Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

ADD is officially called Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, or AD/HD (American Psychiatric Association, 1994), although most lay people still call it ADD or A.D.D. or ADHD. The disorder's name has changed as a result of scientific advances and the findings of careful field trials. Researchers now have strong evidence to support the position that AD/HD [A.D.D. or ADHD] is not one specific disorder with different variations. In keeping with this evidence, AD/HD [A.D.D. or ADHD] is now divided into three subtypes, according to the main features associated with the disorder: inattentiveness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. The three subtypes are:

  • AD/HD [A.D.D. or ADHD] Predominantly Inattentive Type.
    Children with AD/HD have little or no trouble sitting still or controlling behavior, but may be predominantly inattentive and, as a result, have great difficulty getting or staying focused on a task or activity.
  • AD/HD [A.D.D. or ADHD] Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type.
    Children with AD/HD [A.D.D. or ADHD] may be able to pay attention to a task but lose focus because they may be predominantly hyperactive-impulsive and have trouble controlling impulse and activity.
  • AD/HD [A.D.D. or ADHD] Predominantly Combined Type.
    The most prevalent subtype is the Combined Type. These children will have significant symptoms of all three characteristics.

The signs of AD/HD use the diagnostic criteria set forth by the American Psychiatric

Association (1994) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental disorders. The forth edition of this manual, known as the DSM-IV, was released in May 1994. The criteria in the DSM-IV and the other essential diagnostic features listed in the box labeled "Defining Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder" are the signs of AD/HD.


  • Symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity or impulsivity must persist for at least six months and be maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental levels.
  • Some of the symptoms causing impairment must be present before age 7 years.
  • Some (impairment from the) symptoms are present in two or more settings (e.g., at school/work and at home).
  • Evidence of clinically significant impairment is present in social, academic or occupational functioning.
  • Symptoms do not occur exclusively during the course of Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Schizophrenia or other Psychotic Disorder and are not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g., Mood Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Dissociative Disorder, or Personality Disorder).