man holding head dealing with ADD vs ADHD


ADHD treatment programs are quite often part of drug and alcohol treatment. We are frequently asked to explain ADD vs ADHD by our clients. Many received a diagnosis of one or the other as kids, but others are just getting a diagnosis for the first time as adults, and the terms can be confusing. Since the late 1980s, the word ADD has been dropped from use, and ADHD covers three variations of this disorder. While initially considered to be two separate disorders, today, it is commonly thought that there are three subtypes of ADHD, and there is no longer ADD vs ADHD. Let’s explore the subtypes.

ADHD vs ADD and Subtypes

Three subtypes of ADHD exist. These are thought to be inattentive, hyperactive, and a combination of the two.

People initially labeled inattentive subtype as ADD. Traits exhibited by those with this type include:

  • Fails to look closely at things and makes careless mistakes
  • Has difficulty paying attention
  • Often seems not to be listening
  • Doesn’t follow through on instructions and fails to finish tasks
  • Exhibits difficulty organizing tasks or managing time
  • Avoids tasks that require extreme attention
  • Loses things regularly
  • Distracted easily
  • Often forgetful in everyday tasks

With the hyperactive/impulsive version of ADHD, you will see symptoms such as:

  • Constant fidgeting with hands/feet
  • Inability to remain seated for long
  • Difficulty playing or working quietly
  • Excessive talking
  • Has trouble waiting for a turn
  • Blurts out answers or comments/interrupts
  • Seems driven and unable to stop an activity

Professionals diagnose the combined version of the disorder when a person exhibits at least six symptoms from both of these lists. Often adults who have not been diagnosed as children grow up and feel they are somehow inadequate in life. Our individualized mental health treatment programs turn this around to leave you excited for your sober life.

Getting a Diagnosis

Someone diagnosed with ADHD will exhibit at least six of the traits listed above. These traits need to be present since childhood. They also need to have been seen over many places such as school, work, home, and in public. In the past, the thought existed that a person could outgrow ADHD. This is not the case. Adults present some of the behaviors differently. Our addiction treatment programs will assess your mental health as well as addiction problems.

For example, a consistently late, disorganized person fits into the inattentive subtype. Someone with the hyperactive type may find themselves constantly on the go with little need for sleep, and they often pace and find sitting for meetings very difficult. They may speak without thinking and have the reputation of being blunt.

ADD vs ADHD Does it Matter?

While the name itself is unimportant, knowing which subtype of the disorder, you have can make a great deal of difference during treatment. It is often the impulsive aspect that leads a person to try drugs at the start while the wish to try and stay focused may have led you to try a different drug or alcohol. Knowing the why behind the addiction is often one of the best starts in getting clean. You learn what you can and can’t control and can develop ways to compensate for the things that you find difficult. Knowing you are not defective can raise your self-esteem, making it easier to stay on track to a clean and sober life.

You Have One Advantage

Here at Promises Behavioral Health, we focus on one trait of ADHD that can be a great advantage. People with this disorder become super-focused when engaged in an activity they find important. Contact us to see how this works well as you focus on recovery. If you believe you may have ADHD, whatever the subtype, we can help. Call 844.875.5609 today to find your way on a brighter path tomorrow.

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