We've currently got two tags: and .

The first one has a simple definition:

Attention deficit disorder

The second one has a descriptive paragraph, as well as a discussion and links to additional resources.

ADHD is an acronym for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. People with ADD and ADHD struggle to maintain focus on certain tasks as they have a more difficult time "tuning out" extra stimuli. They can become overly attentive to distractions most of us are able to tune out, be impulsive and over-active. Many children are "wiggly" and inattentive, but these children have these conditions outside the normal range for that child's particular age....

The is more used and definitely more completely defined. In my anecdotal experience, ADHD is more commonly used in discussion among parents.

I'm somewhat reluctant to make them synonyms, since it's quite possible to have an attention deficit without associated hyperactivity and it isn't necessarily incorrect to tag a question with instead of . However, leaving them separate means it's easier to miss questions if you're looking for only one tag, and requires use of two tags if I'm asking a question that's relevant to either diagnosis.

I may also be overthinking this because I'm still learning/understanding the whole tags and synonyms thing :P


  • I'm not at all familiar with the terms. Is it correct to say that ADD and ADHD are separate disorders, or one is a subset of the other, or that they are related but not identical? Would the advice for dealing with ADD be substantively different from the advice for dealing with ADHD?
    – Joe
    Feb 19, 2015 at 16:11
  • @Joe -- My concern is perhaps more of a parental perception issue, not an appropriate advice issue. The characteristics looked for when diagnosing AD/HD aren't present in all children (typically girls have less H[yperactivity], for example), and some parents react poorly to being told that ADHD-with-an-H is the problem. Indeed, one of the add questions specifically says "this is about ADD, not ADHD".
    – Acire
    Feb 19, 2015 at 17:08

1 Answer 1


Today it's not common to see ADD anymore; I believe it's actually been replaced with ADHD or AD/HD, where there are 3 (ADHD) subtypes:

  • Combined Type for individuals who showed at least 6 inattentive and 6 hyperactive-impulsive symptoms, in addition to meeting all the other criteria;
  • Predominantly Inattentive Type when sufficient inattentive but insufficient hyperactive-impulsive symptoms were present; and,
  • Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type when sufficient hyperactive-impulsive symptoms inattentive but insufficient inattentive symptoms were present.

In the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) these categories have been retained, but are now referred to as Combined presentation, Predominantly inattentive presentation, and Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive presentation. The wording change reflects a desire to move from the more static language of 'types' to use terminology that better reflects the fluidity and change in how the disorder may present in the same individual over time.

So, yes, Erica, I think you're correct that ADHD and the older name, ADD, should be synonyms. All the new literature and diagnoses will be under the ADHD or AD/HD heading (the latter of which will certainly be easier to find under ADHD).

Does this answer your question adequately?

  • 2
    Yes. And also gives some good ideas for tweaking the tag wiki :) Thanks for the expertise!
    – Acire
    Feb 19, 2015 at 17:05
  • 1
    While ADD may be less commonly diagnosed/presented in information, I still hear it more often than ADHD. ADD seems to be the term used by the general public that doesn't know the difference. So, that's a vote for making ADD a synonym.
    – user11394
    Feb 20, 2015 at 23:22
  • Just a brief "meta-comment" on the subject. It certainly makes sense to combine the two in this case (ADD is just the old name for what we call ADHD now). That said, it's also worth noting that it's likely that there will be a proliferation of subtypes in the coming years/decades. Some researchers already subdivide the disorder beyond the current two/three subtypes, some with as many as six separate designations depending on what the DSM-V would probably consider comorbidities today.
    – Calphool
    May 11, 2015 at 13:39

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