Defined: Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD)

By The BroglieBox Team
5 min read

Attention-Deficit Disorder/Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD) are disorders marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development. ADD/ADHD are the most common childhood disorders with an estimated 6.4 million diagnosed children in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionTrusted Source. Adults too, can have ADD/ADHD.

This condition is sometimes called attention deficit disorder (ADD), but this is an outdated term. The term was once used to refer to someone who had trouble focusing but was not hyperactive. The American Psychiatric Association released the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) in May 2013. The DSM-5 changed the criteria to diagnose someone with ADHD.

There are three types of ADHD:

1. Inattentive

Inattentive ADHD is what’s usually meant when someone uses the term ADD. This means a person shows enough symptoms of inattention (or easy distractibility) but isn’t hyperactive or impulsive. Inattention, or trouble focusing, is one symptom of ADHD. A doctor may diagnose a child as inattentive if the child:

  • is easily distracted
  • is forgetful, even in daily activities
  • is unable to give close attention to details in school work or other activities and makes careless mistakes
  • has trouble keeping attention on tasks or activities
  • ignores a speaker, even when spoken to directly
  • doesn’t follow instructions
  • fails to finish schoolwork or chores
  • loses focus or is easily side-tracked
  • has trouble with organization
  • dislikes and avoids tasks that require long periods of mental effort, such as homework
  • loses vital things needed for tasks and activities

2. Hyperactive/impulsive

This type occurs when a person has symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity but not inattention. A doctor may diagnose a child as hyperactive or impulsive if the child:

  • appears to be always on the go
  • talks excessively
  • has severe difficulty waiting for their turn
  • squirms in their seat, taps their hands or feet, or fidgets
  • gets up from a seat when expected to remain seated
  • runs around or climbs in inappropriate situations
  • is unable to quietly play or take part in leisure activities
  • blurts out an answer before someone finishes asking a question
  • intrudes on and interrupts others constantly

3. Combined

Combined ADHD is when a person has symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are important symptoms for an ADHD diagnosis. In addition, a child or adult must meet the following criteria to be diagnosed with ADHD:

  • displays several symptoms before the age of 12
  • has symptoms in more than one setting, such as school, at home, with friends, or during other activities
  • shows clear evidence that the symptoms interfere with their functioning at school, work, or in social situations
  • has symptoms that are not explained by another condition, such as mood or anxiety disorders

Determining your type of ADHD puts you one step closer to finding the right treatment. Be sure to discuss all your symptoms with your doctor so you get an accurate diagnosis.


BroglieBox, LLC is not a licensed therapy service. BroglieBox, LLC is not intended to replace professional treatment. 

At this time, we can recommend the below resources: 
Talk Space or Better Help (Online/Virtual Therapy)
The Buddy Project (For loneliness and peer support)
Crisis Text Line (For Depression and Self Harm)
Suicide Prevention Hotline (For Self Harm and Suicide Prevention)

Light Therapy (Mayo Clinic)

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