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ADD vs ADHD: Defining Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ADD vs ADHD...

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The behaviour disorder known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder has been described using many different terms.

add vs adhd

When comparing the terms ADD and ADHD it is more common for people to use the term ADD to describe a child who exhibits attention and concentration difficulties without the presence of hyperactive behaviours.

But the fact is that both ADD and ADHD are generic terms that are used to describe the broad spectrum of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and neither one describes a specific form of the disorder.

In fact when comparing ADD and ADHD, the terms are often used interchangeably when the disorder is being described by doctors, teachers and parents.

ADD vs. ADHD Symptoms

Although people tend to use the terms ADD and ADHD when describing the specific type of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder your child has, there are actually three main types of ADHD symptom categories which are...

ADHD Inattentive Type:
Children who have symptoms of inattention, including being easily distracted, forgetful, and unable to pay attention to details.

ADHD Hyperactive-Impulsive Type:
Children who have symptoms of hyperactivity such as being constantly on the go and having difficulty staying seated, and also have symptoms of impulsivity such as being unable to wait for their turn, constantly interrupting others etc.

ADHD Combined Type:
Children who exhibit all major symptoms in the ADHD spectrum including impulsivity, hyperactivity and inattention.

When considering ADD and ADHD, the term ADD is really an old term used to describe a child who we would now describe as ADHD Inattentive Type.

The most common type of ADHD is the ADHD Combined Type, where your child show symptoms of all ADHD characteristics.

Interpreting ADHD Spectrum Symptoms

A child who battles Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder typically shows signs of the behaviour before the age of seven.

It is important to note that in order for the behaviour to be classified as an ADHD behaviour the behaviour needs to be classified as extreme.

Many children can be described as having boundless energy and many are challenged to sit still.

But a child with an ADHD exhibits these symptoms to a degree that they cannot be ignored, and to the point where the behaviour is having adverse affects on their social and academic life.

The behaviour should be present for at least six months, it should be considered to be age-inappropriate and it should not be caused by a situation; such as a family move, a new baby or a divorce.

Getting Past ADD vs ADHD

In order to provide your child with the best possible ADHD treatment it is important to correctly identify your individual child's exact challenges when it comes to battling the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Spectrum.

Getting past catch phrases and generic labeling, and identifying specific behaviour symptoms will allow doctors and you to formulate a custom made treatment plan that will best suit your child.


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