“The history of psychiatry is a history of fads in theory, diagnosis, and treatment. Such rapid shifts in conceptualization—such as the emergence of the concept of adult ADHD—almost always warrant informed critical examination.”
This article by Mark Ruffalo and S. Nassir Ghaemi has been published in Psychiatric Times. It begins:
“As recently as 2 decades ago, the consensus view in American academic psychiatry was that attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) rarely, if ever, persists into adulthood.1,2 For decades, ADHD was considered a disorder of childhood; adult cases were seen uncommonly and the diagnosis was rarely made. DSM-IV-TR, published in 2000, describes a condition existing in children and makes only scant reference to adults.3
Fast-forward to 2023, and adult ADHD is the diagnosis du jour; rates of diagnosis are skyrocketing at an alarming rate as are prescriptions for psychostimulants, the drugs that purportedly treat the condition.
The history of psychiatry is a history of fads in theory, diagnosis, and treatment. Such rapid shifts in conceptualization—such as the emergence of the concept of adult ADHD—almost always warrant informed critical examination.
In the case of a novel psychiatric disorder, it is either true that (1) psychopathologists and psychiatric nosologists have missed the disorder for more than a century, or (2) that the disorder is a case of disease mongering, when a condition that has never been observed is suddenly made popular overnight as a result of social, cultural, and economic reasons. We argue that the latter is true for adult ADHD …”
You can read more from here.