ADD ADHD Difference
A Critical Distinction

What is the ADD ADHD difference? The difference between ADD and ADHD is often misunderstood. We explain the difference between ADD ADHD so you can make the most informed decisions regarding the treatment of ADD and ADHD.

There are many differences between ADD and ADHD. The basic ones are as follows:

1. Difference between ADD ADHD-The Brain:

ADD: The parietal lobe is affected while the frontal lobes are processing normally.

ADHD: The size and structure of many brain areas differs; especially, a lack of activity in the frontal area (hypofrontality).

This is linked to an insufficiency of the neurotransmitters dopamine and nor-epinephrine which are involved with stimulation and alertness. Low serotonin is linked to impulsivity and problematic behavior.

2. Main Symptoms:

ADD: The most obvious ADD ADHD difference is that individuals with ADD struggle more with fear, anxiety, low brain energy, slow cognitive thinking, daydreaming, mental confusion and poor memory retrieval.

ADHD: ADHD symptoms center more around lack of attention, impulsivity and hyperactivity.

3. Hyperactivity:

ADD: In relation to hyperactivity, the difference between ADD and ADHD is profound. ADD individuals typically only show hyperactive symptoms only due to anxiety. Otherwise, hyperactivity is not a symptom of ADD

ADHD: Due to motor activity, ADHD children crave excitement and hyperactivity. They seem to be restless all the time without any reason.

4. Communication Issues:

ADD: Another area of ADD ADHD difference is in the way they communicate. Children and adults with ADD are often lost in their thoughts, frequently daydreaming, not very verbal. They may have a fear of sharing things and showing anger.

ADHD: These children on the other hand are overly talkative. They seem to have some verbal outflow that is unstoppable.

5. Social Issues:


ADD: Another difference is seen in how ADD individuals interact with others compared to those with ADHD.

ADD children may be shy, withdrawn and immature. They are often seen and not heard. Information processing difficulties lead to not knowing how to talk, dress, act, etc.

Conversation is difficult because of slow thinking or missed information; they learn to manipulate because of fear of others’. They often experience anger or guilt about asking directly. They may interrupt because their wandering thoughts will cause them to forget what they want to say and may appear to not be listening but this is really due to the person’s information processing deficit.

ADHD: The difference between ADD and ADHD may be obvious here. ADHD children tend to be egocentric. They do not connect with others because they don’t care. Many times these children are rejected socially because of inappropriate behavior. They are intolerant and can become abusive. Because they cannot negotiate, they manipulate others.

They frequently interrupt because of impulsivity and lack of self control. And they do not listen because of attention difficulties and lack of concern for others.

6. Learning Problems:

ADD: Their information processing is poor because information is missed. This is a huge ADD ADHD difference. Their difficulties in slow cognition are common but once they understand the material they can use it.

Reading and spelling be difficult because of weak phonemic skills. Mental arithmetic and geometry can also present problems.

ADHD: May have learning disabilities (e.g. dyslexia) because of differences in brain functionality. Learning difficulties caused by the ADHD include missing information, and failing to learn from ones mistakes. They can often comprehend information but cannot make use of it.

ADHD children, however, are usually extremely intelligent and have the ability to master all subjects in school. Learn more about ADHD and learning disabilities on our myth of learning disabilities in ADHD page.

7. Extreme Behaviors:

Both ADD and ADHD are characterized by extreme behaviors. However, the difference between ADD and ADHD is clearly seen by the difference in behaviors that accompany each one.

ADD: Being withdrawn and an extreme lack of self confidence are typical with ADD.

ADHD: ADHD often includes excessive talking due to anxiety, hyperactivity, alcohol/ drugs to self-medicate for anxiety and the need for continual movement.

8. Criminal and Suicidal Tendency:

ADD: Individuals with ADD are not as at risk for criminal behavior as people with ADHD because they have a better understanding of the consequences to their action. They also have fewer suicidal tendencies.

ADHD: More suicidal tendencies as they are more impulsive. Individuals with ADHD rarely think things through to see the outcome of their behavior. A lack of internal rules to govern behavior may lead to criminal activity.

Understanding the difference between ADD and ADHD will help lead you to solutions to the ADD/ADHD behavior that is so concerning for parents.

You may want to visit our ADHD Natural Treatment page to learn about some herbal formulas that are designed to help with the anxiety and hyperactivity of ADHD as well as help improve concentration and alertness for ADD children.

More than ADHD/ADD differences on our introduction to ADHD page.

Parenting Skills

Because ADHD children often exhibit behavior that is difficult to deal with, effective parenting skills are critically important.

Read our review of the Total Transformation Program to learn about what many parents have found to be one of the most beneficial tools they have available to them in raising healthy and balanced ADHD children.

Reader Reviews

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Read the reviews that other visitors to ADHDchildparenting.com have submitted on our ADD ADHD alternative treatment reviews page.

Things You Should Know

Properly formulated herbal and homeopathic treatments help with anxiety, concentration and hyperactivity. Read our Herbs for ADHD page to learn more.

    3 Requirements for Reducing ADHD Symptoms Without Medication

      Diet-High protein, few processed carbs
      Sleep-Consistent 10-12 hours/night
      Structure-Sleep, schoolwork, consistent discipline