What’s the difference between ADD and ADHD?

Have you ever walked into a room and forgotten why you went there in the first place? Or maybe you started cleaning your desk, only to end up deep-diving into an old photo album for an hour? We’ve all been there, but when these occurrences are frequent and disruptive, they might be signs of something more specific than just a quirky forgetfulness—like ADD or ADHD.

Here’s a small history lesson.
Earlier, Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD was the term for people who lacked focus. But as time went by, this term evolved and research showed that it needed to encompass more than just attention. That’s when ADD expanded to ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
ADHD is an umbrella term that has three main subtypes.
  1. Inattentive Type (formerly known as ADD)
    These folks have difficulty holding onto thoughts long enough to act on them.   The inattentive type involves poor focus and information processing and high distractibility.
  2. Hyperactive-Impulsive Type
    This is for those who are always on the move, have high energy, and may act without thinking. They’re often the life of the party but might also click “send” on an email too soon. Hyperactive-impulsive ADHD involves constant movement, low self-control and difficulty in staying calm.
  3. Combined Type
    As the name suggests, this type includes symptoms of both of the other types. These individuals get distracted easily and also can’t sit still.

So, What’s the Big Difference?

While ADD and ADHD might seem like two sides of the same coin, the key difference lies in the hyperactivity component.

Diagnosing and Managing Your ADHD

Diagnosis usually involves a thorough evaluation, including assessments, verbal testing, and checking for comorbidities that are common to show up with ADHD, personal childhood history and family history. In case a child is being diagnosed, the diagnosis process includes information from them, their guardians, and teachers. Managing ADHD varies from individual to individual. While some may require medication, others need therapy and ADHD coaching for the right tools and support. Usually, strategies are tailored to each person’s unique brain wiring. Whether setting up systems to stay organised or using tools to remain focused, each strategy helps harness the power of an ADHD brain.
Focusing on practical techniques and positive lifestyle changes can greatly enhance the ability to manage ADHD symptoms.
Here are some effective strategies and tips:
–  Structured Routines: Establishing a daily routine helps to reduce chaos and provides a structured framework that can make tasks more manageable. This includes activities like eating, sleeping, working, relaxing, and even socialising to some extent to make your routine predictable.

–  Time Management Tools: Using planners, digital calendars, or apps that help with time management can streamline a lot of daily tasks. Breaking each activity into smaller and manageable parts with set deadlines can also help prevent overwhelm and maintain focus.

–  Social Support: Having a supportive network, including friends, family, and experts like therapists and coaches who can support people with ADHD in a way that works for them.

–  Setting Clear Goals & Accountability: Set realistic, clear goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). This framework helps keep individuals with ADHD focused and motivated.

–  Professional Help: Regular consultations with an ADHD Coach can be beneficial.
An ADHD coach can work with individuals to identify which of these strategies best aligns with their personal needs and lifestyle, ensuring that each person finds the best approach to managing their ADHD effectively.

Understanding how ADHD works can be beneficial in more ways than one. It helps you find ways to cope while making you aware of the superpowers that come with it. Individuals with ADHD are often amazing with creative activities, problem-solving and thinking out of the box. After all, thinking inside the box is difficult when you can’t sit still enough to find it!

If you’ve seen a bit of yourself in this blog or know someone who would, remember that you aren’t alone. A whole community is here to support you and help you excel in life! All you need to do is reach out.

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