorders such as ADD and ADHD need to be accurately diagnosed and treated by mental health professionals. Consult your doctor if you have concerns about your mental health and want to seek out treatment for ADHD symptoms or symptoms of other psychiatric disorders.

Attention Deficit Disorder Versus Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

It’s common for people to use the terms ADD and ADHD interchangeably in conversation. But do you know the difference between Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)? 

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are two common mental health disorders that often get confused. While they have some similarities, there are also important differences between the two conditions. ADD is a type of ADHD in which individuals experience difficulty with concentration and focus but do not experience hyperactive behavior or impulsivity whereas ADHD involves both inattentiveness as well as hyperactivity and/or impulsivity. Additionally, while some people with either condition may be able to manage their symptoms without medication, most people with ADHD require treatment with stimulant medications such as Ritalin or Adderall in order to effectively control their symptoms. Therefore, it’s important for anyone who suspects they may have either condition to consult a psychiatrist for an accurate diagnosis so that an appropriate treatment plan can be put into place.

To understand the difference between the two you first need to think about ADHD as the clinical umbrella term. ADHD sits at the top and a group of related conditions that share a combination of symptoms, or presentations, nestle below it. There are three major presentations that fall under the ADHD umbrella. One of these three presentations is what you might think of as ADD, though referring to it using the term “ADD” is now outdated. Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is an outdated term that has been replaced by the term Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This shift in terminology reflects a greater understanding of the disorder and its symptoms. ADD was used to refer to a disorder characterized primarily by difficulty with concentration. ADHD includes the hyperactivity component.

3 Types of ADHD

  1. ADHD, Impulsive or Hyperactive Presentation 
  2. ADHD, Inattentive, and Distractible Presentation
  3. ADHD, Combined Impulsive/Hyperactive and Inattentive/Distractible Presentation 

The different types of ADHD have different types of symptoms that affect every individual differently. However, each type does require sustained mental effort no matter how severe the case is or how severe the symptoms are. Those with psychiatric disorders tend to need to work harder in order to complete average, everyday tasks, no matter the type of disorder. It is also important to note that environmental factors also play a role in how well someone can succeed socially, emotionally, and academically. Now that we have established the three types of ADHD, let's dive into the symptoms of each type. It is important to be able to tell the difference in symptoms of ADHD types for proper treatment and ADHD diagnosis.

ADHD Symptoms By Type

  1. ADHD, Impulsive or Hyperactive Presentation: Symptoms include the need for constant movement, fidgeting, restlessness, excessive talking, blurting out answers, and difficulty waiting.
  2. ADHD, Inattentive, and Distractible Presentation: Symptoms include distractibility, forgetfulness, frequently overlooking details, trouble with staying tuned in, and problems listening.
  3. ADHD, Combined Impulsive/Hyperactive and Inattentive/Distractible Presentation: This is the most common presentation of ADHD. Symptoms include a mix of the above two presentations. Additional symptoms include trouble sleeping (that could lead to further sleep disorders), sensory processing problems, executive functioning issues, and co-occurring mood disorders. 

ADHD Quick Facts 

ADHD Testing

There is no single test used to diagnose ADHD in children or adults, but there are various ADHD screening options and assessments available. During this evaluation period, a professional will gather information to determine if the criteria for ADHD are met. Regardless of the presentation, or type, of ADHD, these conditions must be met to arrive at an ADHD diagnosis: 

A child's behavior is usually a tell-tale sign of some mental disorder whether it be ADHD, bipolar disorder, conduct disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, or a mood disorder. It is easy to mistake symptoms for any one of these mental disorders with another disorder since there is so much overlap. That being said it makes it even more important to get checked out with a trusted physician who can then refer you to a doctor with more experience in psychiatric care. Like any medical matter, the younger the better as it is easier to treat ADHD earlier rather than later when habits are formed.

Education and ADHD

Academics can be daunting for any child with learning disabilities. A child with ADHD symptoms has to work much harder on an academic level than other children. It is vital to a child's success that parents are aware of the educational resources that are provided today for children with these learning conditions.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that was created in 1975 to ensure that all students, regardless of any disabilities they may have, receive a free and appropriate public education. It covers students from birth to age 21 and provides them with significant rights and protections. The IDEA provides students with disabilities access to a free and appropriate public education tailored to their individual needs.

Under IDEA, schools are required to recognize the individual needs of students with disabilities and provide them with an appropriate education. Schools must evaluate all students to determine those who have a disability and require special education services. Students must then receive an individualized education plan (IEP) that outlines specific accommodations and educational strategies tailored to their unique needs.

Treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Treating ADHD is not a simple fix. In fact, many with ADHD struggle to find ways to cope with their Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. Parents of children with ADHD may want to look into parent training. Parent training is when parents learn ways to help their child with ADHD. They can learn how to help their child focus, stay organized, and manage their emotions better. Parents can also learn strategies for helping their child be successful in school or other activities. Parent training can give parents the tools they need to support their child and help them reach their full potential! It is just important for parents to be supportive of treatment as it could change the child's life for the better.

While it shares some commonalities with other mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, ADHD differs in several ways. People with ADHD are often more easily distracted than those without it; they may have trouble staying organized and completing tasks on time; their behavior can be disruptive to others; and they may experience difficulty regulating their emotions. Furthermore, treatment for ADHD tends to focus more on behavioral interventions rather than medications used to treat other mental illnesses. With proper diagnosis and intervention strategies tailored to each individual’s needs, people with ADHD can lead fulfilling lives. ADHD treatment also includes ADHD medications that can help improve inattentive symptoms, hyperactive-impulsive symptoms, disruptive behaviour, paying attention, difficulty concentrating, and difficulty organizing tasks. These are just some of the few aspects that medication can help improve. It is recommended to combine treatment methods such as seeing a therapist or going to behavior therapy. Combined type ADHD especially calls for these recommendations.

It’s important to note that you may have several of the ADHD symptoms mentioned without having the disorder. If you notice several of these behaviors lasting longer than six months, you may consider booking an evaluation with Wellness Road Psychology. Wellness Road Psychology is a counseling and mental health practice that offers comprehensive care to individuals, couples, and families. Our team of clinicians provides evidence-based treatment in areas such as anxiety, depression, trauma recovery, grief & loss, life transitions, and more. We believe that each person is unique with their own individual needs; therefore our approach to therapy is tailored accordingly. At Wellness Road Psychology we strive to create a safe environment for clients where they can explore their thoughts and feelings without judgment or criticism. Our goal is to empower people so they can make positive changes in their lives and reach their full potential. We treat ADHD in adults and adolescents through cognitive behavioral therapy that aims to reduce ADHD symptoms and empowers patients to live happy and healthy life – in all ways. To set up an evaluation, call the clinic or book the next available appointment with one of our expert ADHD therapists online today or connect with us to book your consultation.

 

 

Author
Dr. Philip Glickman Director/Licensed Clinical Psychologist at Wellness Road Psychology

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