Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

Last Updated: June 30, 2018

Definition - What does Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) mean?

Attention deficit disorder (ADD) is a neurological condition characterized by an inability to maintain focus, as well as other symptoms. ADD is a category of the condition commonly referred to as ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. ADD is more properly referred to as Inattentive ADHD.

Often misunderstood as a behavioral issue, ADD is triggered by brain activity that differs from that which is considered neurotypical. It is believed that genetics and environmental factors contribute to the development of ADHD. Typical symptoms of ADD include inattention to details, lack of focus, inability to maintain engagement in tedious tasks, distractibility, and a lack of organizational skills.

While many of these issues are common to everyone, a person with ADD experiences these symptoms to a degree that interferes with his or her ability to work or learn. ADD symptoms may also impair a person's ability to interact socially. ADD may be treated with medication, therapy, or a combination of the two.

Medications for ADD may include stimulants that cause positive drug test results. A person taking these medications by prescription may need to inform his or her employer or provide evidence of a prescription to the medical review officer overseeing any employer drug testing program. Individuals who must take medication to treat their ADHD may be protected from discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Attention deficit disorder may also be called attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

WorkplaceTesting explains Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

Based on their symptoms, children and adults may be diagnosed with one of three types of ADHD: predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, or predominantly combined.

Individuals whose symptoms manifest as predominantly inattentive, without components of hyperactivity and impulsivity are considered to have inattentive ADHD, sometimes referred to as attention deficit disorder (ADD). This categorization distinguishes the individual with ADD from those whose symptoms include a need for high levels of physical activity or lack impulse control.

A person demonstrating symptoms of hyperactivity and inattention will be diagnosed with combined ADHD. Most individuals with ADHD have had the condition since they were children. However, some individuals are not diagnosed until adulthood. Lack of resources and awareness, the individual's coping skills, and the heightened need to focus in adulthood are all reason why ADHD may go unrecognized until later. Particularly in the workplace setting, an individual's ADD may not become problematic until he or she is asked to perform job tasks that require high levels of attentiveness without any intermittent distraction.

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