• Definition:  What is Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)?

    Attention Deficit Disorder is a biologically based condition causing a persistent pattern of difficulties resulting in one or more of the the following behaviors:

    • inattention
    • hyperactivity
    • impulsivity


    difficulty attending or focusing on a specific task. People with Attention Deficit Disorder may become distracted within a matter of minutes. Inattentive behavior may also cause difficulties with staying organized (e.g. losing things), keeping track of time, completing tasks, and making careless errors.


    difficulty inhibiting behavior. These people are in constant motion. They may engage in excessive fiddling, leg swinging, and squirming in their chair.


    difficulty controlling impulses. These people do not stop and think before they act. They say and do whatever comes into their mind without thinking about the consequences. They might say something inappropriate and regret it later, blurt out a response to question before a person is done speaking to them, or have difficulty waiting for their turn in line.

    ADD or ADHD - What's the Difference?

    Clinically, the term ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. A person may either be diagnosed with ADHD or ADD depending on whether they are hyperactive or not. It is possible for someone to have ADD without being hyperactive.   To accommodate this possibility, ADHD is often written with brackets around the "H" (i.e. AD(H)D). You may also see it written as AD/HD. There are generally three types of AD(H)D:

    • Combined Type (hyperactive, impulsive, inattentive)
    • Inattentive Type
    • Hyperactive, Impulsive Type

    Around the web, in the media, and the general public you will often hear/see ADD used  as a generic term to describe the whole disability. You may also notice that many people with ADD have developed their own unique terminology to describe themselves (e.g. "ADD'ers" or "ADDults")


Last Modified on November 10, 2003