While ADD (attention deficit disorder) and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) share similar symptoms, ADHD includes symptoms ADD does not including hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. A child or adult suffering from ADD may have trouble focusing and appear bored but do not tend to be fidgety and constantly disruptive. ADHD, on the other hand, is noticeably different since the child or adult suffering from this disorder not only has trouble focusing but is also prone to frequent outbursts, the inability to sit still, speaking out of turn, interrupting others and being constantly on the move. Recognizing the impulsivity and hyperactivity in a child can be a big help in diagnosing a case of ADHD.
Recently the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) has identified three types of ADHD: predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive and a combined type. With predominantly inattentive type ADHD those suffering from the disorder will show signs of inattention but not much in terms of impulsive behavior and hyperactivity. Some refer to this type as ADD and the person with it will have difficulty paying attention, finishing tasks or following directions from a parent or teacher. People with ADD can be easily distracted, get bored quickly and are frequently losing things, forgetting and appearing disorganized. Those who suffer from predominantly inattentive ADHD will appear sluggish and may seem slow in processing information or responding to questions.
Children and adults that have predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type ADHD don't necessarily display problems with attention but are prone to acting without thinking, frequent and inappropriate outbursts, excessive talking, interrupting others, have trouble sitting still and will lose interest in a task or project before it is finished, often moving on to something else. People who suffer from this type of ADHD will appear to be perpetually on the move and have difficulty relaxing, sitting still and focusing on tasks that don't directly interest them.
The third type is a combination of inattention with hyperactivity and impulsive behavior, the traditional diagnosis of ADHD. While the symptoms of ADHD can be easy to detect in children it is also a disorder that affects adults and older people who have ADHD may show symptoms that include procrastination, disorganized work habits, being easily distracted and the habit of making careless mistakes. The hyperactivity of an adult may make them appear to be multi-tasking but each task is probably only being done half-way since the person's mind is constantly wandering to the other tasks they have started.
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