Historical Perspectives on ADD/ADHD

historical portraitOver the years I have discussed ADD/ADHD from many different perspectives. Among them: Nutritional, behavioral and neurological. One perspective that has perhaps hitherto been absent from the mix is the historical. I suppose the main reason for this is the fact that the attention paid to the condition is a relatively new phenomenon (in historical terms at least). It is interesting to note, however, that medical historians are slowly beginning to turn their attention to ADD/ADHD. The insights that they are gleaning are revealing to say the least!

One of the pioneers in determining a historical perspective on ADD/ADHD is Matthew Smith a researcher at the Centre for Medical History at Exeter University, England. In a paper he recently delivered at a medical history conference at Ottowa’s Carleton University, Smith made the following points: