Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Name Game

I am asked frequently what the difference is between ADD and ADHD. The short answer is nothing.

The long answer is:

The disorder currently labeled by the psychiatric community as ADHD has been called many things over the years.
1902 Defects in moral character
1934 Organically driven
1940 Minimal Brain Syndrome
1957 Hyperkinetic Impulse Disorder
1960 Minimal Brain Dysfunction (MBD)
1968 Hyperkinetic Reaction of Childhood (DSM II)
1980 Attention Deficit Disorder - ADD (DSM III) with-hyperactivity without-hyperactivity residual type
1987 Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or Undifferentiated Attention Deficit Disorder (DSM III-R)
1994 Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (DSM IV)
Broken down into 3 categories ADHD, Combined Type ADHD, Predominantly Inattentive type ADHD, Predominantly Hyperactive Type

Many people like me grew up in the 80's and learned to call someone with these symptoms ADD. It's like if you have a friend named Bertha who decides she wants to be known as Brittney. Even though you know she wants to be called Brittney, she's always going to be Bertha to you. Now some of these changes are good. I'm sure glad they don't call it Minimal Brain Dysfunction anymore, but personally I think it went all down hill after the 1980 name.

I don't like the term ADHD mostly because I feel that it implies hyperactivity. My daughter and I are both technically ADHD predominantly inattentive type. We are not hyperactive. If I tell people that we are ADHD, the usual response is "but you aren't hyper at all". Just saying ADD is easier for the lay person to understand. It's also a lot shorter for me to say ADD and not ADHD predominantly inattentive type. I mean come on, I have ADD, I don't have the patience for wasted syllables.

I expect in another few years the psychological community will probably change the name again to further confuse people.


Roxane said...

Ha! I was born in 83 and by the time I was in the second grade I had one "special" class a week with a therapist of some sort at school. Some called me a slow learner. Turns out there's a term now that they didn't use then... Dyslexic! I flipped my b's & d's, my p's & q's and my numbers lol! I know its not the same as ADD and ADHD but I wish we would have had that kind of terminology so I wasn't called "slow" LOL