What is Attention Deficit Disorder / Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

Attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are two terms used to describe the same health disorder. While they can be used interchangeably, most of the time, ADHD is used today as ADD is considered to be somewhat outdated. This condition is considered to be a brain disorder or mental health disorder. It is characterized by distinct sets of characteristics that all work together to form a single condition. Inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are the three areas in which a person with ADHD has issues and trouble.


The exact causes of ADHD are not fully understood. Physicians and psychological experts believe that there may be genetic components to this condition. However, there are also possible environmental factors that can contribute including exposure to toxins while in utero or at a young age. Low birth weight, brain injuries, and maternal drug use, alcohol use, or tobacco use can all also be contributing factors to a person developing ADHD.

Who is prone to ADD / ADHD?

ADHD is commonly associated with children. However, anyone can suffer from the condition including adults. In fact, a person may not be diagnosed with the condition until adulthood. Males are more likely than females to suffer from this condition as well.

What are the Symptoms of ADD / ADHD?

There are numerous symptoms of ADHD. They fall within those three categories of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

Inattention symptoms

Inattention symptoms can include missing details or making careless mistakes on work, home, or school tasks.

Other inattention symptoms involve an inability to maintain sustained attention on any given task, forgetfulness, organization problems, often losing important objects, and avoiding tasks that involve prolonged attention and effort.

Hyperactivity and impulsivity symptoms

Hyperactivity and impulsivity symptoms include an inability to remain still for prolonged periods of time, frequent fidgeting, talking excessively, a tendency to interrupt frequently, answers questions before they are finished being asked, and an inability to do any task quietly or calmly.

How is ADD / ADHD Treated?

There are numerous ways of treating ADD / ADHD. Below are the most common.

Behavior modification or behavior therapy

Treatment for ADHD often focuses on behavior modification or behavior therapy. This type of psychological therapy is a practical form of therapy that helps a person with ADHD develop coping mechanisms and practices that can help them in their daily life and with work, school or family life.

Marital and family

Marital and family therapy are also therapy options to help create a supportive environment.

Stimulant medications

Medications can also help with the management of ADHD. Stimulants are medications that can help to trigger the central nervous system to perform necessary actions that can control the symptoms of ADHD. These are drugs like Adderall and Ritalin.

Non-stimulant medications

There are also some non-stimulant medications that may be effective at treating ADHD.

Last Reviewed:
October 09, 2016
Last Updated:
August 30, 2017