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Truth in Advertising and the ADHD Label

Are you Happy?
Copyright: Nick Harris via Creative Commons

We have a love/hate relationship with labels, don’t we? Often we’re happy to have a name for our troubles. But we do hate being grouped and judged by poorly understood criteria.

And as labels go, ADHD is pretty ineffectual. It misses the mark. It tries to be a catchall, yet only covers some of our many symptoms, and it does that poorly at best.

Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder? Really?

I don’t have an attention deficit, I have an attention Control deficit. And, while I am hyperactive, not all of us are. Do we really need to include that in the name?

If we are going to try to explain this disorder by its name, we have to try to include all the other potential symptoms.

What about inappropriate behavior? That’s a big one for me. I can be inappropriate with the best of them, or the worst of them I guess that would be.

What about poor transitioning? I am constantly amazed by the number of people in our “Club” who are unaware of their inability to transition. Something comes up and they slip a gear and don’t know why. Including this in the name of the disorder would bring that into the limelight.

And what about poor meta-cognition, our being so completely not self aware. So very many of us have taken years to realize who and what we are. I’m uplifted by the numbers of people talking about this disorder and the numbers of people who are finding themselves because of this dialog we are all participating in. But more people would “find themselves” if the name were more descriptive.

Oh yeah, the name … and the symptoms it should cover

Then there is inadequate executive function. I’m not unintelligent, but some of the choices I make would seem to belie that statement. What about the way we laugh at hilarious things we observe – that no one else sees?

I’m going to quit now … though I could go on

Maybe we all have ADHIBPTPMCIEFSLD Attention Deficit Hyperactive Inappropriate Behavior Poor Transitioning Poor Meta-Cognition Inadequate Executive Function Spontaneous Laughter Disorder.

How’s about we call it Attention Control Deficit Conundrum – ACDC?

I think maybe that’s too much of a mouthful. How’s about we call it Attention Control Deficit Conundrum – ACDC? I like that. But then our T-shirts are just going to look the same as those of that rock band … what was their name?

Maybe, like diabetes, we could have types. Instead of ADHD mainly inattentive, ADHD mainly hyperactive and ADHD combined type, it could be ADD Type I, ADD Type II, and ADD Type III.

Okay, okay!

I guess maybe for now, we should leave well enough alone. But could we maybe decide on a standard? I’ve seen a lot of different ways of writing ADHD over the last couple of years, ADHD, ADD, AD(H)D, AD/HD, ADD/ADHD … it’s mind boggling at times. Can we just age to call it ADHD and qualify it subtypes?


Truth in Advertising and the ADHD Label

Kelly Babcock

I was born in the city of Toronto in 1959, but moved when I was in my fourth year of life. I was raised and educated in a rural setting, growing up in a manner I like to refer to as free range. I live in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or more generations. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50 and have been both struggling with the new reality and using my discoveries to make my life better. I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about having ADHD and one that is a daily positive affirmation that acts as an example of finding the good in as much of my life as I possibly can.

Find out more about me on my website: writeofway.

email me at ADHD Man

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APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2012). Truth in Advertising and the ADHD Label. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 22, 2020, from


Last updated: 24 Feb 2012
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