Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD) are brain disorders that can make it hard to pay attention, control impulses, and sit still. These conditions can affect people of all ages, but they occur most often in children and teens. ADHD and ADD are closely related. Both disorders cause symptoms of inattention, overactivity or impulsivity. However, not everyone with symptoms has one or the other condition—some people may have both conditions at the same time. The difference between ADHD and ADD is where the problems take place: Inattention: Problems paying attention at school or work; often distracted by outside stimuli


The symptoms of inattention, which are described below, may be experienced as:

  • Difficulty staying focused on a task or conversation

  • Trouble paying attention to details and making careless mistakes

  • Difficulty following instructions, such as missed appointments or forgotten deadlines.

  • Difficulty organizing tasks, activities and materials (e.g., keeping paperwork neat and taking notes)

  • Lack of focus in daily tasks and activities; lacking persistence to finish what they start; easily distracted by outside factors.


Hyperactivity is a symptom of ADHD, but it's not just about being active. It's the excessive activity that can cause problems. Some kids with ADHD may be more active than other children their age, even if they don't have any other symptoms of ADHD. They might run around a lot and have trouble sitting still when asked to do so. They may also act impulsive or interrupt others often without thinking about it first.


Among the most common symptoms of ADHD are problems with impulsivity. Impulsivity can manifest in many ways, including:

  • Taking risks that may be unsafe or dangerous

  • Interrupting conversations and/or people who are talking

  • Acting without thinking through the consequences of your actions (e.g., saying things that you might regret later)

Impulsivity also often leads to problems in relationships because it can make you appear as though you don't care about your loved ones or are unable to consider their feelings. In turn, this can cause others to feel hurt—and possibly angry—when you act impulsively toward them.

Similarly, impulsivity can cause various types of trouble at work or school by making it difficult for you to focus on tasks long enough without becoming easily distracted; therefore, tasks may take longer than necessary or not be completed at all due to distraction from other things that catch your attention before finishing what was being done initially (a common problem among those with ADHD).

The symptoms of ADD and ADHD are real and have an impact on the quality of life.

The symptoms of ADD and ADHD are real, and they have an impact on the quality of life. Additional symptoms can include:

  • Trouble paying attention

  • Trouble staying focused

  • Trouble organizing things

  • Trouble finishing tasks


The symptoms of ADD and ADHD are real and have an impact on the quality of life. It is important to be aware of them so that you can get help for your child when needed.

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