The ADHD Explosion — Explained In New Book

The ADHD Explosion

Everyone has an opinion about the  “ADHD Explosion”—one term for recent years’ steady increase in diagnosis rates and medication usage.

Yet, most opinions spring from the knee-jerk reaction—or an “alternative” product to peddle.

Finally, two experts have produced a lucid, logical, and highly readable guide to understanding the myriad factors behind the headlines. Everyone who cares about ADHD awareness should read The ADHD Explosion—and keep your highlighted copy nearby for handy reference.

What’s In The ADHD Explosion?

The ADHD Explosion: Myths, Medication, Money, and Today’s Push for Performance begins with a solid overview of the costs of unrecognized ADHD, to individuals and society.

Next, it explores ADHD’s position “where biology meets culture.” Subsequent chapters emphasize the importance of accurate diagnosis and effective treatment (“Do it Right or Pay the Price”), examine the potential impact of educational policy in determining the variable state-to-state ADHD diagnosis rates, and hit other key highlights.

The co-authors, Stephen Hinshaw, Ph.D. and Richard Scheffler, Ph.D., both professors at the University of California, Berkeley, are well-qualified both to substantiate the costs of ADHD and to dissect the confusion swirling around it.

Hinshaw, a psychologist, is a renowned ADHD researcher and the author of several books on mental illness and stigma. Scheffler is a distinguished professor of health economics and public policy.

The text is solidly readable—and contains no fluff. Of the 288 pages, 120 pages are back-of-book references.

A Favorite Chapter: ADHD and the Media

One of my favorite chapters (“ADHD and the Media: What’s Being Said and What’s Being Sold”) rightly slams stigma-promoting outlets such as The New York Times:

“During 2012, readers of the Times must have wondered about their calendars, as the content and tone of a number of influential opinion pieces and feature stories on ADHD medications.”

Hinshaw and I were guests on a 2007 segment of KQED’s nationally popular talk-radio show “Forum,” on the topic of Adult ADHD. You can listen here or download as a podcast.

Photos From the Commonwealth Club Talk

In June 2014, I had the pleasure of attending the authors’ presentation to the Commonwealth Club of California, held in San Francisco (see photos). The room was packed, and the questions wide-ranging.

Having attended many of Dr. Hinshaw’s presentations, I remain in awe of his powerfully eloquent delivery. The field of ADHD is certainly fortunate that he chose it as a specialty.


Stephen Hinshaw
Richard Scheffler, Ph.D, and Stephen Hinshaw, Ph.D, with Gina Pera


The ADHD Explosion


The ADHD Explosion


Professional Reviews of The ADHD Explosion:

“If you think that ADHD is simply an invention of mental health professionals and the pharmaceutical industry, then The ADHD Explosion will change your mind. This book elucidates the true personal and social costs of the syndrome for children, their families, schools, and communities.”

Jeffrey E. Harris, MD PhD
Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“At a time when proposals about disability and health insurance policy have given intense focus to ADHD, it is important to have a clear sense of what the illness is, the consequences of carrying the disorder, the complex issues around the role that ADHD has taken in education and social interactions, and the opportunities for treatment of the condition. Anyone serious about tackling policy issues concerning ADHD should read this book.”

—Richard G. Frank, PhD
Margaret T. Morris Professor of Health Economics
Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School

“In their well-written and thoughtful book, Hinshaw and Scheffler provide a nuanced view of the ADHD Explosion. Provocative without being extreme, this book is thorough and sensitive, policy-relevant, and a major contribution to the literature.”

—Howard H. Goldman, MD, PhD
Professor of Psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore

“The authors provide a wide-ranging and extremely thoughtful assessment of the causes and consequences of ADHD. This book not only dispels many myths but also offers a tangible path forward for children, their parents, and governments.”

Thomas Rice, PhD
Distinguished Professor, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health


More links related to The ADHD Explosion:


26 thoughts on “The ADHD Explosion — Explained In New Book”

  1. I was diagnosed way too late… If I only knew then what I know now. Very sad to go through so much pain and not know why until the best day ever when I could say, I knew it! What bothers me the most is how some people think it is just an excuse… I wish! Thank god I stumbled upon this web site it’s where my coping strategies all started. Thank you

  2. The comment that I hear most often and that also drives me nuts is that ADHD is not real, that it is just a bias toward normal boy behavior and medication is not really needed. I want to yell at them. So many people spout off about something they know absolutely nothing about, giving very decided medical opinions when they do not have any training and have never lived with ADHD.

    1. So true, Betty. But yet I have observed that sometimes the most virulent and vocal ADHD critics themselves have it, and are deeply, resentfully in “denial.”

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