Everyone has occasional difficulty sitting still, paying attention, or controlling impulsive behavior. For some children and adults, however, the problem is so pervasive and persistent that it interferes with their daily lives at home, at school, at work, and in social settings.

What is ADHD/ ADD?

The majority of Australian physicians base their diagnosis of ADHD on the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) of the American Psychiatrists’ Association (1994). These criteria are listed under three core symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. DSM-IV specifies three subtypes of ADHD, namely ADHD Predominantly Inattentive Type, ADHD Predominantly Hyperactive/Impulsive Type, and ADHD Combined Type.

What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)? ADD – Attention Deficit Disorder

ADD is the old name for the ‘predominantly inattentive’ subtype. ADD is an old term that was removed from the diagnostic manual in 1994, but it is still in common usage. The correct name for the condition is now Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This can lead to confusion because hyperactivity is not a symptom that is exhibited by all individuals.

There are 3 main types of ADHD:

ADHD Predominantly Inattentive type

This is defined by an individual experiencing the following characteristics:

  • Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
  • Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
  • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
  • Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behaviour or failure to understand instructions)
  • Often has difficulty organising tasks or activities
  • Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework)
  • Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools)
  • Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
  • Is often forgetful in daily activities

ADHD Predominantly Hyperactive type

This is defined by an individual experiencing the following characteristics:

  • Often fidgets with hands or squirms in seat
  • Often leaves seat when remaining seated is expected
  • Often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate
  • Often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
  • Is often “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor”
  • Often talks excessively & blurts out answers
  • Often has difficulty waiting turn
  • Often interrupts (e.g., butts into games).

ADHD Predominantly Combined type

This is defined by an individual experiencing the following characteristics:

  • May have a mix of both traits
  • Most common diagnosed
  • Usually, has 6 of each trait in Hyperactive and Inattentive to be diagnosed combined
  • Impulsive
  • Hyperactive
  • Disorganised

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