Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder vs Attention Deficit Disorder


Psychological anomaly is a branch of psychology that focuses on new ways of understanding and helping people with psychological disorders. In general, the behavior is considered abnormal when the reaction of a person or rather their emotional state deviates from the norm. It deals with the study of abnormal behaviors in people who are suffering from a different psychological disorder. Over the years, technological innovations have transformed psychology in a big way. In fact, psychology has changed over time due to technological innovations leading to the development of new knowledge and diagnosis treatment.

Moreover, it has led to the development of new theories that try to explain why people suffer from psychological disorders. One such study includes the study of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder (Jeffrey, Rathus, & Beverly, 2008, p. 57). These studies have led to the discovery of various types of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The theories also try to explain the effect they have on people and especially children and adolescents. Moreover, it has led to the discovery of different therapies that can be employed to control and cure the disorder. Yallop, Brownell, Bailis and Lebow (2015) argued that attention disorder is a type of externalizing disorder (p. 433).

Today, almost everyone is familiar with attention disorder and is aware of at least one or two people who are suffering from this type of disorder. Attention disorder is more prevalent in children than in adults. This condition is characterized by symptoms such as inattentiveness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. However, these symptoms may take different forms depending on the age of that person. In most cases, the inability to concentrate on adults begins during childhood and develops to manifest itself in adulthood.

This condition causes people not to focus as well as to stay still. However, despite the fact that ADHD and ADD are the most widely studied disorders, the identification and treatment of the disorders remain controversial. Many studies and hypotheses that have been developed do not converge over the diagnosis, etiology, and treatment of these problematic psychological disorders.


According to Solé, Pérez, Romeo and Supèr (2015), the inability to attain the required concentration was initially referred to as Attention Deficit Disorder (p. 9). In most cases, this condition is misdiagnosed, undertreated and even in other cases mistreated. People suffering from this disorder have a wide range of symptoms that show similarities. According to a new study, these symptoms can be summarized into three broad categories.

They include the inability to pay attention, increased activity rate and impulsivity (Psychiatry, 2002). Most of these symptoms are common in children especially those in their early childhood development. However, it is not in order to conclude that a child has ADHD just because he or she shows one or two of the symptoms. This is because these symptoms are not physical, but emotional and behavioral; they are prone to misdiagnosis and misjudgment.

It is thus essential that a child undergoes a complete and efficient diagnosis procedure before being declared for Attention deficit hyperactive (Northover, Thapar & Van, 2015, p. 7). However, despite Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) being renamed as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); the two terms represent and refer to two different conditions. These conditions are related and share a wide range of symptoms, but also has specific distinctive features.


The primary objective of this study is to compare and contrast Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Attention deficit disorder (ADD). Moreover, we shall also establish whether empirical evidence accurately identifies the existence of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). We shall also critically analyze the similarities and differences between the treatment models employed in both disorders.

In both cases, people suffer from the inability to attain the required level of concentration. This recently discovered condition exists in children and adults. This condition is common among young children and hence, might be difficult to be diagnosed. The inability to attain the required level of concentration is expressed differently among victims. This evidence means that there are various types of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Mörstedt, Corbisiero, Bitto and Stieglitz (2015) noted that the inability to attain the required level of concentration occurs in both adults and children (p. 6). Moreover, in both cases, people suffering from the disorder are unable to attain the required concentration at a given time. There are many various types of loss of concentration including:

  • Abnormal overactive
  • impulsivity
  • Inability to pay attention to where needed
  • Overactive and inability to pay attention.

Abnormally overactive condition

Di Nicola, Sala, Dubertret and Gorwood (2014) take the stance that Abnormal overactive condition portrays a critical characteristic of ADHD (p.394). Children suffering from this condition find it difficult to remain calm. The key feature that expresses hyperactivity in children is the continuous and uncontrolled mobility and the inability to stay calm or rather still (Association, 2008). The abnormal overactive condition is the easiest and the most recognized symptom in the diagnosis of ADHD. Children suffering from abnormal overactive conditions become difficult to diagnose because the condition does not enable them to follow rules and regulations. Children with ADHD are always on the move or even have unregulated motion or activities irrespective of the environment they occupy.

Teenagers with ADHD also show more hyperactivity and restlessness than their peers (National Institutes of Health, 2004). Moreover, ADHD does no end or subside with age, but remains in the body of a person until they become adults (Association, 2008). In adults, the condition is not expressed through abnormal activities but remains in the body. In some cases, the disorder might abruptly emerge subjecting the victim to overreaction. Adults with ADHD tend to be busy and at some point, they might do more than one activity at the same time. They also find it difficult to concentrate on a given task fully.


Impulsive children find it difficult or rather are unable to think of creative ways of carrying out a task. In most cases, they end up messing up. Impulsive children are impatient and tend to force things to work their way (Psychiatry, 2002). Teenagers and adults tend to be hot-tempered, and when angered, they react by destroying or hitting anything around them. They prefer shortcuts and do not mind the cost or the consequences of using them. Children with an impulsive form of abnormal overactive and attention disorder tend to force their way into and out of situations. Many people with this condition are either hyperactive or impulsive or both. A combined condition where a child is abnormally overactive and has difficulty in paying attention can be a serious case because the children may engage in activities that may end up harming them or even the people around them. The signs associated with hyperactive and impulsivity include:

  • Victims feel restless and are always moving their hands and feet or in some instances swinging their chairs.
  • Victims are always on the movement. Mostly, they tend to defy rules in case the rule expects them to keep calm. For example, in a case where a person is in an environment where they are expected to keep quiet, they tend to leave the room and walk away instead of staying calm and quiet.
  • Children and adults tend to shout and give answers without following the set procedure or even before comprehending the question.
  • People suffering from hyperactivity and impulsive disorder are impatient and find it hard to wait to be serviced or even to stand in a queue and wait for their turn.

