ADD – attention deficit disorder. Symptoms and treatment in children and adults

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Louise Barnett
Louise Barnett
I'm Louise Barnett, the editor at, where my days are filled with the exploration of myriad subjects that pique my curiosity and feed my ever-growing appetite for knowledge. From the latest in laser cutting technology to the timeless wisdom of yoga and meditation, my work allows me to dive deep into topics that not only fascinate me but also have the potential to improve our daily lives. I have a particular interest in how ancient practices meet modern life, leading me to explore everything from Ayurveda to minimalism and beyond. My journey has taught me the importance of balance—between innovation and tradition, action and reflection, and between the digital and the natural world. Each article I publish is a step towards understanding this balance better, hoping to inspire others along the way.

ADD, also known as Attention Deficit Disorder, is a condition characterized by decreased concentration and absentmindedness, but without excessive motor hyperactivity. It’s a disorder that can affect every aspect of a person’s life, from interpersonal relationships to performance at work or school.

What is ADD – Attention Deficit Disorder

ADD is an acronym for Attention Deficit Disorder, which in Polish means “Attention Deficit Disorder.” It is a variant of ADHD, a neurobiological disorder characterized by difficulty concentrating, excessive impulsivity and often fluctuating levels of activity. ADD occurs in children and adults

People diagnosed with ADD may have difficulty maintaining attention on a single activity, are often distracted, have problems with organization and planning, and may act impulsively without carefully thinking through consequences. This disorder can affect various aspects of life, including learning, work, social relationships and daily functioning.

For children, diagnosis of ADD is often based on observation of symptoms by doctors, psychologists or mental health professionals. Various approaches are used to treat and manage the disorder, including behavioral therapy, psychotherapy and, in some cases, medication.

Add – symptoms

Symptoms of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) can vary from person to person and occur in varying degrees of severity. The most common symptoms characteristic of ADD are:

  1. Difficulty concentrating: People with ADD have difficulty maintaining attention on one activity for long periods of time. They are easily distracted and lose interest.
  2. Excessive impulsivity: Impulsivity manifests itself when a person takes action without thinking it through first, which can lead to erroneous or risky decisions.
  3. Organization and planning disorders: People with ADD may have difficulty organizing their thoughts, tasks and time. They may find planning difficult, which can lead to chaos in daily life.
  4. Frequent forgetfulness: Forgetting important commitments, school assignments or work is common in people with ADD.
  5. Difficulty performing mentally challenging tasks: People with ADD may avoid tasks that require prolonged concentration, which can lead to delays in work or study.
  6. Frequent interruptions: People with ADD may frequently interrupt others during a conversation or at work because they have difficulty waiting their turn.
  7. Difficulty controlling emotions: Emotions may be more intense and volatile in people with ADD. They may have difficulty regulating their emotional reactions.
  8. Difficulty completing projects: People with ADD may start many projects but have trouble finishing them.
  9. Sleep disorders: Often people with ADD may have trouble falling asleep or maintaining a regular sleep pattern.
  10. Social disorders: Difficulty focusing attention can lead to difficulty establishing and maintaining social relationships.

It is worth noting that not all of these symptoms are necessarily present in every person diagnosed with ADD, and their severity may vary. Diagnosis and treatment of ADD should be done by mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists or psychologists.

ADD – causes of attention deficit disorder

Here are the causes that may be associated with attention deficit disorder (ADD):

  1. Heredity: Genetics play a major role in attention deficit disorder (ADD). People who have first-degree relatives with the disorder are more likely to develop it.
  2. Neurobiological factors: Abnormalities in the nervous system, such as dysfunctions in the regulation of neurotransmitters (such as dopamine or norepinephrine), can affect the ability to focus and control impulses.
  3. Environmental factors: Environmental factors such as exposure to toxins during pregnancy, exposure to lead, smoking, or consumption of toxic substances during development can influence the development of attention deficit disorder.
  4. Prenatal disorders: Maternal stress during pregnancy, infections or other factors that disrupt fetal brain development can affect the development of attention deficit disorder in the child.
  5. Brain damage: Brain damage from injury, disease or other factors can affect a person’s ability to focus attention.
  6. Emotion regulation disorders: Problems with emotion regulation and impulsivity can lead to difficulty concentrating.
  7. Sleep deprivation and diet: Lack of adequate sleep and a diet high in sugars and artificial dyes can affect brain function and the ability to focus.
  8. Psychosocial factors: Stress, low self-esteem, difficulties in interpersonal relationships or problems at school or work can contribute to attention deficit disorder.

