Inventor of ADHD called it A Fictitious Disease – Facts Analysis

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Inventor of ADHD called it A Fictitious Disease


Inventor of ADHD’s Deathbed Confession: “ADHD Is A Fictitious Disease”.

Other Versions

1. US American psychiatrist Leon Eisenberg, who was the “scientific father of ADHD” said at the age of 87, seven months before his death in his last interview: “ADHD is a prime example of a fictitious disease”.

2. The German weekly Der Spiegel reported that Dr. Leon Eisenberg said ‘ADHD is a prime example of a fictitious disease’.

Picture about Inventor of ADHD called it A Fictitious Disease
Inventor of ADHD called it A Fictitious Disease


The messages claim that American psychiatrist Leon Eisenberg, the scientific inventor of the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) told in his last interview before death that “ADHD is a prime example of a fictitious disease” and is a fiction. Although Leon Eisenberg did not say such a thing precisely, there is some fact in the messages.

Who is Leon Eisenberg

Leon Eisenberg was a child psychiatrist, social psychiatrist and a medical educator who worked in transforming child psychiatry by advocating research into their developmental problems. Eisenberg was credited with a number of “firsts” in medicine and psychiatry, although he did not discover ADHD. The first scientist and physician to mention ADHD was a Scottish scientist named Alexander Crichton.

Leon Eisenberg was born on August 8, 1922 and he died of prostate cancer on September 15, 2009. As reported by the German weekly Der Spiegel, Leon Eisenberg, who was “called as scientific father of ADHD” talked about the growing concerns of ADHD in his final interview, seven months before his death. But he did NOT say that “ADHD Is A Fictitious Disease”, he has in fact expressed his concern over the explosion of ADHD prescriptions and that it is overrated. Mentioned below is a quote from his interview:

A look at the U.S. shows that is definitely still room for improvement. Of the ten year-old boy now swallows every tenth already an ADHD medication – every day. But of all the scientific father of ADHD has followed the explosion of prescriptions with growing horror. Leon Eisenberg later took over the management of psychiatry at the prestigious Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and became one of the most famous neurologists in the world. In his last interview, seven months before his death from prostate cancer at the age of 87, he distanced himself from his youthful indiscretion.

A tall, thin man with glasses and suspenders in 2009 opened the door to his apartment in Harvard Square, invited at the kitchen table and poured coffee. He would never have thought he said that his invention would be so popular once. “ADHD is a prime example of a fabricated disease,” Eisenberg said. “The genetic predisposition to ADHD is completely overrated.”

Instead, child psychiatrist should more thoroughly determine the psychosocial reasons that can lead to behavioral problems, Eisenberg said. Are there fights with parents, mother and father live together, there are problems in the family? Such questions are important, but they are taking a lot of time, Eisenberg said, adding with a sigh: “. Prescribe a pill against it very quickly,”

Eisenberg pointed that psychosocial reasons behind a child’s behavior are not well studied over time and are easily attributed to ADHD – without proper diagnosis. The article where this interview of Eisenberg was quoted in Der Spiegel in fact talked about the same issue – explosion of diagnoses of mental illness.

Melancholy without shame

In Germany, the number of diagnoses of mental illness increases. Many people feel overwhelmed. But while some suffer from depression, the others are just stressed. Where is the boundary between sick and healthy?

Therefore, Leon Eisenberg did not actually say that “ADHD Is A Fictitious Disease”, but rightly said that there are growing concerns about the explosion of prescriptions around the disease. The video below is a Fox News report that addressed this issue, clearing some common myths and beliefs people have about ADHD.

  • ADHD Diagnosis is not easy, it needs good amount of time and study of a person.
  • Only kids do not have ADHD, even adults can have it.
  • Some kids can outgrow ADHD naturally.
  • Medication cannot cure ADHD, it can only help to cope up better.
  • Kids with ADHD need not be hyper always, there are three types of behavior in it – Inattention, Hyperactivity–impulsivity, or a combination of both.

Lesson to be learnt is, NOT to jump to conclusion that your child has ADHD and start giving him pills. A careful, long term study of the underlying reasons behind lack of attention of the child is very important for giving him the right treatment or medication.

Hoax or Fact:

Partly fact.


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Leon Eisenberg
History & Discovery of ADHD
Der Spiegel – Melancholy without shame

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