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ADHD or Concentration Deficit Disorder?

ADHD, ADHD or Concentration Deficit Disorder?With more parents and teachers becoming educated on ADHD and its subtypes, more children are being diagnosed and receiving treatment. A new disorder, distinct from ADHD, has been increasingly diagnosed amongst children — Concentration Deficit Disorder (CDD) (2).

What is Concentration Deficit Disorder?

Concentration Deficit Disorder was previously referred to as Sluggish Cognitive Tempo (SCT) when it was first being explored. CDD’s main symptoms include: day dreaming, being easily confused, feeling sluggish, lethargic (easily tired), staring into space or in a “fog” (1,3).  People with CDD are slower at completing tasks and are easily worn out and fatigued. While CDD can be confused for inattentive ADHD, due to the strong role of inattention in both disorders, studies have shown that CDD contains separate symptoms and impairments (3).  ADHD (inattentive) symptoms include forgetfulness, problems staying on task, easily distracted, easily bored, easily confused and difficulty following instructions (4).

Co-morbidity with ADHD

At first there were debates over whether CDD was a subtype of ADHD  but clinicians have confirmed that CDD is separate from inattentive ADHD. CDD is highly co morbid with ADHD, specifically with inattentive ADHD (up to 59% of the time) (2). Two symptoms found in CDD, completing tasks slowly and lacking effort/ motivation, is commonly associated with ADHD as well (1).


CDD has not been associated with any specific age or gender while ADHD is found in younger children and primarily in males. Overall, CDD has a later onset for diagnoses than ADHD. A study on adults with CDD and ADHD, found that adults with ADHD were younger than adults who had CDD (1).

Impairments of CDD vs ADHD

CDD commonly causes social withdrawal because these children have difficulty in understanding social cues. While CDD is more related to peer neglect, ADHD is more related to aggressive behavior and peer rejection (1). ADHD has been found to cause more executive functioning deficits in children compared to CDD, such as deficits in self management, restraint, motivation, self organization etc.(2). ADHD causes more intense impairments than CDD in home/ school settings while CDD is more impairing in community/ leisure settings(2). A combination of CDD and ADHD (comorbidity),  causes the largest level of overall impairment and challenges. (1)

Future Directions for CDD

CDD is still a fairly new disorder and has not been explored extensively in research studies. CDD faces its own unique sets of impairments, specifically social withdrawal, and must be treated as its own separate disorder. Parents and teachers can look out for these symptoms and educate themselves on CDD in order to best help the children who are suffering.
Work Cited
1. Barkley, R. A. Sluggish Cognitive Tempo/Concentration Deficit Disorder.
2.Barkley, R. A. (2013). Distinguishing sluggish cognitive tempo from ADHD in children and  adolescents: executive functioning, impairment, and comorbidity. Journal of Clinical  Child & Adolescent Psychology, 42(2), 161-173.
3. https://www.brainbalancecenters.com/blog/2014/10/adhd-vs-cdd-concentration-deficit-disorder/                        4. http://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/inattentive-type

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