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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 48 (2006) 4, 303 - 312


ADHD, a 'fashion' that won't go out of fashion

E.H. Nieweg

background This article reviews the older Dutch literature on what is now known as adhd (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
method Because this older literature is not included in electronic databases, it was traced, in a systematic and aselective manner, by means of bibliographic references.
results It is often assumed that adhd is a purely Anglo-Saxon phenomenon that was introduced into the Netherlands along with the concept of mbd (minimal brain damage).This assumption is incorrect. In fact, adhd has had quite a long, respectable history of its own in the Netherlands (and in surrounding countries). The antecedents of adhd were regarded as very common phenomena. Over the years these concepts have often been the subject of considerable controversy. Biological factors were thought to be important in the etiology.
conclusion It would be wrong to regard adhd only as a fashionable ailment originating in the age of computers and working mothers. Equally untenable is the current view that pre-dsm iii child psychiatrists attributed psychiatric disorders solely to parental influences ('parentblaming'). The same conclusion was drawn in other publications by the author. The history of adhd thus demonstrates that, contrary to general belief, early psychiatry in the Netherlands was more balanced and many-sided.

keywords adolescent psychiatry, attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity, child psychiatry, history, nature and nurture