It is important to remember that the causes of attention deficit disorder can be complex and often involve the interaction of different factors.

What is the difference between ADHD and ADD

ADHD and ADD are two related terms, but have some differences. Both disorders have similar symptoms and involve difficulties in concentration, impulsivity and activity, but differ mainly in terms of the presence of excessive movement and hyperactivity in the case of ADHD.

  1. ADHD: This disorder is characterized by difficulty concentrating, impulsivity and excessive motor activity. People with ADHD may be restless, constantly on the move, find it difficult to sit still, and their behavior is often hyperactive.
  2. ADD: This term was previously used to describe attention deficit disorder without marked hyperactivity. Today, it is less used in official diagnostic terminology. Instead, there are subtypes of ADHD, such as ADHD with predominant hyperactivity (hyperactive type), ADHD with predominant concentration problems (inattentive type), and ADHD of mixed type, in which both concentration difficulties and hyperactivity are present.

In practice, ADHD is now a more common term for a disorder that includes both concentration difficulties and hyperactivity. However, some sources and individuals continue to use the term ADD in a context that primarily describes concentration difficulties. Ultimately, diagnosis and classification of the disorder should be done by a qualified mental health professional.

ADD – diagnosis

The diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD), especially in the context of current terminology that includes subtypes of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), is a complex process that requires the involvement of mental health professionals. Here’s a general overview of what an ADD diagnosis looks like:

Consultation with a doctor: The first step is a consultation with a doctor, usually a psychiatrist or pediatrician, who will gather information about the patient’s medical history, symptoms and behavior. In the case of children, teachers may also be involved in providing information about the child’s behavior at school.

Clinical interview: The doctor will interview the patient or caregiver to learn more about symptoms, their severity, duration and impact on daily functioning.

Physical Exam: Although ADD is not associated with physical symptoms, the doctor may perform a physical examination to rule out other medical causes of concentration difficulties, such as hormonal or neurological disorders.

Psychologicalevaluation: A psychologist or mental health professional may conduct a psychological evaluation, which may include psychological tests, symptom assessment questionnaires and behavioral observations.

Diagnosticcriteria: The diagnosis of attention deficit disorder (ADD) or the relevant subtype of ADHD is based on a set of diagnostic criteria set forth in classifications such as the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) or ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases).

Symptom requirement: A sufficient number of criteria and symptoms that impede concentration, impulse control and/or hyperactivity (depending on the subtype) are required to make the diagnosis.

Exclusion of other causes: Diagnosis of ADD also requires ruling out other medical or psychiatric causes of concentration difficulties, such as depression, anxiety, or other neurological disorders.

Collaboration and observation: It is important that the diagnostic process include observations of symptoms in a variety of settings, such as home, school or work.

Consideration of treatment: Once a diagnosis is made, a specialist may discuss treatment options with the patient or caregiver, which may include behavioral therapy, psychotherapy or possibly pharmacotherapy.

ADD treatment – therapy and pharmacology

Treatment for attention deficit disorder (ADD), can include a variety of approaches, including behavioral therapy, psychotherapy and possibly pharmacotherapy. All of these methods are tailored to the individual patient’s needs.

  1. Cognitive-behavioral therapy: behavioral therapy is an important component of ADD treatment. It can include the following approaches:
    • Organizational skills training: Helping to develop planning, organizational and time management skills.
    • Social skills training: Teaching effective strategies for communication and social interaction.
    • Coping skills training: Helping people recognize and cope with emotional and stressful difficulties.
    • Parenting Training: Teaching parents techniques for managing their child’s behavior at home and at school.
  2. Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy can help people with ADD cope with emotional difficulties, low self-esteem and other psychological problems. It introduces tools for better self-understanding and impulse control.
  3. Pharmacotherapy: In some cases, when symptoms are severe and have a major impact on daily functioning, a doctor may consider pharmacotherapy. The most common medications are stimulants, such as methylphenidate and amphetamines, which can help improve concentration and impulse control. These drugs act on the nervous system to increase the amount of available neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine.

