You’ve probably heard about the precipitous rise in diagnoses of ADHD in America the past few decades. What was once a rare mental illness has now become a common problem amongst children -- particularly boys. Why the sudden spike? Are there really more people with ADHD or is something else going on?
My guest today has some possible answers to that question. His name is Steve Hinshaw and he's a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley. In his book, "The ADHD Explosion," Dr. Hinshaw gives the lay reader a crash course into ADHD and provides some insights as to why we’re seeing such a huge spike in the number of individuals diagnosed with it. We begin our conversation talking about what exactly ADHD is and how it impairs individuals. We then discuss the biological and environmental causes of ADHD, debunk some of the myths surrounding it, and discuss which treatments actually work.
Dr. Hinshaw then delves into his research which shows that the rise in ADHD is not because more people are actually developing it, but rather that cultural and economic forces in schools, corporations, and governments incentivize shoddy diagnoses. We also discuss the fact that ADHD medication is often used by people who don’t have ADHD in order to perform better, and whether it actually improves performance for these folks or not.
We end with a discussion about his new book, "Another Kind of Madness," and the stigma of mental illness in America.