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The Difference Between ADD and ADHD

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is the umbrella disorder, encompassing three sub-groups. These three groups are defined as follows: * ADD Inattentive Type A main characteristic of inattentive behavior is the inability to concentrate and focus. This lack of attention may only be noticed when a child enters the challenging environment of school. This is not classified as ADHD, as hyperactivity is not present. * ADD Hyperactive/Impulsive Type A child with hyperactive and impulsive behavior is commonly 'all over the place' and very active (both mentally and physically), making hasty decisions at any moment. This is classified as Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder ADHD as hyperactivity is present. * ADD Combined Type ADD child symptoms of inattentive type are combined with the symptoms of hyperactive/impulsive type. This is the most common form of ADD. A child with more than six ADD combined type symptoms should have a comprehensive evaluation. This is classified as ADHD, as hyperactivity is present.

How Does ADD Manifest in Children?

Children (under 12 years of age) with attention deficit disorder lack the ability to focus and concentrate. Attention deficit disorder in children affects daily functioning, as they may have difficulty in completing their school work and are often in trouble with parents and teachers. This is similar to adults with ADD who often experience problems at work or in relationships. Usually, ADD child symptoms will appear over the course of many months rather than all at once. If the appearance of these symptoms is not managed correctly, it can lead to low self-esteem and other behavioral problems in the years to come. Children who have ADD of the inattentive type are not hyperactive. However, they may have a hard time keeping their minds on any one thing and may get bored after only a few minutes on a task. If they are doing something they really enjoy, they may have no trouble paying attention. However, focusing deliberate, conscious attention to organizing and completing a task or learning something new is very difficult.

Diagnosing ADD in Children

Many of the techniques and principles used to diagnose attention deficit disorder in children are the same as those used to diagnose the adults with ADD, including teens.
To assess whether a child has ADD or is displaying ADD child symptoms, specialists consider several critical questions:

  • Are these behaviors excessive, long-term, and pervasive?
  • Do they affect the ability to perform life tasks?
  • Do these behaviors occur more often than in other people the same age?
  • Are they a continuous problem and not just a response to a temporary situation?
  • Do the behaviors occur in several settings, or only in one specific place like the playground or at home?

It is often very difficult to diagnose ADD in young children below 5 years of age. This is because many preschool children have some symptoms of the disorder in various situations. In addition, children change very rapidly during the preschool years. Since children mature at different rates and are very different in personality, temperament, and energy levels, it is useful to get an expert's opinion of whether the behavior is appropriate for the child's age.

What Causes ADD in Children?

One of the first questions a parent will ask is "Why is this affecting my child? What went wrong?" or even, "Did I do something to cause this?"

When correctly diagnosed, there is little evidence that ADD can arise purely from social factors or child-rearing methods. Most substantiated causes appear to fall in the realm of neurobiology and genetics. Environmental factors may influence the severity of the disorder, and especially the degree of suffering the child may experience. However, these factors do not seem to give rise to the condition by themselves. Experts in the field are finding more and more evidence that legitimate ADD does not stem from the home environment,but from biological causes. Knowing this can remove a huge burden of guilt from parents who might blame themselves for their child's behavior. The exact cause of ADD in children is not known, although researchers continue to study the brain for clues. They suspect that there are several factors that may contributeto the condition, including:
  • Heredity and genetics: The fact that ADD tends to run in families suggests that children may inherit a genetic tendency to develop an attention-deficit disorder from their parents. Studies indicate that 25 percent of the close relatives in the families of ADD children also have ADD, whereas the rate is about 5 percent in the general population.
  • Many studies of twins now show that a strong genetic influence exists in the disorder. The relatives of ADD children (both boys and girls) have much higher rates of ADD, anti-social, mood, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders than the families of non-ADD children..
  • Chemical imbalance: Children who have ADD may not make enough chemicals in key areas of the brain that are responsible for organizing thought. Experts believe an imbalance of the chemicals that helps nerve cells in the brain communicate with each other, called neurotransmitters, may be a factor in the development of ADD symptoms. Without enough of these chemicals, the organizing centers of the brain don't work well.
  • Brain changes: Areas of the brain that control attention are less active in children with ADD than in children without the disorder.

Help for Children with ADD

Children with ADD are often treated using conventional prescription medications. Many medications on the market, like Adderal can cause adverse side effects in the patient. Acupuncture can help as an adjunct treatment of ADD and ADHD, and with the side effects associated with the medications.. There are also other alternative treatment options available for children with attention deficit disorder. Making simple changes in diet, sleep, exercise and routine can also help. Even trying more involved approaches like incorporating relaxation therapies such as guided imagery, meditation techniques, or yoga can be beneficial. There are many herbal and homeopathic remedies which can help maintain harmony, health and systemic balance in the brain and nervous system, without side effects or sedation. These products are known for their supportive function in maintaining brain, nervous system, circulatory health, and well-being.

How Does ADD Manifest in Adults?

Those experiencing adult ADD ADHD symptoms may find it hard to follow directions, remember information, concentrate, organize tasks, or complete work within time limits. If these difficulties are not managed appropriately, they can cause associated behavioral, social, emotional, vocational, and academic problems