At first glance the difference between Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder is obvious: Hyperactivity. But is it that simple? Is ADD simply ADHD without the hyperactivity. the DSM-IV (the diagnostic bible) defines three types of ADHD. The predominantly inattentive subtype (ADD), the hyperactive-impulsive subtype (ADHD) and the combined subtype. The combined subtype tends to get rolled up into ADHD.
The research into the difference between the three types is complicated with no clear answer emerging. Some studies have found that people with ADD require more assistance in class and perform less well on certain cognitive tasks. Longitudinal studies on children with ADD or ADHD have found that people with ADD are more likely to suffer anxiety related mental health problems. This may be a natural difference between introverted and extroverted people or it may be directly connect to the ADD.
In a study using actigraphs (watch like devices that measure the amount the wear moves) found no difference between the different sub-types. In fact, during the morning there was no difference between the ADHD children and the non-ADHD children. Only in the afternoon did the non-ADHD children slow down.
The cerebellum and poor motor skills has been linked with ADHD and research suggests that the different types of ADD / ADHD do have different levels of motor skills. An Australian study found that children with ADD and combined ADHD had worse motor control than those with straight ADHD. This may indicate a fundamental difference between the two types or it may be that the hyperactive child’s learns more control over their body because they are moving around more.
There also appears to be a gender difference between ADD and ADHD. Girls are more likely to be diagnosed as ADD than boys. Is this a difference between the ADD and ADHD or is it that in our society it seems as normal for boys to boisterous and girls to sit quietly?
At the moment it is hard to say for certain if ADD really is different from ADHD. Even if they are different, it is not clear if they are subtypes of the same problem or two seperate problems needing different approaches to treatment.
Previously on Myomancy:
Boys, Girls, Reading and ADHD. How They Are Connected
Does ADHD Exist?
Comprehensive evaluation of attention deficit disorder with and without hyperactivity as defined by research criteria.
Psychiatric, Neuropsychological, and Psychosocial Features of DSM-IV Subtypes of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Results From a Clinically Referred Sample.
Does Actigraphy Differentiate ADHD Subtypes in a Clinical Research Setting?
Fine and gross motor ability in males with ADHD
A chart review study of the Inattentive and Combined Types of ADHD