The ADHD Explosion: Myths, Medication, Money, and Today’s Push for Performance

Stephen P. Hinshaw and Richard M. Scheffler. Oxford Univ., $35 (288p) ISBN 978-0-19-979055-5
With 11% of American children receiving a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and over two-thirds currently on medication, the authors aim to address the “alarming” misinformation, stereotypes, and “outright hostility” associated with the disorder and its treatment. The problem lies in our educational and healthcare practices, say Hinshaw, a professor of psychology, and Scheffler, a professor in the School of Public Health, both at the University of California, Berkeley. They explore the history of ADHD and its “mammoth cost level”—over $100 billion a year—as well as its biology and genetics, drug and behavioral treatment, the myth that ADHD is a problem of fidgety suburban boys, and the stark school and policy differences from state to state, illustrating the need for “careful evaluation and diagnosis, responsive treatment, use of multimodal interventions, and adequate monitoring of treatments.” The stories of children and adults suffering with the disorder, however, make the best case for a nation’s change in attitude and behavior. “Hard numbers are difficult to come by,” the authors note, “but tens if not hundreds of thousands of kids” exist in a netherworld of chronic problems associated with ADHD. This powerful, fact-packed survey is complex, thought-provoking, and urgent. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/16/2013
Release date: 03/01/2014
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