ADD Explained

Have you been asking any of these questions?

What exactly is Attention Deficit Disorder?

What is the difference between ADD and ADHD?

Why is the “H” in ADHD often left out?

Do I have ADD?

Does my client/student have ADD?

If you have been asking any of these questions to yourself you are in the right place.  Whether you are a professional in the field, or an AD(H)D/LD youth/adult this information is for you. For your convenience, it has been carefully laid out into two different categories: Definition: What is Attention Deficit Disorder?, and two Interactive Attention Deficit Disorder checklists (from the Amen Clinic) to give you an idea of whether or not you, or a client/student of yours, needs to seek diagnosis.  You can link to anyone of these categories with the click of your mouse button or pick from the topic list below.

Important Disclaimer:

The following information is in no way intended to be used for diagnostic purposes or to replace qualified professional advice and/or assessment.

Please Pick a Topic:

Definition: What is Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)?

Interactive Attention Deficit Disorder tests

Definition:  What is Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)?

Attention Deficit Disorder is a biologically based condition causing a persistent pattern of difficulties resulting in one or more of the the following behaviors:

  • Inattention
  • Hyperactivity
  • Impulsivity


difficulty attending or focusing on a specific task. People with Attention Deficit Disorder may become distracted within a matter of minutes. Inattentive behavior may also cause difficulties with staying organized (e.g. losing things), keeping track of time, completing tasks, and making careless errors.


difficulty inhibiting behavior. These people are in constant motion. They may engage in excessive fiddling, leg swinging, and squirming in their chair.


difficulty controlling impulses. These people do not stop and think before they act. They say and do whatever comes into their mind without thinking about the consequences. They might say something inappropriate and regret it later, blurt out a response to question before a person is done speaking to them, or have difficulty waiting for their turn in line.

ADD or ADHD – What’s the Difference?

Clinically, the term ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. A person may either be diagnosed with ADHD or ADD depending on whether they are hyperactive or not. It is possible for someone to have ADD without being hyperactive.   To accommodate this possibility, ADHD is often written with brackets around the “H” (i.e. AD(H)D). You may also see it written as AD/HD. There are generally three types of AD(H)D:

  • Combined Type (hyperactive, impulsive, inattentive)
  • Inattentive Type
  • Hyperactive, Impulsive Type

Around the web, in the media, and the general public you will often hear/see ADD used  as a generic term to describe the whole disability. You may also notice that many people with ADD have developed their own unique terminology to describe themselves (e.g. “ADD’ers” or “ADDults”).

Read more about sub-types of AD/HD