In studying the history of attention deficit disorder we see that doctors were on the path of the condition for over one hundred years, they just didn’t know what to call it or what to do with it. In the history of attention deficit disorder we have doctors and psychologists who refused to accept the notion that a person is simply a daydreamer or hyperactive as part of their personality. Doctors throughout the history of attention deficit disorder have worked very hard to not only develop a clinical way to diagnose attention deficit disorder but on various ways to contain it and even treat it. The history of attention deficit disorder is a fascinating study in the evolution of the study of behavior.
The history of attention deficit disorder begins in approximately 1902 when psychiatrists and doctors began to track a condition they began referring to as “morbid defect of moral control.” As they began to study the condition and learn more about it they continually changed the name of the condition to go along with their research. In 1922 they began referring to it as “post-encephalitic behavior disorders” which has to be the most colorful, and confusing, name in all of the history of attention deficit disorder. In 1960 they began to get a better feel for what they were looking at and changed the name to “minimal brain dysfunction.” Undoubtedly patients began feeling uncomfortable with being told they have a brain dysfunction so in 1968 they changed it to the space-age sounding “hyperkinetic reaction.” Finally in 1980 they coined the term attention deficit disorder.
Doctors in the 1960’s began focusing more on the outwardly anxious and excitable behavior that they attributed to attention deficit disorder and began focusing their clinical studies on that aspect of the hyperactivity associated with the condition. But as the 1970’s turned into the 1980’s doctors began to connect the hyperactivity with the tendency for daydreaming and other symptoms of a more inward and quieter condition. By the 1990’s the whole field of study for attention deficit disorder was opened up and since then the diagnosis, treatment, and even existence of attention deficit disorder has been widely debated.
Today attention deficit disorder has a line of medications applied to it and a range of therapies that go from psychotherapy to full on drug therapy. There has been a push lately for treatment by a change in diet and as doctors learn more about attention deficit disorder they keep adding new chapters to the history of attention deficit disorder.