ADHD is a behavioral disorder. It's characterized by an inability to focus.

For some, this could include hyperactive behavior such as frequently interrupting others as well as impulsive behavior.

Other individuals, however, have a very different experience.

When was ADHD discovered? ADHD as we know it today is fairly recent, but for centuries, doctors have identified and studied otherwise intelligent patients with trouble focusing.

ADHD symptoms, facts, and statistics

The ADHD acronym stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Most people think all individuals with ADHD are loud and boisterous.

The truth is, ADHD symptoms can manifest in several different ways. In fact, there are three different types of ADHD – each with their own unique set of symptoms.

ADHD can impact any age group. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 5% of children are currently diagnosed with ADHD while 11% of children have received a diagnosis at some point in their lives.

Unfortunately, 40% of children diagnosed with ADHD are not receiving any treatment. Adults with untreated ADHD often turn to substance abuse to self-medicate.

Inattentive type

Individuals suffering from predominantly inattentive ADHD type have trouble focusing but are less hyperactive.

Symptoms may include:

  • Daydreaming
  • Trouble focusing on tasks
  • Forgetfulness
  • Gets bored easily
  • Difficulty listening and following directions
  • Trouble remembering details
  • Poor organization

Hyperactive-impulsive type

People with this type of ADHD have a hard time focusing due to hyperactive or impulsive behavior.

Their symptoms may look like:

  • Frequently interrupting others or blurting out answers
  • Guessing questions instead of using problem solving skills
  • Frequently changing jobs or relationships
  • Restlessness
  • Inappropriate or generally impulsive behavior
  • Seeking quick thrills

Combination type

Other individuals may not fit into either of the above categories because they experience both types of symptoms. These instances are known as combination type.

Everyone has trouble focusing now and then, this doesn't necessarily mean they have ADHD. If these symptoms negatively affect daily life by interfering with jobs, education, or relationships, it's important to talk to a doctor or qualified professional.

When was ADHD discovered?

when was adhd discovered
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ADHD as we know it today is a fairly new concept. In general, mental health treatment in the United States and around the world has a pretty dark history.

Scientists and doctors have actually studied attention deficit problems in otherwise healthy and intelligent individuals for a few centuries.

In order to understand how ADHD came to be, it's important to look back at its history.


Sir Alexander Crichton, a Scottish physician, devoted his life to studying mental illness throughout different parts of Europe. He is known as the "ADHD pioneer" because he was one of the first to identify inattention or frequent distraction as a mental health disorder.

Early 1900's

About 100 years later, British pediatrician Sir George Frederic noticed otherwise healthy and normal children were having trouble concentrating. He named the disorder "an abnormal defect of moral children."


In the 1930's, Benzedrine the market. Generically known as amphetamine, this medication was originally prescribed for congestion. Doctors soon noticed some other remarkable side effects and started prescribing the drug for different conditions such as weight loss, narcolepsy, and inattention. Amphetamines are still the most commonly prescribed medication for ADHD to this day.


This year, the American Psychological Association (APA) released the second edition of the "Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders" (DSM) which included what we now know as ADHD for the first time. Back then, the disorder was called "hyperkinetic impulse disorder."


In 1980, the APA released the third edition of the DSM and gave hyperkinetic impulse disorder a new name: ADD. The term ADD has since become outdated because...


…in 1987 the condition was once again renamed as ADHD. Since then, doctors have learned how to better diagnose the condition and people have become more aware of the symptoms. New nonstimulant medications have also emerged and more therapeutic treatment options are also available.

Is ADHD neurobiological?

To answer this question, it's important to understand what the term "neurobiological" means and how it may apply to ADHD which is classified as a neurodevelopmental behavioral disorder.

Neurobiology is a branch of biology devoted to studying the central nervous system.

It's multidisciplinary which means that neurobiology studies connections between the nervous system, anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, as well as brain neurons and neural circuits.

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder which means it is triggered by a disruption in the central nervous symptom.

Since ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder, this should imply that no biological or physiological element exists, right?

For years, this was the case, but recent studies suggest a biological link might exist.

New findings have just started to emerge showing that neurobiological mechanisms actually link genes to other properties in the brain and nervous system. This would imply that ADHD is, in fact, neurobiological.

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