How long has ADHD been recognized as a medical diagnosis?

Updated: Sep 09, 2021
  • Author: Maggie A Wilkes, MD; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
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Contrary to some media accounts, ADHD (ADD) is not new. In the early 1900s, diagnosis emphasized the hyperactivity component. Today, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention are the areas of focus. However, reports have alluded to disorders involving hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention in conjunction with distractibility and inappropriate arousal patterns throughout medical history. What is new is the enhanced awareness of ADHD (ADD) secondary to rapidly accumulating research findings and its addition to the DSM in 1980.

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