Medical Terminology Made Simple: ADHD and ADD

Barry Lenson

Medical Terminology Made Simple: ADHD and ADD

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As a service to people who are thinking of entering the medical and medical support professions, StraighterLine is continuing the series of short posts on medical terminology. Each post will define one medical term. But as an extra bonus, today we are giving you two!

Today’s terms are. . . ADHD and ADD

ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. ADD stands for attention deficit disorder. People who suffer from these conditions can have a difficult time concentrating, but they often suffer from other problems too. Many fixate inappropriately on one thing, become chronically distracted, or have difficulty setting priorities. For pretty clear reasons, both ADHD and ADD can cause problems in school, at work, and in relationships.

As one sufferer told us recently, “I have to leave the house in five minutes, but instead I go upstairs and start vacuuming or go online to check my email. I drive myself crazy.”

Both conditions can have symptoms that begin in childhood and continue into adulthood. Or sometimes symptoms begin in adulthood.  Treatment can include medications. But behavioral counseling can be helpful too. For example, the woman we quoted above says that now that she understands that she has ADHD, she can discipline herself to control her distractions and live a happier, more organized life. She explains, “When it is time to leave the house, for example, I know that I have to discipline myself to stay focused on that task, without getting distracted.”

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