Difference Between ADD and ADHD in Adults


Attention Deficit Disorder is commonly found among children, but it’s not just for kids. If you were diagnoses with ADD or ADHD as a child, chances are it didn’t go away when you became an adult. Even if you were never diagnosed with it before, that doesn’t mean you don’t have it.

As your responsibilities increase into adulthood, you may find it more and more difficult to keep all of the balls you’re juggling in the air. Everyone has times when they feel overwhelmed or find it impossible to stay focused. But if this happens to you more frequently than others that you know, you may have ADD or ADHD.

Terminology and Meaning

Many people get confused with the terms ADD and ADHD. If you have trouble figuring out the difference between the two, you are not alone. The truth is, the two terms do refer to the same disorder. ADD is an older term that is less commonly used know. ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is becoming the standard term.

Different Types of Conditions

ADD or ADHD has three different types. The first is inattentive. A person with this disorder will find themselves easily distracted and forgetful. They often make careless mistakes by not paying attention to details. They are often losing or misplacing things and usually lack organization. This is what was originally referred to as ADD.

Before ADHD came into use, people could be diagnosed with ADD with or without hyperactivity. Hyperactivity involves an inability to sit still, excessive talking, trouble taking turns, and interrupting. This is now called ADHD.

It is possible for a person to have either of these conditions or both. It is not a matter of having the willpower or the self discipline to sit down and pay attention. Rather, it is a chemical imbalance in the brain that makes such tasks impossible.

Symptoms and Condition

In adults, ADHD is often less disruptive than it is in children. Often symptoms include zoning out frequently or bouncing from task to task. Poor listening skills are another symptom of adult ADHD.

One unexpected symptom of adult ADHD is hyperfocus. This is believed to be a coping mechanism for being easily distracted. In this scenario, a person tunes out any outside stimuli so completely that everything else ceases to exist. This can lead to losing track of time and missing other responsibilities.

ADD/ADHD is a lot more than just a bunch of hyper kids running around. It can be a very disruptive force in a personal’s life and can affect adults just as easily as children. ADD, though still in use by many people out of habit, is slowly being phased out of medical talk. ADHD is now being used to refer to all types of attention deficit disorders, with or without hyperactivity.