What is ADD/ADHD?

Posted by: Center for Growth Therapists

ADD / ADHD Treatment in Philadelphia: What is ADD/ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a medical condition resulting in hyperactivity, impulsivity, and distractibility. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the technical name, but is mostly commonly known as ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). For the purposes of simplicity, we will use the terms Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) interchangeably throughout this tip.

There is a common misconception that Addention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is due to laziness, or lack of trying. Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is no one’s fault. You cannot prevent or cure your Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), but you can learn strategies to better manage your symptoms and in turn reduce the Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)’s impairment. The underlying cause of ADD symptoms is due to under-activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain that basically helps you run your life. The prefrontal cortex is in charge of taking in and processing information, problem solving, reasoning, and making behavioral decisions that impact your small to large.

Have you ever tried to recite The Star-Spangled Banner, while someone else loudly sings the Alphabet Song right in your ear? How are you supposed to maintain focus and at the same time remember and recite the Star-Spangled Banner in its entirety when someone is practically shouting in your ear? Most individuals (without ADD) would find this activity to be practically impossible, mostly over stimulating. In this moment you would find it difficult to take in what you’re hearing, and stay on your own task, and to perform your own task without mistakes. An under-active prefrontal cortex is like a large business’s internet continuously shutting off throughout the workday. A failing internet prevents the sending and receiving of information, which will impact communication, and likely effect business. Meaning, when you prefrontal cortex is not working properly, this will affect your ability to clearly understand information, which will impact your decision making skills. If your prefrontal cortex is not helping you take in and process all of the information properly, this will affect how you socialize with others, how you consider consequences, and this will affect your ability to maintain focus on short-term and long-term goals.

Three types of ADD/ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Predominantly Inattentive Type- The primary characteristics for this type of ADD include: inability to follow through on instructions, inability to listen, and inconsistency in attention.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Predominantly Hyperactive/Impulsive Type- The primary characteristics for this type off ADD are hyperactivity (such as excessive movement and physical activity in children, feelings of restlessness in adults) and impulsivity (often interrupts others or talks over others).

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Combined Type-This type is used when the primary characteristics are a combination of the Inattentive and Hyperactive-Impulsive type.

The impact of ADD (Adults)

The impact of ADD in adults varies, depending on the adult’s lifestyle. It can be easier to detect traits of ADD in children, because most children are in a school setting, faced with similar tasks and expectations: sitting still, focusing, memory recall, practicing patience/raising hand, etc. Depending on the adult’s chosen career path, ADD traits can work to his/her advantage in certain professions, leaving the ADD difficult to detect. However, other jobs that require tasks such as extensive research or reading, may bring significant challenges to someone with ADD, putting their symptoms on display constantly.


ADD impacts all aspects of one’s life: Intimacy/romance, self-care, long-term goals, family, etc., the level of impact will vary in each area, and depend on the person. Depending on the specific type of ADD while you may do well in follow through and reliability, you may struggle with being fully emotionally present because you’re so preoccupied by the many different thoughts running through your mind at the same time. Or for example, you may be emotionally present, but you may be perceived as argumentative. Other typical behaviors include disorganization, difficulty staying on task, difficulty shifting focus, difficulty multitasking, impulsivity, (speaking before thinking, impulsive spending, etc.), forgetfulness (tendency to lose things, miss appointments, forget details of a conversation).

The underlying cause of these behaviors for someone with ADD is typically for one of two reasons: 1) The ADD brain craves stimulation because the brain is not producing enough dopamine. This explains why someone with ADD would seek out conflict, or become overly involved in a new activity. 2) Because of an under-active prefrontal cortex, the brain doesn’t always perform the way it is intended to. This is why someone with ADD may forget about doctor’s appointments, paying bills on time, or struggle to think things through before acting on the urge to spend, or say something potentially hurtful.

ADD / ADHD Treatment in Philadelphia / Center for Growth

The ideal goal with treating ADD/ADHD at Therapy in Philadelphia / Center for Growth is to manage the symptoms, and develop a routine and lifestyle that best fits your strengths. There are a range of treatments from holistic, to behavioral, medicinal, etc. Finding a psychotherapist who specializes in ADD would be best in helping you identify your symptoms in order to figure out the best treatment approach.

Living with ADD in Philadelphia brings challenges. Living with someone or parenting a child who has ADD is also challenging, and will test the patience of loved ones. The characteristics of someone with ADD also have advantages: individuals with ADD tend to be very creative, good problem solvers, good with making connections,  open minded, easy going, and spontaneous. These traits can make living and loving someone with ADD to be exciting and fun. Individuals with ADD are often very creative and energetic in creating romance and showing love to their loved ones. Whether it’s putting their energy and efforts in cooking for their family, making creative gifts like love poems or handmade cards, or motivating loved ones when needed, these are just a few areas where they excel in love and life. These traits can also be an advantage, or manageable in the workplace, often in areas that involve high intensity, creativity, or public relations. A few examples of these jobs include a nurse, doctor, musician, psychotherapist, artist, firefighter, athletic coach, and more. `

If you are struggling, and want extra support Call The Center for Growth / ADD / ADHD Treatment in Philadelphia, one of our counselors can help!  267-324-9564.