ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder is a general term that describes those individuals who are suffering with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) but do not exhibit the hyperactivity and impulsivity characteristics of the disorder. Ironically, the terms ADD and ADHD are oftentimes used interchangeably depending on whether or not the individual exhibits the hyperactivity and impulsivity symptoms.
The DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fourth Edition) lists three different types of ADHD while that is the official name of the disorder that the APA or American Psychological Association has given it. There are three primary types of ADD/ADHD:
Combination type - contains all three elements of the ADD/ADHD disorder namely hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and inattentiveness
Hyperactive-Impulsive type - although there are problems involving hyperactivity and impulsiveness, there are no noticeable issues with inattentiveness
Inattentive type - oftentimes referred to as ADD instead of ADHD as the inattentiveness is present, but the child does not exhibit hyperactive and impulsive behavior patterns
As you can readily see, the differentiation between the two is most commonly based on the inclusion or omission of the hyperactivity and impulsivity characteristics.
Getting the proper diagnosis
There are six steps that you can take in order to get a proper diagnose of the disorder so that an effective treatment regimen can be prescribed:
Get the help of a licensed clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, or social worker to conduct a series of tests in order to come up with the proper diagnosis.
Look for symptoms and warning signs of the three types of ADD/ADHD (see above) that separate one from the other. Some of them may be shared between them while others will be more specific to each one.
Watch for issues involving the making of careless errors, paying attention, and sustaining that attention once you have it. Additionally, the child will exhibit difficulties with organizing their paperwork, personal belongings, and tasks.
Do they have difficulties remembering date and time sensitive obligations or tasks? Do they frequently lose or misplace their homework, toys, or other objects? These characteristics typically indicate the presence of the Inattentive Type of ADD/ADHD.
Evaluate your child's behavior in order to discover if they are displaying any symptoms of the Hyperactive/Impulsive Type of the disorder. This will include symptoms such as excessive talking, fidgeting, the inability to stay seated for any time period, interrupting ongoing conversations, and making unnecessary noises. Additionally, you should make a note of the child having difficulties while spending time in the classroom including blurting out the answer to a question, remaining quiet, or just waiting for a turn.
Although you never want to assume anything, you should consider the possibility that your child has the Combined Type of ADD/ADHD, especially if they are displaying the other symptoms in varying degrees of severity.
On a closing note, it is best to anticipate that it is the Inattentive Type because it is the more common diagnosis in adults as well as children, especially in females due to the fact that society does not find ADD/ADHD behavior acceptable in young girls or adults.