Review of ADHD Nation

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  • Analytical
  • Scientific
  • Well Structured


New York Times reporter Alan Schwarz covers the history and treatment of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The American Psychiatric Association estimates that ADHD affects about 5% of children, mostly boys. The controversy surrounding ADHD started more than 50 years ago, when it was called “minimal brain dysfunction,” or MBD. Schwarz details the American history of ADHD, including the role of pioneering experts and the pharmaceutical industry’s influence. Schwarz’s diligent journalism and even-handed tone make this necessary report worthy reading. His balanced approach and discussion of ADHD medication will interest patients, parents, mental health professionals, teachers, policy makers and employers.

About the Author

New York Times journalist Alan Schwarz was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his 100-plus articles on concussions among NFL players.


Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Schwarz reports that the first recorded description of ADHD goes back to “Fidgety Philipp,” a poem German psychologist Heinrich Hoffmann wrote about his three-year-old son in 1845. As the chorus says, “But fidgety Phil, he won’t sit still.”

The plight of Emma Pendleton Bradley paved the way for the facility that first treated childhood mental disorders, including ADHD, in the United States. Born in 1879 into wealth and privilege in Providence, Rhode Island, Emma contracted encephalitis at age seven. It inflamed her brain and caused epilepsy, palsy and mental retardation. Schwarz recounts her father George Bradley's unsuccessful quest to find treatment for her. When he died in 1906, he left his fortune to build a facility for mentally challenged children.

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