ADD stands for a condition known as Attention Deficit Disorder. In everyday use, ADD and ADHD are typically interchangeable. ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Recently, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th Edition) has reframed the general term of ADD into three subcategories of ADHD: the inattentive type, the impulsivity type and the hyperactive type. ADD and ADHD are considered to be among the most prominent childhood disorders known and are believed to affect three to five percent of children that are of school age. It is not currently well-understood what leads to ADD but the condition has been known to run in families. Though ADD is commonly viewed as a childhood disorder, its effects can last well into adulthood. Children or adults with ADD are also more likely to have at least one or more other mental disorders, including but not limited to depression, learning disorders, insomnia and bipolar disorder. Due to its relatively new discovery, ADD can often go unnoticed and undiagnosed for long periods of time. Despite its cultural stereotypes, ADD is not a disease. It is a condition that can be diagnosed and treated. With time, sufferers can cope with every day stresses and requirements just as well or better than their neuro-typical peers.
To get a better idea of what ADD really is, one must look at the symptoms. However, it is widely known and accepted that ADD cannot and should not be diagnosed or treated without the help of a professional doctor. ADD symptoms often begin to show themselves very early in life, often as young as the preschool years. A sufferer of ADD will fail to give close attention to detail and make careless mistakes. He or she will not seem to listen when spoken to directly and will find difficulty continuing to pay attention during tasks or play. Other ADD symptoms include avoiding or disliking tasks that require continuous mental effort (including homework), difficulty organizing tasks and activities, inability to follow through with instructions or finish projects, forgetfulness, a high degree of distractibility and commonly losing toys or personal belongings. Whether in adults or children, the primary ADD symptom is that of difficulty focusing the mind on any one thing unless it is a task, subject or activity that is thoroughly enjoyed. It is important to note that these symptoms are for ADD only (known as the inattentive type of ADHD), and do not include the symptoms of the hyperactivity or impulsivity types.
There are currently many forms of ADD treatment . The most common are medications, behavioral therapies and lifestyle changes. In behavioral therapies, healthcare practitioners work in close proximity with the parents and children (or the clients themselves, in the case of adult ADD ) to set specific, appropriate goals and providing useful methods of guiding behavior. Medications are commonly given in the form of stimulants, which actually have a calming effect on people with ADHD. There are also less-known and unproven alternative ADD treatments. The more holistic ADD treatments include diet changes, interactive metronome, chiropractic medicine, kinesiology, herbs and supplements. Many are beginning to feel that, although these treatments are less proven, they are gentler and less likely to provoke adverse reactions in the body than stimulant medications. ADD treatment is a long-term commitment and is generally focused most specifically on relief of ADD symptoms as opposed to a one-time cure-all solution. While ADD is often over diagnosed, there are also many cases of children and adults whose struggle with ADD goes unnoticed. If you feel that you or your child may be suffering from ADD symptoms , it is important that you consult with a knowledgeable healthcare professional to discuss these concerns.