cover image ADHD Does Not Exist: The Truth About Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder

ADHD Does Not Exist: The Truth About Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder

Richard Saul, M.D. HarperCollins, $23.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-226673-6

Saul, a behavioral neurologist with 50 years of clinical practice, isn’t joking around; after noting that 11% of American children are diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder—a 40% increase in a decade—he makes the provocative claim that, “among the millions of people diagnosed, not one of them actually has ADHD.” This matters for many reasons, particularly in that treatment for real disorders is delayed when ADHD is [mis]diagnosed and two-thirds of children diagnosed with ADHD take powerful stimulants with potentially debilitating side effects. Saul takes readers—parents, teachers, physicians—on a fascinating tour of conditions that share symptoms with ADHD. Children with Tourette’s disorder misdiagnosed as ADHD can experience amplified tics on ADHD stimulants. Other conditions with ADHD-like symptoms include undiagnosed hearing, sight, and sleep problems; undiagnosed giftedness, learning disabilities, mood and sensory processing disorders—even allergies. While few would argue with Saul’s contention that overdiagnosis is rampant, his uncompromising main theme will concern clinicians who regularly deal with the condition, whose criteria in the (much fought over) industry bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, were recently loosened. Nevertheless, parents will be better armed to ask more of the right questions after reading Saul’s book, which should spark much debate. (Mar.)