As per National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH):

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.

As per American Psychiatric Association (APA):

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental disorders affecting children. ADHD also affects many adults. Symptoms of ADHD include inattention (not being able to keep focus), hyperactivity (excess movement that is not fitting to the setting) and impulsivity (hasty acts that occur in the moment without thought).


Source: apa.org, nimh.nih.gov


Timeline & Evolution of ADHD

From being disregarded initially to being widely acknowledged as a legit mental issue, ADHD has come a long way. Let’s trace its journey from the very beginning to this date:




Sir Alexander Crichton touches upon “mental restlessness” in his book ‘An inquiry into the nature and origin of mental derangement’.




Sir George Frederic Still delivers a series of three lectures called the Goulstonian lectures, which mentioned ADHD for the first time.




USA becomes the first country to recognise ADHD as a mental disorder as American Psychological Association (APA) mentions “hyperkinetic impulse disorder” in the second version of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).




APA changes the term from “hyperkinetic impulse disorder” to “attention-deficit disorder” or “ADD” in DSM-III.




APA changes the term again, this time, from “attention-deficit disorder” to “attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder” or “ADHD” in a revised rendition of DSM-III.



ADHD is rapidly emerging as a recognised mental disorder across the world.



Australia: Recognised by Healthdirect Australia and protected under the 1992 Disability Discrimination Act. (healthdirect.gov.au)

Canada: Selectively recognised—only severe cases where ADHD may disrupt daily life are considered—by Canada Revenue Agency since 2013 and advocated by Centre for ADHD Awareness Canada (CADDAC) alongside Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance (CADDRA). (thenba.ca, disabilitycreditcanada.com)

France: Recognised by law and protected under French Disability Act 2005. (ansm.sante.fr)

Germany: Recognised by law as ADHS or ADS and protected by German insurance companies since 2011. (zentrales-adhs-netz.de)

India: Recognised in accordance with International Classification of Disease (ICD-11) of the World Health Organisation and protected by Mental Healthcare Act since 2017. (indiacode.nic.in)

Netherlands: Recognised by the Health Council of the Netherlands since 2000. (gezondheidsraad.nl)

New Zealand: Recognised by Ministry of Health NZ since 2001. (health.govt.nz)

UK: Recognised by ADHD Foundation and protected under the Equality Act 2010. (adhdfoundation.org.uk)

USA: Recognised by American Psychiatric Association (APA) in DSM-V and protected under the American Disabilities Act 1990. (ldaamerica.org)


Source: healthline.com, scoop.co.nz, allaboutberlin.com, caddra.ca, caddac.ca, additudemag.com