Does your child struggle in school? Do they get distracted easily or get lost in their thoughts? Or do they fidget constantly? Are you looking for answers for your own difficulty focusing or accomplishing tasks? Have you experienced similar problems ever since you were a child? 

All of these are common signs of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). If you’re unsure if you or your child is displaying signs of ADHD, you can learn more about common signs of ADHD and when to consult a provider from our previous article. 

In today’s post, we will be talking about ADD and ADHD and what the similarities and differences are between these two disorders. 

If you’re looking for a family medicine provider that can help with ADD and ADHD, become a patient at It’s All About The Patient in Mesa today. You can call us to ask any questions and get an appointment scheduled today! 


What we call ADHD — attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder — was previously known as ADD, or attention-deficit disorder. Before “hyperactivity” was added to the name, a person was diagnosed with ADD either with or without hyperactivity. In 1987, “hyperactivity” was permanently added to the name.

Since the 1990s, ADHD is the primary diagnosis given by a provider with three subtypes of disorders under ADHD: inattention, hyperactive-impulsive, and combined. 

These subtypes provide a better distinction between the different aspects of ADHD. But, some people still use the term ADD which is now covered as a subtype of ADHD, leading to its continued prevalence and use. 

Keep reading to learn more about the three subtypes of ADHD and what symptoms to look for with each. 

Predominantly Inattentive ADHD (also called ADD) 

Inattentive ADHD is what people usually mean when they say ADD. ADD is a subtype of ADHD where that person does not show signs of hyperactivity. 

Instead, symptoms of inattentive ADHD could include: 

  • Not following directions, even when they are clear
  • Making reckless or careless mistakes
  • Being easily distracted, even when given a task
  • Forgetting to complete daily activities
  • Inability to hold attention 
  • Losing things regularly 

This means that someone diagnosed with inattentive ADHD has a hard time focusing and is easily distracted. If the symptoms of inattentive ADHD are left untreated, they can lead to serious impacts in school or work. If you or your child shows any of the signs, including difficulty with school or work, then it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with a primary provider. 

Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD

Unlike inattentive ADHD, a person with hyperactive-impulsive ADHD won’t show signs of inattentiveness. Instead, they will show signs of hyperactivity and impulsiveness. This is where the traditional perceptions of ADHD come in.

Some warning signs of hyperactive-impulsive ADHD could include: 

  • Unable to wait your turn
  • Talking out of turn
  • Fidgeting, squirming, and not sitting still
  • Excessive talking
  • Running or climbing when its not appropriate
  • Interrupting others
  • Standing up or leaving when it’s not appropriate
  • Unable to be quiet

These symptoms are more noticeable than inattentiveness because they have a more outward appearance. 

Combined ADHD 

Combined ADHD means what it sounds like: a combination of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. This means that they show all of the symptoms that are listed for inattentive ADHD and hyperactive-impulsive ADHD. 

Generally, more men and boys are diagnosed with combined ADHD than women and girls. That might be because more men have hyperactive symptoms while more women have inattentive symptoms. 


A diagnosis of any subtype of ADHD must come from a provider. But there are other criteria that someone must meet to be diagnosed, including: 

  • At least six of the subtype symptoms listed above (five for an adolescent or adult) 
  • Symptoms must be present for at least six months or longer 
  • The symptoms must have been present in that person before they turned 12

A healthcare provider will also look at the severity of the symptoms to see if they are impacting day to day work, school, or life. 

Before trying to self-diagnosis yourself or your child, make sure you talk to a provider. Our team at It’s All About The Patient does just that — puts the patient first. Make sure you schedule an appointment to discuss any concerning symptoms and find a way to start treating those symptoms — whether it’s a subtype of ADHD or another condition with similar symptoms. 

ADD And ADHD At It’s All About The Patient

We hope this blog post helped you understand the difference between ADD and ADHD. Ultimately, it comes down to an appointment with a provider to discuss symptoms and treatment options. But it’s good to know what to look out for, and understand how ADD and ADHD are intertwined. 

If you’re ready to find a new primary provider, or discuss concerning symptoms with a healthcare professional, then contact our team at It’s All About The Patient in Mesa. Give us a call and get your appointment scheduled with Dr. Wade today!