Is There a Difference Between ADD and ADHD?

There’s a lot of information out there about ADD and ADHD, but how much of it is correct?

In this article, we’ll do our best to correct the record and explain the similarities and differences between ADD and ADHD. We’ll also talk about the symptoms, how you get diagnosed, and how you treat these conditions as well.

What’s the Difference Between ADD & ADHD? 


When it comes to popular medical conditions, there’s both official and unofficial terminology.

Additionally, as we learn more and more about certain conditions, we start to have more nuanced conversations about them.

When it comes to defining attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention deficit disorder, we need to keep these two facts in mind. That’s because the medical community now considers ADD to be a type of ADHD with a specific set of symptoms.

So while some people may refer to their specific condition as ADD, and you may hear doctors call it ADD when talking conversationally with patients, in reality, the person with the condition has ADHD that presents in a specific way.

In fact, many consider the term ADD to be outdated at this point, even if it still appears in conversations.

What Are The Symptoms Of ADD Vs ADHD?


ADHD can present in multiple ways. Not everyone who has ADHD has the same symptoms, but many will see overlap between themselves and others with ADHD. Additionally, the kind of ADHD you’re diagnosed with will partially depend on the symptoms you’re diagnosed with.

  • Impulsiveness - People with ADHD tend to “follow the dopamine” meaning that they tend to gravitate towards whatever seems interesting and enjoyable at the moment.

  • Problems prioritizing tasks - People with ADHD have a hard time figuring out what needs to get done in a day and properly planning out when and how they’ll go about finishing their tasks.

  • Poor time management - People with ADHD tend to underestimate how long it’ll take them to finish a given task, meaning that they frequently over-schedule themselves. This can lead to a feeling of being overwhelmed which leads to stress and an additional reduction in productivity.

  • Trouble multitasking - People with ADHD often hyperfocus on whatever is giving them pleasure at the moment. This is good for specific kinds of tasks, but can be a major distraction in other ways.

  • Restlessness - People with ADHD often have a sense of antsy-ness about them. Whether it’s tapping their foot while sitting, swaying side-to-side, or constant fidgeting, many people with ADHD have a hard time sitting still as their brain is constantly encouraging them to “chase the dopamine.”

  • Low tolerance/easily frustrated - People with ADHD can be easily frustrated if something doesn’t work out the first time. That’s because their brains have a hard time doing repetitive work. So if something requires practice or multiple iterations, it may be difficult for them to focus long enough to get it right.

  • Problems completing tasks - People with ADHD almost always have long to-do lists and even longer need-to-finish lists. That’s because a lot of the tasks we do in our day-to-day lives are fairly repetitive and therefore hard to focus on.

  • Problems coping with stress - When you’re aware of the growing list of tasks on your to-do list but can’t seem to muster up the energy or focus to accomplish them in a timely manner, it’s easy to start stressing out.

People with ADHD’s “ADD” symptoms normally present with a mic of hyperactive and impulsive symptoms while not presenting with the other symptoms listed above.

How Do You Find Out If You Have ADD Vs ADHD? 


Although you may identify strongly with one or more of the above-mentioned symptoms, you still need to be diagnosed by a professional mental health or medical professional. The first step is understanding the difference between add and adhd.

ADHD and ADD diagnoses require multiple kinds of tests because a lot of the symptoms of both ADHD vs ADD are also symptoms for other conditions such as depression, anxiety, learning and language deficits, and many other conditions.

To receive an official diagnosis, you’ll have to do some mix of the following:

  • Physical medical exam - A physical exam will help rule out other possible causes of your symptoms that may not be related to an ADHD diagnosis.

  • Questionnaires - Questionnaires help get a more complete history of you, your symptoms, family medical history, and an overall better understanding of your day-to-day life. You can find a Free ADHD test here.

  • Psychological testing - Your doctor or psychologist may want to conduct some other tests for additional verification before giving you an official diagnosis.


Whether you’re diagnosed at Trifecta or elsewhere, medical professionals will help determine the best path to a proper diagnosis for you.


What Are The Treatments For ADD And ADHD


It’s important to remember that there is no cure for ADHD, but there are treatments that can help you better manage your symptoms. Symptom management will make it easier for you to function in a world that wasn’t built for people with ADHD or ADD.

Some possible treatment options include the following:

  • Therapy/Counseling - Cognitive therapy can help you learn skill sets you may have missed out on due to your condition. Being able to properly think through your day and how to approach tasks will help you better manage your condition.

  • Medication (Non-stimulants) - There are certain non-stimulant medications, including some anti-depressants, that have been shown to help people with ADHD symptoms.

  • Medication (Stimulants) - Stimulant medications such as Ritalin are commonly used to help manage one’s focus.

While treatments are helpful and most likely necessary, it’s probably worth noting that you should be building systems that help you better manage your life. These systems will work with the way your brain works naturally and help improve your overall quality of life when used in conjunction with more formal treatments.

These systems may include some of the following:

  • Use a timer - A lot of people find it’s easier to work on tasks with a timer instead of working on them until the task is done. For example, if you need to clean your kitchen, set a 30-minute timer. That gives you a reason to quit before feeling overwhelmed while staying productive during the life of the timer.

  • Build routines - Life is easier when you try to make it a habit to wake up and go to sleep in the same way. Building routines that automate a lot of the thinking will make it easier for you to focus on what’s important than having to check off boxes on more menial tasks that don’t let you “follow the dopamine.”

  • Work with friends - A lot of people are worried that if they tell their friends and family that they’ve been diagnosed with ADHD that they’ll be treated differently. But it’s also possible that those who care about you will ask you what they can do to help. It’s quite possible that reaching out and asking for help is one of the best things you can do in your own life.

A therapist or other medical expert can help you determine which course of action is best for managing your ADHD. Talk to your ADHD doctor online about what seems to work what doesn’t so they can help you make the necessary changes to adapt.

Get The Help You Need For Your ADD And ADHD

No matter how many ADD Vs ADHD symptoms you’re experiencing, Trifecta Health is here to help

If you’re looking to get diagnosed or treated, we can help you manage your condition so that you can live a manageable, productive life.

There’s really no need to wait any longer. Get the help you’ve been looking for.

Contact us today at (212) 233-2838 or Book Online!