Keith Conners, Father of ADHD, Regrets Its Current Misuse

Keith Conners can rightly be called the “Father of ADHD”. He was there at the birth of the disorder and probably knows more about it than anyone else on the planet.

Fifty years ago, well before there was an ADHD diagnosis, Dr Conners analyzed the data on the very first randomized trial of dextro-amphetamine (Dexedrine)- studying its efficacy in kids with severe restlessness and impulsivity. Soon after, he conducted the first trial of the then new drug, methylphenidate (Ritalin). Dr Conners developed the standard rating scales used for assessing children in research and clinical practice and for measuring the impact of treatment. His findings of positive medication effects on perception, impulsivity and attention provided the foundation for the whole field of child psychopharmacology. Due in large measure to Dr Conners’ efforts, what was once an obscure condition (then called Minimal Brain Dysfunction), became the widely accepted and DSM official diagnosis, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Dr Conners is a brilliant guy. He skipped high school and graduated from the University of Chicago at age 16; gained First Class Honors in Philosophy, Psychology, and Physiology as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford; earned his Ph.D in Clinical Psychology at Harvard; and has learned from, worked with, and taught the leading psychologists of the past half century.

If we want to understand the past history, current status, and future trajectory of ADHD, Dr Conners is the man. He writes:

“I’ve always been fascinated by the classical reversible figures made popular by Gestalt psychologists. They illustrate a puzzling paradox in how the brain sometimes deals with perception. Take a good, long look at this picture.

Most of you will experience a sudden and surprising shift in the face- from beautiful woman to ugly witch and then back and forth again. The very same —> Read More