Hello to all my ADHD peeps and ADHD loved ones,
In the 1970’s researchers are still trying to figure out why some of these kids are hyper and why some of the kids are not hyper. They seem to be suffering from the same symptoms, the biggest difference is one group doesn’t exhibit the hyperactivity of the other group. The group with hyperactivity are also showing a better response in alleviating symptoms with the stimulant medication that is currently being used. In the 1970’s Virginia Douglas writes a paper to the Canadian Psychological Association in this paper Mrs. Douglas states that the issues with attention and impulse control were more significant than the hyperactivity. This paper was extremely influential to the point that it caused a change in the label of ADHD. We end up with the first appearance of ADD with or without hyperactivity. The Diagnostic Manual III for mental health disorders states that hyperactivity is no longer essential criteria to diagnose the disorder.
This splitting and changing of the name, like with all things, caused confusion. The Diagnostic Manual changed so quickly that practitioners were confused on if this was two different disorders or just one. So by 1987 the Diagnostic Manual gets rid of these two subtypes of ADD and goes back to ADHD. ADHD at this time has a subtype of disorder called undifferentiated ADD. This is ADHD without the hyperactivity. These two diagnoses continued to be separated from one another and researchers found that children with hyperactivity tended to be more aggressive and had a more difficult time making friends, whereas the children without hyperactivity had more issues in academics and were more lethargic.
Up until the 1990’s researchers believed that children were growing out of this disorder, turns out that they were wrong. This is why people in adulthood can still be diagnosed with ADHD today as long as they had a history of the trademark symptoms during their childhood. This is why it is important if you notice that your child is having issues to make sure that they are getting documentation and testing done to get a diagnosis because it is much more difficult to get diagnosed in adulthood than it is while they are a child and experiencing some of the more stereotypical symptoms. An example of this is while I was a child, I had a very difficult time sitting in class and listening to what a teacher had to say. I would get up and start walking around in class. Well, I am an adult now and I don’t get up randomly during class and start walking around because I now have the ability to control my ADHD enough to stay sitting. That doesn’t mean that I am fully “there” in class. Instead of walking around and reading things on the wall I may look around see what the people three rows in front of me are doing, check my phone, or bounce my leg. I still have the issue, but it has manifested differently. As you grow up with ADHD you have to learn to cope with the symptoms in order to survive in society while children are unable to do so, which is why it manifests so obviously in children but is harder to see in adults. This is why it is important to get tested when you are younger even if you believe or don’t believe in medication for your child. (Not getting into arguments over those two schools of thought that is not what this blog is about.) If you get tested early you have the documentation stating that you had ADHD as a child and the odds are 50-50 you are still experiencing the long-term effects of the ADHD.