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Publisher's Summary

A groundbreaking and definitive account of the widespread misdiagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and its serious effects on children, adults, and society.

More than one in seven American children are getting diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) - three times what experts have said is appropriate, making it one of the most mishandled and debated conditions in medicine. The numbers are rising every year. Now doctors and Big Pharma are targeting adults and the rest of the world to get diagnosed with ADHD and take medications that will "transform their lives".

In ADHD Nation, Alan Schwarz takes listeners behind the scenes to show the roots and rise of this cultural and medical phenomenon: There's the father of ADHD, Dr. Keith Conners, who spends 50 years pioneering the disorder and use of drugs like Ritalin before realizing his role in what he now calls "a national disaster of dangerous proportions"; a troubled young girl and studious teenage boy who get entangled in the growing ADHD machine and take medications that cause them serious problems; and a pharmaceutical industry that egregiously overpromotes the disorder and earns billions from the mishandling of children (and now adults).

While demonstrating that ADHD is real and can be successfully medicated, Schwarz sounds an alarm and urges America to wake up and address this growing national problem.

©2016 Alan Schwarz (P)2016 Simon & Schuster

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Adroitly written and expertly narrated

What did you love best about ADHD Nation?

I appreciated the author's in depth research and determination to be sensitive to the subject matter and not just settle for easy answers. Over the course of the book, he highlights the problems attached to the over-diagnosis of ADHD and the mindset of parents, doctors, and educators to medicate children as an easy answer rather than looking for other avenues of treatment, but he does not do this to the detriment of those who actually suffer from ADHD. This makes the book richer than it would otherwise be, by admitting that it is a real condition that requires real treatment (sometimes via prescription medicines), but that it doesn't mean every diagnosis is made in a thoughtful and ethical way.

Any additional comments?

4.5 stars. Fascinating, infuriating, frustrating, and unforgivable. This even-handed, engagingly-written look at ADHD, treatment, childhood, doctors, and pharmaceutical interests is eye-opening and should spurn any reader to do some serious soul-searching when it comes to how we engage with medicine, how mental conditions are diagnosed, and what happens when a disproportionate part of the equation is not health but profits, not normal development but shortcuts, not seeing patients as a whole person but seeing them as a problem to be solved (preferably with a pill). A must-read.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Susan
  • Philadelphia, PA, United States
  • 09-23-16

Diagnosis in the Interest of Conformity

What did you love best about ADHD Nation?

Excellent writing(rarely seen or heard in this age of technology) and the exposure of a problem in the way American children,in particular are raised. Children/adolescents/college students and even adults of all ages are told that they have a disorder of cognition. The Bible of Mental Health clinicians has expanded from a pamphlet sized document to a tome too hefty to lift. Different does not mean defective. The government demands conformity in"no children left behind" which really translates to "all children left behind".

What did you like best about this story?

As a former pharmacist, I began to see more and more inappropriate prescriptions for ADHD drugs. At one job, we dispensed prescriptions to a group home in our little town. When the psychiatrist came through every month, I thought it very odd that kids would end up on two or three prescriptions(all the same) that were different than the month before. Psychiatry, is less than a science,especially in children. I am thankful that such a prestigious writer has pointed out the problem of over prescribing for conditions that are all subjective(i.e.: reported by a third party or two). One of the cases presented was a problem of parents of a normal child who later had to go to rehab due to abuse of other drugs. She finally did get into the college of her choice,NYU, but noted that she had to stay out of the bathrooms in the library because the sniffing of those brain enhancing pills could be heard outside the door!

What does Jonathan Todd Ross bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The narration was terrific, and he didn't even stumble over words like methylphenidate.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

I'm not sure it would make a very good film. People often avoid films that are to close to reality, but I think the book title would be a good film title. After all, how much do we spend on "rehab" every year???

Any additional comments?

This book should have been written long ago. our country has gone backwards in educational standards. All children are not equal. That is something we should be thankful about!! As we focus,now, on STEM schools, elevating the sciences and math to higher status than history or geography; we do irreparable damage to our children and our families which make up the nation, once great!

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Incredible

incredible book, awesome story telling and research about this overtreated and missmanaged disorder. We should have more like this and waiting to listen to some advise of how to treat it

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Comprehensive overview and history of ADHD and it’s meds

Anyone with an interest in the full spectrum and history of ADHD and the medicines developed and promoted to address it would enjoy this book. Any parents considering, or worse being pressured into considering ADHD medications should definitely read this book.

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I learned a lot about myself

Very informative. a little too much at times. I felt that my childhood experience was represented in this book.

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Very good starting point to understand what is going on with ADHD

This book does a nice job of balancing the legitimate use of medication and the current situation of haphazard diagnosis and rampant over diagnosis.

Schwartz does a quality review of the history of the disorder. It is well written. This is not a book about the science or fine points of this diagnostic label, or treatment. He does not talk much about psychosocial treatment options, mentioning only CBT, nor does it talk about ecological issues contributing.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Balanced summary of the current status of ADHD

This book starts with a strident criticism of the use of amphetamine like stimulant drugs. I initially thought this would be a biased discussion with an agenda. With the exception of a condemnation of the marketing techniques of the pharmaceutical industry, I felt the discussion was objective. There is an extensive discussion about the use of proprietary drugs in the absence of legitimate ADHD to enhance performance by students, college professors, lawyers, physicians and every other aspect of life and all ages from toddlers to the aged.
Like it or not we live in a medicated society.





1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Big Pharm at work, this time against children

Anyone with children, grandchildren, loved ones, friends, or yourself, who has been diagnosed with ADHD needs to listen to this book.. Alan Schwarz is very fair in his telling of this story. He is not taking sides, but I suspect most rational people will walk away thinking, boy did I drink the koolaid or what? Wake up America, before we are a nation of people who can't function without that magic prescription drug.. Oh wait, we're almost there!!!

3 of 7 people found this review helpful

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meh...okay, but not very informative

The story goes into the history of ADHD, and how the drugs came to be, then hours into how badly the misdiagnosis is... I don't know. Maybe it's my ADD getting in the way, but not very full of any worthwhile content. In the end, I learned nothing.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

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one sided

Any additional comments?

while schwartz is competing against a machine of pharma funded studies and propaganda, his take is equally one sided.... just the other side

0 of 2 people found this review helpful