We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Difference Between ADD and ADHD?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

ADD and ADHD are similar disorders for which both of the terms are often used. ADD stands for Attention Deficit Disorder, and ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder; these variations in phrasing help to make the difference between the conditions clear. The primary difference between ADD and ADHD is that individuals with ADD are characterized only by inattention and have trouble concentrating. They often may seem forgetful, or to be thinking slowly or off in a daydream. Individuals with ADHD tend to display more hyperactive or impulsive behavior, such as the inability to sit still or frequently interrupting or blurting out answers to questions.

Psychiatrists further classify these disorders based on type. Rarely is a diagnosis of simple ADD given; instead, ADD and ADHD are combined, and diagnoses change based on different types of ADHD. For instance, where a person might previously have been diagnosed with ADD, he or she might instead be diagnosed with ADHD-predominantly inattentive type. Those with hyperactive symptoms might receive a diagnosis of ADHD-predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type. A combined diagnosis exists as well for those who are both inattentive and hyperactive. These highly specific diagnoses make it easier for psychiatrists to treat ADD and ADHD based on the needs of the individual patient.

Individuals may experience ADD and ADHD at any point in life, though it is most commonly diagnosed in childhood, when children have difficulty paying attention in school. Children who are predominantly inattentive may have difficulty remaining focused on a task, may seem to be daydreaming constantly, or may have trouble doing tasks where it is necessary to identify important information and discard unimportant information. A psychiatrist will be able to perform more specific tests to determine if the child's difficulties in school are related to an attention deficit disorder or other type of learning disability.

ADHD with hyperactivity and impulsive behavior may present differently. Though children may have similar difficulties concentrating on tasks, this will usually be because they can't sit still and are thinking too quickly, rather than just doing so absentmindedly. Some kids will not be able to sit quietly, for example, and may get up and walk around the room all the time. They may constantly yell out answers or interrupt other people when they are speaking, often without thinking first about what they want to say. Both ADD and ADHD can cause great difficulties for children and make it much more challenging to succeed in school, so it is important to identify these conditions as soon as possible.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.