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ADHD – The Once And Future Disorder

We Rule! (Deniers drool)
We Rule!
(Deniers drool)

There’s a lot of noise in the news and around the water fountain and even in coffee shops and on the street and, well, everywhere, about why ADHD never existed before and why there’s such an increase in diagnoses.

The oft suggested answer of “It’s a made up disorder to sell pharmaceuticals.” would seem to fit the narrow view of a few facts taken out of context and arranged in a convenient way.

Truth has a way of sitting back and quietly letting people make fools of themselves.

Let me tell you something about people

It goes like this. Humans like riddles, or at least they think they do. In reality they like to solve riddles because it makes them feel accomplished. So when there is a puzzle or riddle to be solved they start looking for facts and details and putting them together.

As soon as they get two facts in place, they look for an answer to the riddle that fits those two facts. If none presents itself, they look for a third fact, and then attempt to find a solution that would account for the three facts in evidence.

Sometimes facts change the picture

Once a solution is found that answers the riddle and fits the facts collected, no new investigation is needed, right? But what if there are more facts and they don’t fit the solution?

On to some facts that don’t fit …

ADD first appeared in the DSM III in 1980. A-ha someone says, that’s when they made it up, that’s when they made up ADD so they could start selling drugs to treat it.

But no, there’s a fact that doesn’t fit that. Stimulant drugs were being used to treat children with a disorder called “Hyperkinetic Reaction of Childhood” and a movement to stop that treatment was growing by 1975. This movement had grown from a knee jerk reaction to a misleading story published in 1970 in the Washington Post. So there was already a disorder and treatment in the 70’s.

Well, that’s easily explained …

Perhaps big pharma created the disorder, the demand shall we call it, and then just modified the things like the name later. Tweeked the spin of it maybe.

Okay, how far back does it go?

Let’s have a look, shall we? In 1969, C. Keith Conner first published the Conner’s Rating Scale. That’s pre 70’s, right? Well, okay, not by much, I agree. What about this? In 1963 C. Keith Conner publishes a study on the effects of Ritalin on emotionally disturbed children.

Shall I go on? (You know I shall)

In 1957 Herbert Freed and Charles Peifer do a study on “Hyperkinetic Emotionally Disturbed Children” and the use and effects of Thorazine on them.

In 1937 Dr. Charles Bradley published a study describing the use of Benzedrine (an amphetamine) on children with behavior problems. (He discovered the benefits accidentally when he medicated some of the boys for headaches.) The benefits were improved behavior and attention.

In 1908, Alfred F. Tredgold described children who seemed to have ADHD-like anti-school behavior.

In 1902, some children were described, by Sir George Frederick Still, as having ADHD like symptoms.

There is, in fact, descriptions of symptoms by Hippocrates that would seem to fit very well with a disorder that some would have you believe has been made up recently.

Oh-oh ….

If big pharma had their hand in Hippocrates’ pocket, we are really in trouble.

ADHD – The Once And Future Disorder

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. (2015). ADHD – The Once And Future Disorder. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 18, 2019, from


Last updated: 10 Feb 2015
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