ADHD News & Research

ADHD Awareness Month 2023: Contrasting ADHD Then Vs. Now

This ADHD Awareness Month, ADDitude will reflect on the evolution of ADHD understanding, care, and research since the magazine’s founding 25 years ago.

September 28, 2023

Then: ADHD is a behavioral disorder.
Now: “ADHD is a cognitive disorder, a developmental impairment of executive functions.” — Thomas E. Brown, Ph.D.

Then: ADHD is hyperactivity and impulsivity.
Now: ADHD is emotional dysregulation and executive dysfunction. — Russell Barkley, Ph.D.

Then: ADHD is deficient attention.
Now: “The hallmark of the ADHD nervous system is not attention deficit, but inconsistent attention.” — William Dodson, M.D.

Then: Adult women can’t have ADHD.
Now: ADHD is a highly impairing and potentially dangerous condition for girls and women. — Ellen Littman, Ph.D.

ADHD as we know it was different 25 years ago. The topic of adult ADHD was barred from major national conferences on the condition. Virtually no screenings for ADHD took place after puberty. Practitioners advised patients that stimulant medication was needed only during school and work hours. Girls and women with ADHD were neglected.

Today, much is different — and dramatically better for pediatric and adult patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. But a great deal of work remains.

ADDitude magazine, the world’s most trusted resource on ADHD, is honoring ADHD Awareness Month and celebrating its 25th anniversary by reflecting on the evolution of ADHD understanding and treatment. Every day in October, ADDitude will share a reflection on how ADHD understanding and care have evolved — and where more work is needed — since the magazine’s founding. Insights like the one below will appear on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and our ADHD Awareness Month hub.

In its forthcoming anniversary issue, ADDitude will continue to honor the past, embrace the present, and anticipate a future in which the ADHD brain is better understood, cared for, and celebrated. Russell Barkley, Ph.D.; Ned Hallowell, M.D.; Kathleen Nadeau, Ph.D.; William Dodson, M.D.; and many other leaders in the field of ADHD reflect on their past experiences (hint: some are jaw-dropping!) — and envision where we go from here. Articles in the anniversary issue include:

Subscribe now to receive the 25th anniversary issue of ADDitude magazine.