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Deathbed Confessions Are Highly overrated!

Dr Leon Eisenburg was responsible for many great advances in psychology and psychiatry, let's not let this misrepresentation become his legacy.
Dr Leon Eisenburg was responsible for many great advances in psychology and psychiatry, let’s not let this misrepresentation become his legacy.

What’s in a translation? A lot apparently. There has been a rash of hoax “news” reports stating that the “Inventor” of ADHD confessed on his deathbed that it is made up. I don’t even know where to begin with this, unless maybe to say … No!

The great thing about stories like this is that they sound really good, don’t they? But I like to ask questions when I read things. Questions like “Where’s the interview?” “Who did the interview?” “Can I please read the actual interview?”

Anyone up for a read?

The answer to “Can I read the interview?” is no. Well, it’s not literally no. It turns out that the answer is “You can read the article that was written from the interview, here it is. How’s your German?”

Well, my answer to that is “Not great, but I have google translate, so stand back!”

Oops, that didn’t work so good …

… from Der Spiegel: “Ein großer, hagerer Mann mit Brille und Hosenträgern öffnete 2009 die Tür zu seiner Wohnung am Harvard Square, lud an den Küchentisch und schenkte Kaffee aus. Niemals hätte er gedacht, erzählte er, dass seine Erfindung einmal derart populär würde. “ADHS ist ein Paradebeispiel für eine fabrizierte Erkrankung”, sagte Eisenberg. “Die genetische Veranlagung für ADHS wird vollkommen überschätzt.””

Uh, okay, all I got from that was “Kaffee.” Have at it, google!!!

… from google translate: “A tall, thin man with glasses and suspenders opened in 2009, the door to his apartment in Harvard Square, invited at the kitchen table and poured coffee from. He never would 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 for ADHD is completely overrated.””

Wow, I guess I should be thrilled!

Apparently, ADHD was invented, and the genetic predisposition is ‘overrated.’ That would suggest that there is no such thing … and that the genetic predispostion toward ADHD is not as important. Um, not as important in what respect? If ADHD does not exist, than the genetic predisposition wouldn’t be overrated, it would be … an invention also. Something seems a little fishy here.

It is rather convenient that the man Der Spiegel refers to as “The Father of ADHD,” Leon Eisenburg, is no longer among the quick. He passed away more than two years prior to the articles publication. And the interview takes place in his kitchen, with him serving coffee. Not quite the deathbed scenario we were promised.

It’s also interesting to note that the translations used for these articles turn out to be machine translations … you know, like google translate., the machine I like to ask about things that seem fishy, tells us: “However, allowing for the vagaries of translation and reading the statement in context, some native German speakers have reported that Dr. Eisenberg wasn’t asserting that ADHD isn’t a real disorder, but rather that it is overdiagnosed” also introduces this article with these words: “ […] the German-language version of Der Spiegel ran an article in 2012 that skeptically examined the large increase in diagnoses of mental disorders in recent years and quoted Dr. Eisenberg on that subject.” Note the word “skeptically” which indicates that the tone of the article was biased to begin with.

Current popular opinion held by Dr. Eisenberg’s peers is that there are quite possibly an appreciable number of people who have been misdiagnosed with ADHD, but there is also most certainly a considerable number of people who have not been diagnosed but would be if they were assessed.

So my advice is this, treat the skeptics with skepticism. And maybe lets make up some of our own fake headlines?

“Man On Park Bench Swears ADHD Diet Cures Vagrancy!”

Deathbed Confessions Are Highly overrated!

Kelly Babcock

I was born in the city of Toronto in 1959, but moved when I was in my fourth year of life. I was raised and educated in a rural setting, growing up in a manner I like to refer to as free range. I live in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or more generations. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50 and have been both struggling with the new reality and using my discoveries to make my life better. I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about having ADHD and one that is a daily positive affirmation that acts as an example of finding the good in as much of my life as I possibly can.

Find out more about me on my website: writeofway.

email me at ADHD Man

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APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2013). Deathbed Confessions Are Highly overrated!. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 7, 2020, from


Last updated: 15 Dec 2013
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