ADD and ADHD are very often used interchangeably and it can get a little confusing. However, it is really a question of terminology. Over the years as more is learned about ADHD (the current official term) the name has changed to reflect the most recent findings.
In 1980 ADD was the term used to describe someone who had Attention Deficit Disorder and ADHD was the term used to describe a person who has Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Prior to 1980, ADHD was of course present but was called a wide range of things, most of which would be considered highly insulting if they were used today.
Then in 1987 ADHD became official term for anyone who was diagnosed with what was previously ADD and ADHD. It was at this time that American Psychiatric Associated stated that ADHD was a medical diagnosis (rather than psychological) that could cause behavioural issues.
In the 1994 publication of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV) The National Institute of Mental Health, (or NIMH) stated that the definition of ADHD is a “Disruptive Behaviour Disorder” where high levels of inattention, hyperactivity or a combination are constantly present in an individual.
3 types ADHD have been identified, which are:
ADHD-Predominantly Inattentive Type: Is characterized by mainly inattention, and so people have problems focusing, completing tasks, are easily distracted and seem forgetful, disorganized and careless.
ADHD-Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type: Is characterized mainly by hyperactivity and impulsivity. Paying attention is not a major problem. However, they seem to act and speak before thinking, have lots of energy and always on the go.
ADHD-Combined Type: In this instance characteristics on both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsivity are present.
To conclude, ADD and ADHD describe the same condition but ADHD is currently the official and most up to date term.