Brain Boost

ADD vs. ADHD: What’s The Difference?

Written by Nancy

As per the CDC, around 9.4% of US children have been diagnosed with ADHD. Despite the high number of diagnosed cases, there’s still confusion surrounding this condition.

Many people have the misconception that those with ADHD always display traits such as being outspoken and physically hyperactive. In reality, a sizable portion of ADHD patients live with misdiagnosed ADHD symptoms.

This is because there’s a general lack of understanding about the difference between ADD and ADHD, or rather, its three main forms; Hyperactive-Impulsive, Inattentive, and Combined type.

The first step in identifying a person with ADHD is to know its three main types.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Types

ADHD is a medical term which was formerly known as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). The group of symptoms belonging to the above-mentioned condition types varies in severity depending on the individual.


  • Primarily hyperactive-impulsive ADHD

Common symptoms of primarily hyperactive-impulsive ADHD include fidgeting with hands, excessive talking or outburst, constant interruptions, and more.

  • Primarily inattentive ADHD

When people use the term ADD, they usually mean inattentive ADHD. The person with inattentive ADHD needs to show signs of inattention or distractibility without hyperactivity or impulsiveness.

A child with this type of ADHD may be diagnosed if they lose focus or are side-tracked easily, dislike tasks that take a lot of time, do not follow instructions, ignore a speaker, are forgetful in daily activities, etc.

  • Combined ADHD

A person who shows common symptoms of both primarily inattention and primarily hyperactive-impulsive ADHD has combined ADHD.

Note: Adults with ADHD may show different symptoms than children due to physical differences and the level of maturity.

In addition to understanding the types of ADHD, it’s important to learn how the symptoms differ from those of ADD.

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

Previously, ADD was used to describe primarily inattentive ADHD. In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association released the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), and updated the criteria of the ADD diagnosis.

Common symptoms of ADD included is organization and forgetfulness. Those with this condition are not impulsive or hyperactive.

Even if a person is diagnosed with ADHD, the severity of symptoms they experience varies.

Severity Of ADHD Symptoms

Depending on the person’s physiology and external environment, the symptoms of ADHD can range from mild to severe. While performing tasks they aren’t interested in, some people experience only mild inattentiveness or hyperactivity.  They can, however, focus on the tasks they prefer.

On the other end of the spectrum, people who suffer from severe symptoms find that their school, work, and social lives are affected.

The severity of symptoms is also different depending on the type of group situation a person is in. If the situation is structured, for example, in a classroom, the degree of severity may be low.  On the other hand, unstructured or chaotic situations can significantly increase symptoms.

Alternative Treatments for ADHD

Taking prescription medication to manage ADHD symptoms carries a number of risks. From substance abuse to a compromised cardiovascular system, using medication to treat ADHD is ill-advised for many people with the condition.

Instead, consider alternative treatments and natural remedies for attention hyperactivity deficit disorder.

For a drug-free solution to ADHD, consider the Concentrainer. The Concentrainer is a non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical treatment to help manage the symptoms of ADHD and increase blood flow to the prefrontal cortex.

About the author



I’m Nancy and no, I didn’t always look like I do in that picture on the right. My foray into health and fitness began as a brace-faced, 16 year-old who was too afraid to wear a two-piece at the beach because I felt my body paled in comparison to my much more toned friends.

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