Impulsive and hyperactive forms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD) are more frequent and in most instances easy to diagnose. It is evident from the discussion that abnormal overactive condition is characterized by the inability to manage activities, stay patient and to pause, think and act responsibly. On the other hand, ADD is directly the opposite of ADHD. In most cases, ADD is mainly expressed by loss of concentration and inattentiveness (National Institutes of Health, 2004).

People who are suffering from ADD show signs of inattentiveness. Inattentiveness is a symptom where a child or a person finds it difficult to mess sustain the expected attention especially if he or she is not interested in a given task (Association, 2008).

People suffering from this disorder tend to be slow and resistant to distraction especially if they are working on a task they like or the task is appealing to them. In most cases, they lack the motivation and the willpower to participate in activities that their peers find interesting and appealing. They may commence on a task, but easily get bored. This results in underperform especially if they are in a corporate environment. Das (2015) holds the view that inattentive Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) causes people to have an inability to pay attention to. People suffering from this disorder find it hard to work without being supervised or even to stay on a given task if there is no one to inspect them. The Major signs that are depicted by (ADD) include:

  • Victims are easily distracted by irrelevant sights and sounds.
  • They are ever making careless mistakes caused by a lack of attention.
  • They find it hard to follow instructions as well as stay within rules and guidelines.
  • In most cases, people with inattentiveness disorder find it difficult to complete a task and take on to another. Consequently, they find themselves skipping from one incomplete task to another.
  • They are quiet and always daydreaming. They are always distracted by the environment around them.

ADD can be displayed as a single symptom of inattentiveness or a combination of impulsiveness and inattentiveness. However, in normal conditions, it is very rare for that combination to happen. When comparing the two types of distraction disorders, it is evident that both disorders have clear similarities and differences. However, ADD and ADHD share more differences than similarities. Most of these symptoms are common in children and especially those in their early childhood development who might also express similar symptoms. However, it is not in order to conclude that a child has ADHD just because he or she expresses one or two of the symptoms.

The main difference between the two disorders is that children with Attention deficit disorder (ADD) are more friendly and social than those suffering from (ADHD). Even though children with abnormal overactive condition (ADHD) find it difficult to concentrate in class, they perform better in school than those with Attention deficit disorder (ADD). Attention deficit disorder is the inability to pay attention or rather concentrate on a given task while ADHD is the impulsiveness or hyperactivity or even both.

Empirical evidence

Is the empirical evidence for Dissociative accurately identifying that Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or Attention deficit disorder (ADD) exist? This question remains a matter of debate. There is a heated debate about the existence and treatment of the abnormally overactive conditions in ADHD. How accurate are the methods used in the diagnosis of this disorder? Questions arise on how to detect that a child or even an adult is hyperactive. What are the empirical measurements and standards used in deciding that one is positive or negative?

The lack of an established standard to judge when a person is more hyperactive than others is raising questions on whether (ADHD) diagnosis is accurate. In addition, children with abnormally overactive conditions tend to be hyperactive in an environment that requires concentration. Moreover, these children get bored faster and hence are prone to turn into other activities that seem appealing to them. These actions challenge the symptoms of the abnormally overactive condition (ADHD). The controversy of the drug used to treat hyperactivity has raised concern on the best diagnosis and existence of abnormally overactive condition ADHD.

For instance, Ritalin is a stimulant drug that is used in the treatment of Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The drug is meant to keep the children calm and thus enabling them to concentrate in class. However, the drug has raised concerns that some children or rather patients are using them as stimulants. The intake of Ritalin has been associated with suicide, murder, seizures, addiction and brain damage.


There are many questions about abnormal overactive and inactiveness conditions (ADHD).Questions about what exactly is an abnormally overactive condition in ADHD and what causes it is yet to be established. Having known of the several side effects of Ritalin, and the drug is associated with activities that are dangerous to both the individual and the society, it is evident that the impact of the drugs is more severe than the need for attention. In addition to that, given the fact that there are many causes of hyperactivity, and no set standards for measuring substance-induced hyperactivity and normal hyperactivity disorder, there are possibilities of misdiagnosis and hence the cause of drug abuse.

More research should be carried out on those suffering from hyperactivity in ADHD reexamined to ascertain the disorder. Proper means of diagnosis should also be developed to promote accurate diagnosis and treatment. People suffering from this disorder have a broad range of signs and symptoms such as the inability to pay attention, increased activity rate and impulsivity.


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Yallop, L., Brownell, M., Bailis, D., & Lebow, M. (2015). Lifetime Prevalence of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Young Adults: Examining Variations in the Socioeconomic Gradient. Canadian Journal Of Psychiatry, 60(10), 432-440. Web.

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