Exploring ADHD: History, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Concerns

In honor of ADHD awareness month, we’re delving into the intricate world of ADHD and shedding light on its history, diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing concerns. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD, is the most frequently diagnosed neurodevelopmental disorder in children and increasingly impacts adults. This journey through the realm of ADHD will uncover its intriguing past, the evolving landscape of diagnosis, potential causes, treatment options, and the pertinent debate surrounding overdiagnosis and treatment.

A Glimpse into ADHD’s History

ADHD’s roots date back to 1902 when Sir George Still first described it. It’s astonishing to realize that this condition has been acknowledged for over a century. In 1923, a study provided the initial evidence linking brain injuries to ADHD-like symptoms, paving the way for the first ADHD treatment in the 1930s.

The Evolution of ADHD Treatment

From the 1930s to 1982, several ADHD treatments were developed, including the notable Ritalin SR. However, there was a significant treatment gap until 1996, during which 15 new ADHD products were introduced. Many believe this contributed to the surge in ADHD diagnoses.

Diagnosis and Subtypes

ADHD diagnosis relies on three main subtypes: inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity, and a combined presentation. Inattention symptoms include difficulty paying attention and forgetfulness, while hyperactivity and impulsivity involve symptoms like fidgeting and talking excessively. The combined presentation exhibits a mix of both.

Potential Causes of ADHD

Theories about ADHD’s causes include a deficiency in the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which is linked to dopamine and the brain’s reward center. The chemical imbalance theory, while largely debunked, has been considered. Nutrient deficiencies and genetic factors are also under investigation.

ADHD Treatment and Concerns

ADHD treatment typically involves medications like methylphenidate and amphetamine. Concerns about overdiagnosis and treatment persist. Renowned psychiatrist Dr. Allen Frances, a DSM task force member, criticizes pharmaceutical companies’ role in the proliferation of ADHD diagnoses.

Effectiveness and Risks of ADHD Treatment

The National Institute of Mental Health conducted the Multimodal Treatment of ADHD study, which initially showed symptom reduction but revealed diminishing benefits and deterioration over time. Long-term studies also found no significant advantages in terms of symptom reduction or academic improvement. A Cochrane database review highlighted various adverse effects associated with ADHD medications.

FDA’s Response to Concerns

In response to concerns, the FDA is requiring updates and standardization of prescribing information for amphetamine and methylphenidate products used for ADHD treatment. This aims to ensure that patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals are well-informed about associated risks.


ADHD is a complex condition that has evolved in our understanding and treatment over the years. Each individual’s experience with ADHD is unique, emphasizing the need for a tailored approach to treatment. As ADHD awareness month begins, we encourage you to explore Centurion Labs for more information on ADHD and other health-related topics. Remember, taking ownership of your health is paramount. Until next time, take care and stay healthy!