The terms “attention-deficit disorder” and “attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder” are often used interchangeably.
There is one large difference between ADD and ADHD—one is the earlier version of the other. Basically, ADHD is the new ADD.
In essence, the difference between ADD and ADHD is terminology. They share the same characteristics and symptoms while ADD has become the antiquated, but still often used, term.
In the third version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the behavioral disorder marked by inattentiveness was known as “attention-deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity.” The DSM-III—the standard manual for mental disorder diagnosis—was published in 1980.
In 1987, when the DSM-IV—the most current version—was published, ADD became ADHD and was separated into three distinct categories for diagnosis:
Predominantly Inattentive Type
This type is what, in the past, was known as ADD. A child with this type could fail to give close attention to things that deserve it; display an inability to sustain attention or to follow instruction; doesn’t seem to listen; has difficulty in organization; might often lose personal items; is easily distracted or forgetful in daily activities; and avoids things that require sustained mental effort.
Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type
A child with this type might display behaviors of fidgeting, squirming, inability to sit still, excessive inappropriate running or climbing, inability to remain quiet, excessive talking, and is often “on the go.”
This is the most common type of ADHD. A child with the combine type will display symptoms from both of the above categories.