The decision about pharmacotherapy should be carefully considered and discussed with a doctor. Medications can be effective, but they also come with potential side effects and risks of abuse.

How to fight ADD?
ADD treatment – therapy and pharmacology Photo:

Attention deficit disorder in adults

In the context of adults, this disorder is called ADD in adults (ADD in adults). The symptoms and consequences of this disorder may differ for adults compared to children. Here are some characteristic features of attention deficit disorder in adults:

  1. Difficulties with organization and planning: Adults with ADD may have difficulty planning and organizing tasks, both at work and in daily life. They may have problems with time management and accurately predicting and organizing future events.
  2. Problems maintaining attention: Adults with ADD may be easily distracted, finding it difficult to focus on one activity for long periods of time. They may have difficulty staying focused on tasks that require concentration.
  3. Impulsivity: Impulsivity may manifest itself in making decisions without careful thought, speaking without thinking, or taking risky actions without considering the consequences.
  4. Emotional problems: People with ADD adults may experience difficulty regulating emotions, low self-esteem, frustration and emotional tension.
  5. Relationship difficulties: Problems with concentration and impulse control can affect social relationships. Adults with ADD may have difficulty listening to others, forgetting important commitments or impulsive behavior.
  6. Low self-esteem: Because of difficulties in achieving goals and coping with daily life, people with ADD adults may experience low self-esteem and frustration.
  7. Obstacles to work and study: Attention deficit disorder can affect performance at work and study, leading to problems in completing tasks, improper organization and difficulty achieving goals.

ADD – Frequently Asked Questions

What is ADD?

ADD is an attention deficit disorder characterized by problems with concentration and focus. People with ADD struggle to pay attention to tasks and finish them, as well as follow instructions. ADD in adults is less common than in children.

What is the difference between ADD and ADHD?

ADHD is characterized primarily by hyperactivity; in ADD sufferers, there is no hyperactivity or it is at a much lower level.

How to treat ADD?

Treatment of ADD, now usually included as subtypes of ADHD, may include behavioral therapy, psychotherapy and possibly pharmacotherapy. Therapists and mental health practitioners tailor a treatment plan to the individual patient’s needs (in children, adolescents and adults), helping him or her cope with difficulties in concentration, impulsivity and daily functioning.

How to help a person with ADD?

To help a person with ADD, it is important to provide emotional support and understanding. Facilitating organization, planning and providing clear instructions can help with daily functioning. Encouraging healthy sleep habits, exercise and a healthy diet can also have a positive impact, and thus help with focus.

Where does ADD come from?

The causes of ADD, are complex and include genetic, neurobiological and environmental factors. There is a high probability of inheriting a tendency to this disorder. Nervous system abnormalities, prenatal exposure to toxins and environmental factors can also influence its development.

Can ADD be cured?

It is not typically curable, but symptoms can be managed and quality of life improved with appropriate treatment and therapies. Early diagnosis and intervention, along with effective coping strategies, can significantly improve a person’s ability to focus, control impulses and function in society.

Does ADD only occur in children?

No, ADD can occur in both children and adults. In fact, some studies suggest that up to 6% of the adult population may struggle with the disorder.

Are ADD and ADHD the same thing?

ADD and ADHD are similar, but not identical. The main difference is the presence of motor hyperactivity in ADHD. People with ADD may have trouble concentrating and may be absentminded, but they do not exhibit the excessive motor activity that is characteristic of ADHD.

Can ADD be treated?

Yes, ADD can be treated with a variety of strategies, including behavioral therapy, lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medication. It is important for people with ADD to learn coping strategies that can help them manage their symptoms.

Is ADD hereditary?

Although the exact cause of ADD is unknown, research suggests that genetics may play a role. Attention deficit disorder is more likely to occur in people in whose families someone has experienced similar problems before.

Is ADD always associated with problems at school or work?

Many people with ADD experience difficulties at school or work because of problems with concentration and organization. However, with the right support and coping strategies, many people with ADD are able to succeed in these areas.

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