People often ask us which term is correct: ADD, ADHD, or AD/HD?

The official term currently used by the American Psychiatric Association is ADHD.

In 1980, the DSM-III (a manual for doctors) introduced ADD (Attention-Deficit Disorder) with or without hyperactivity. In 1987, it was changed to ADHD. Then, in 1994 with the publication of the DSM-IV, ADHD was further broken down into 3 subtypes:

  1. ADHD, Combined Type
  2. ADHD Predominantly Inattentive
  3. ADHD, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type

Unofficially, many people use the term ADD (no “H”) to refer to Inattentive Type (where hyperactivity is either absent or not a pervasive symptom). Likewise, they use ADHD to refer to Hyperactive-Impulsive Type (where hyperactivity is pervasive). And the term AD/HD (with the slash) is used a catchall to refer to all types simultaneously.

However, you’ll find that people use ADD, ADHD, and AD/HD interchangeably.

Throughout this site, we use the official American Psychiatric Association term ADHD. And the information we offer is for everyone with adult ADHD, no matter what the subtype.

For complete diagnostic criteria, you can refer to the CDC website at

Erin Korey About Erin Korey

Erin Korey is the Managing Partner and Chief Operations Officer of the ADD Management Group, LLC and


  1. I like to call it ADOS, for Attention Deficit Oooohhhh Shiny.

  2. Thanks for this article! Wonder how many times I’ve heard, “I don’t have ADHD, just ADD.” The pedantic in me always has to bite my tongue so I won’t correct the mistake. It does concern me how many professionals don’t use the new terminology – makes me think they’re not keeping up with the latest – I mean it changed in 1994!

    By the way – love the new site design!

  3. LOL Adam, you’re exactly right….

  4. Thanks so much, Kayla! And Happy New Year to you.

    Adam, I’m all about the shiny. That’s awesome.