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Hyperactive-Impulsive Type
Predominantly Inattentive Type
Combined Type

What’s the difference between ADHD an ADD?

The difference primarily is on terminology. The “official” diagnosis in the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM) for the neurological condition characterized by hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD. In the DSM IV-TR, ADHD is categorized into three types: Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type, Predominantly Inattentive Type, and Combined Type.

As for the term “ADD”, experts used it in the 1970’s as a generic term to describe all three types. Since then, it has gained popularity and people have used ADD and ADHD interchangeably. In either case, the term refers to the same condition.

Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type

Adults with ADHD have experienced hyperactive, impulsive and / or inattentive symptoms that caused impairment before they reached 7 years of age. However, because many adults are unaware that they have had ADHD since childhood and therefore have not been diagnosed, contacting a health care provider may be best if the following symptoms are experienced for at least 6 months in two or more settings, such as home and work.

Keep in mind that that although these symptoms are part of normal human characteristics, those with ADHD have them to an extreme degree and have great difficulty controlling them.

Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type

A neurological disorder characterized by symptoms of hyperactivity including:

  • Inner restlessness, “Always on the go,” fidgety when not moving
  • Inability to relax until exhausted
  • Unhappy and discontent when inactive or doing quiet activities such as reading or watching television

A neurological disorder characterized by symptoms of impulsivity including:

  • Impulsiveness range from minor, such as interrupting conversation or intruding on others, to major, such as suddenly starting or stopping relationships (multiple marriages, separations)
  • Making reckless decisions without recognizing possible consequences
  • Waiting to do something causes great discomfort
  • Have problems with self-control
  • Short temper with short-lived explosive outbursts
  • Moods can shift from normal to depressed or excited, and these changes can be reactive or spontaneous
  • Drastic shifts in emotional responses impairs problem solving ability

With the hyperactive-impulsive type of ADHD, the symptoms impair the social, occupational, and personal functioning of the individual.

The number of symptoms experienced and the severity of each will vary with individuals and changes over time.

ADHD is often accompanied by depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and personality disorders. Substance abuse may also develop for some as a way to cope with the disorder. These serious mental health illnesses must also be included in the treatment plan.

"I remember times when I would get so irritated in the check-out line in the grocery that I would end up shouting at the cashier by the time it was my turn. I just couldn’t stand still….I would feel so wired and revved up that even having a quiet dinner in the house would stress me out….until I sought help. Now, my husband and I can actually take simple evening stroll in the park and enjoy ourselves. I still can’t believe it. We’re taking it one day at a time. "



Getting treatment for mental health issues is a team effort. In most cases, evidence suggests that ADHD can be successfully treated with a combination of medication, psychoeducation and certain kinds of psychotherapy such as life coaching and cognitive therapy. By working with your doctor and / or therapist, you can take control to find the approach that is the most appropriate for your needs. There are many avenues for treatment so if one does not work, you can try other methods. So do not lose hope.

Get help today, for tomorrow enjoy better living and brighter horizons.

Taking Medications
Here are a few things to remember if you are taking medications for your ADHD.

• If you are just starting to take medication, remember that they usually take effect 4 to 8 weeks to become fully effective. So be patient and don’t be discouraged.

• Work with your doctor for the right dosage and medication for your ADHD. If one medication does not work, you can try others. Don’t give up and continue to work with your doctor.

• Ask your doctor what the side effects are of the medication you are taking.

• There are medications that need to be tapered off so do not stop taking your medication abruptly. Ask your doctor how and when you will stop taking your medication.

Medications need to be taken regularly for the ADHD symptoms to be managed.
Although medications will not cure ADHD, they will help you manage the symptoms so you can lead a normal and productive life. Studies have shown that both medications and psychotherapy can successfully treat ADHD.

Get help today, for tomorrow enjoy better living and brighter horizons.

The following are additional resources for ADHD:

The Attention Deficit Information Network, Inc.
58 Prince St.
Needham, MA 02492
Offers support and information to families of children with ADD, adults with ADD, and professionals through a network of AD-IN chapters.

ADD Warehouse
3200 Northwest 70th Ave., Suite 102
Plantation, FL 33317
A central location for ordering books, tapes, assessment scales, and videos carefully selected to help parents, educators, and health professionals assist people affected by developmental disorders, including ADHD and related disorders.
Call or write for catalog.

Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorders (CHADD)
8181 Professional Place, Suite 150
Landover, MD 20785
A major advocate for those with ADHD. Website has frequently asked questions section and offers information on legal rights.


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