Understanding ADD vs. ADHD

April 2, 2024

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ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is a neurodevelopmental condition that includes symptoms like inattention, impulsivity, and, in some cases, hyperactivity. The term ADD (attention deficit disorder) is outdated and no longer used. The current edition of DSM-5-TR (fifth revised text of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) classifies the condition as ADHD, predominantly inattentive presentation.

ADD vs. ADHD Symptoms

The symptoms of ADHD are categorized based on two primary behavioral patterns: those associated with inattention and distractibility, and those manifesting as impulsivity and hyperactivity.

Predominantly impulsive or hyperactive ADHD symptoms include:

  • Inability to stay seated
  • Fidgeting
  • Restlessness
  • Talking excessively
  • Acting without thinking
  • Regularly interrupting others
  • Difficulty waiting or taking turns

Predominantly inattentive or distractible ADHD symptoms (previously known as ADD symptoms) include:

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  • Making careless mistakes
  • Difficulty paying close attention
  • Inability to maintain attention on tasks
  • Difficulty listening
  • Problems with task completion
  • Avoiding demanding tasks
  • Frequently losing things
  • Being easily distracted
  • Exhibiting forgetfulness

What’s The Difference Between ADHD and ADD?

The term ADD is no longer used in a clinical setting, although it’s sometimes still used in everyday conversation. ADD is now consolidated under the ADHD diagnosis, which includes different presentations, including the presentation formerly known as ADD. ADHD diagnoses rely on assessments of symptoms by psychologists, psychiatrists, and pediatricians rather than medical tests.

For a diagnosis of ADHD, there are three possible presentations:

  1. Predominantly inattentive presentation: This requires showing significant difficulty with focus and attention. For children and teenagers, this means having at least six of the inattentive symptoms for the past six months. Adults need to have at least five of these symptoms.
  2. Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive presentation: This involves displaying excessive overactivity or impulsive behavior. For children, six symptoms from this category must be present in the last six months. Adults need to show at least five of these symptoms.
  3. Combined presentation: This diagnosis is given when symptoms of both inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity are present. Children must exhibit at least six symptoms from both categories over the past six months, while adults should have at least five from each category for a diagnosis of ADHD combined presentation.
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ADHD vs. ADD Treatment

Treatment for ADHD and ADD should be personalized according to the symptoms presenting, depending on whether they lean more toward inattention or include hyperactivity and impulsivity. Common treatments include:

  • Behavioral interventions: Behavioral interventions are central to effective ADHD and ADD treatment. This may involve skills training for parents of children with ADHD to help them manage hyperactive or inattentive behaviors. Adults with ADHD or ADD may find that psychotherapy helps them to deal with the challenges presented by ADHD in everyday living more effectively.
  • Medications: Medications are a cornerstone of treatment for ADHD and ADD. The choice between stimulant and non-stimulant medications is guided by the individual’s symptoms and needs. Stimulants are often used for broader ADHD symptoms, and non-stimulants are often indicated for predominantly inattentive presentations.
  • Educational support: For children with ADHD, customized accommodations in educational settings help provide the support needed for children to succeed academically, addressing both the inattentive and hyperactive components of the condition.

Many people find that a blend of medications, behavioral therapies, and support is the most effective pathway, regardless of whether the presentation is predominantly inattentive or includes hyperactivity. A treatment framework which addresses the full spectrum of ADHD and ADD symptoms can improve functioning and restore quality of life in those battling this condition.

Will Insurance Cover Inpatient ADD and AHDH Treatment?

Insurance coverage for inpatient ADHD treatment varies by provider and plan but most insurance plans will cover the cost of inpatient treatment for ADHD if it is deemed medically necessary. Review the specifics of your health insurance policy to determine the extent of coverage. Inquire about any deductibles, co-payments, or specific requirements for coverage approval. To check your insurance coverage for inpatient ADHD treatment, call 844-759-0999.


Are ADD and ADHD the same thing?

ADD and ADHD refer to the same underlying disorder, which is now universally recognized as ADHD. The term ADD is outdated and was used to describe what is now known as a predominantly inattentive presentation of ADHD.

What’s the difference between ADHD and ADD?

The main difference between ADHD and ADD lies in terminology and symptom focus. ADD, an older term, expressed attention difficulties without attendant hyperactivity. ADHD, the current term, describes the full range of the disorder, including presentations with inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, or a combination of these presentations.

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Get Inpatient Treatment for ADHD at Connections

For immersive and effective inpatient treatment for ADHD, reach out to Connections Mental Health in Southern California.

When you choose to address mental health issues at our inclusive beachside facility, you will join a small number of peers – we limit intake to six people at one time ­– while engaging with personalized and evidence-based treatment.

The treatment team at Connections can help with medication management. You can also access a variety of behavioral and motivational therapies, counseling, family therapy, and holistic treatments.

When you’re ready to restore functioning and improve overall well-being, call Connections at 844-759-0999.

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