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Alternate Names For ADHD: We’re A Funny Lot

Welcome to "Name that disorder!"
Welcome to “Name that disorder!”

In days of old, about three decades ago, ADHD was called Minimal Brain Dysfunction. The fact that it didn’t exist as ADHD back then is a really good clue to why the diagnosis of it seems to have skyrocketed in recent times.

It has also been called ADD, as many of you know. But the most recent name, ADHD is the one that is currently accepted. We often say ADD is the disorder without hyperactivity, but the medical terminology actually stipulates that it is all ADHD with subtypes, “primarily inattentive” being the one without hyperactivity, and “primarily hyperactive” being the one with, while “combined subtype” is the group I’m sent to stand with.

But people with ADHD have been recognized as having … some difference, for over a hundred years. And I for one, am tired of the serious sounding, yet invariably misleading names this disorder has been saddled with.

Minimal Brain Dysfunction?

What were they thinking? How can you have a brain that goes ten times faster then it was supposed to, and call it a “Dysfunction?” Instead of MBD it should have been MBT, “Maximal Brain Turbocharging.” What odds if the GPS was left out and there are no brakes, this is a far more accurate label.

And sticking with the racing brain concept, what about calling the disorder DB, “Daytona Brain.” Better? I think so.

Well would you look at that …

Another potential name I’ve come across is ADOS. That stands for “Attention Deficit … Ooooh, Shiny.” I don’t like that one so much, it makes us appear shallow and superficial and is just … donuts? Just a second, somebody just brought donuts in, I’ll be right back …

Where was I?

Another name for this disorder that I came across last week was ADCD, Attention Deficit Cleaning Disorder … where we go to clean one mess, and end up doing three other things.

I have often thought that calling this an attention deficit is not a fair description of how this thing works. We always pay attention, there’s no deficit to our attention at all. In fact the problem is what we pay attention to. I therefore proposed at one time that we call it ACDC, “Attention Control Deficit Conundrum.”

I’ve also been thinking more about this issue of paying attention. It seems to me that the bulk of our problem is that we’re not paying attention to what others think we should be paying attention to. With that in mind, I’d like to propose a new name for this disorder. One that really spells out what’s going on here.

That’s right, a new name that gets right to the heart of the matter. A name that describes the biggest problem of a group of people who have a very big problem. And I think I have it: Judges Everyone Really Critically … “JERC”

What??? You don’t think that’s fair?

Oh wait, it’s not for us, it’s a name for those who think they know what we should pay attention to. I still have ADHD, combined subtype, I haven’t thought of a name for that yet.


Alternate Names For ADHD: We’re A Funny Lot

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 on the traditional lands of the Chippewas of Nawash in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or 7 generations and my First Nations friend's families go back hundreds of 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 am a freelance writer and I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about living with 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. (2013). Alternate Names For ADHD: We’re A Funny Lot. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 19, 2020, from


Last updated: 22 Jul 2013
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