Book Review by Philip Veerman

A Disease Called Childhood; Why adhd Became An American Epidemic

written by Marilyn Wedge

The starting point of the book, A Disease Ca/led Childhood; Why adhd Became An American Epidemie, is that the AD HD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder)-diagnosis and the drugs used to treat ADHD-symptoms have over­turned our society’s conception of childhood. In the first chapter, Marilyn Wedge, a family therapist in the United States, writes: ‘the definition of what is disorderly behavior in children and what is normal has shifted- in the eyes of doctors and in the eyes of our society’. Medications given to children diag­nosed with ADHD made her wonder, ‘whether we are actually treating a child­hood mental illness with these medications or instead are allowing the drugs to transform our very image of childhood’. Wedge links these changes in the conception of childhood with culture, arguing that childhood became a race rather than ‘a romp on the playground’.

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