February 7, 2023Nearly three decades ago, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was misunderstood, misdiagnosed, and rarely discussed. There was strong resistance, if not outright skepticism, to the notion that ADHD was a “real” disorder.
Today, ADHD is the most common mental health diagnosis among children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6 million Americans aged 3 to 17 have ADHD — nearly 10% of that population.1It might not surprise you to learn that it was a devoted mother who helped to create public awareness — through the pages of ADDitude — that this neurodevelopmental disorder needed and deserved understanding and appropriate treatment.
That mother was Ellen Kingsley. She left her 20-year TV journalism career when her son was diagnosed with severe ADHD in the mid-1990s.
In researching treatments and approaches, Kingsley found very little parent-friendly, practical information about the condition.One hundred years ago, ADHD was known as “hyperkinesis,” and later as “minimal brain dysfunction.” It was first recognized as “attention deficit disorder” in 1980, with the publication of the DSM-III by the American Psychiatric Association; seven years later, it was given another name: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.2In the early 1990s, ADHD pioneers Edward Hallowell, M.D., and John Ratey, M.D., changed the ADHD landscape with the groundbreaking book Driven to Distraction, which dispelled old myths, reassured caregivers, and helped a growing number of adults recognize their own ADHD symptoms. Russell A.