Edward Hallowell (psychiatrist)

Edward McKey Hallowell[1] is an American psychiatrist who specialises in ADD and ADHD. He is the co-author of the books Driven to Distraction (1994) and Delivered From Distraction (2005).


Hallowell grew up in Charleston, South Carolina.[2] His father suffered from bipolar disorder and had ECT.[3] Hallowell's mother remarried to an abusive alcoholic.[4]


Hallowell is an alumnus of Harvard and Phillips Exeter Academy and received his medical degree from Tulane University Medical School.[5] He got a degree in English from the same University.[1]


In 1981, Hallowell attended a lecture about children with ADHD and stated that it was there when he learned that he has the syndrome. Despite this, he has never been officially diagnosed.[5] For the next ten years Hallowell diagnosed people with it using the Conner's Scale.[5] In an interview in 2012, Hallowell stated that ADHD appears in 15% of the population.[6] In a May 2015 interview, Hallowell said that the USA is full of ADHD genes coming from the colonizers and this could explain its 'thriving structure' in the way it behaves as well as being an explanation for being a violent nation. He calls this the "American Edge." "The people who colonized this country were loaded with the ADHD genes, hence our current gene pool is well stocked with ADHD. It has driven our greatest successes – but is also why we are such a violent nation.[7] Hallowell states that ADHD does not always include Hyperactivity but can include having an inability to follow through on assignments at work or at school, misplacing things, avoiding tasks, or getting distracted easily.[8] Hallowell has claimed that Einstein, Mozart, Thomas Edison and Abraham Lincoln all had ADHD.[9]

Drug companiesEdit

Hallowell has been a paid consultant to and spokesperson for McNeil Pediatrics, a company that makes Concerta and other stimulants which Hallowell has praised along with Novartis.[10][11][12][13][14]

Views on stimulant drugsEdit

Hallowell has stated that Concerta, Adderall, Ritalin, and other ADHD drugs are "incredibly and unbelievably safe", "safer than aspirin", and are like "eye glasses". In 2012 Hallowell said "The fact is, stimulant medication is safer than aspirin. It has fewer side effects and works better than caffeine, and everybody goes to Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. So, not to try it, unless it’s against your religion, makes no sense. People say, ‘Well, shouldn’t I try a year of non-medical approaches first?’ That's like saying shouldn't I try a year of squinting before I try eyeglasses. It just makes no sense. These meds are so well researched. They've been around since 1937. That's 70 years of experience. Nothing lasts that long unless it's safe and it works. Most entrepreneurs have ADHD. I think it should be renamed the entrepreneur's trait".[15][16][17] But he does not take them for his own ADHD.[18][19][20] On September 15, 2005 Hallowell said "Whenever you get someone with ADHD diagnosed and treated successfully, everyone wins. Along with behavioral therapy, medication is good because it can improve adults' relationships, parenting skills, job performance, even their sex lives".[21]

In June 2011 Hallowell claimed to have tested an eight-year-old boy with "An IQ of 69, close to mentally handicapped, and I put him on Ritalin and his IQ went up to 140. It was a dramatic story that I’ve never forgotten — to see how diagnosis could be a life-altering change in ability and stability".[22]

In February 2013 Hallowell on the Dr Oz show said he was "Speaking Hyperbolically" and "Took back" his long held claims about Adderall being safer than Aspirin.[23] This was after he heard about the story of Richard Fee who got addicted to Adderall after wrongly being diagnosed with ADHD, went Psychotic and hanged himself.[24]

In June 2020 Hallowell claimed that ADHD was under diagnosed in the elderly and that the oldest person he treated was 86 years old. Once again he praised the safeness of stimulant medication.[25]

Sexual misconduct chargeEdit

In May 2015, Hallowell was charged with sexually groping a make up artist on 20 October 2014. Hallowell admitted having carried out this crime. The report said Hallowell confessed to putting his hand on the woman’s shoulder, moving his hand down along the side of her body, then grabbing and squeezing her buttocks. The report also said a Harvard Business Publishing employee witnessed the incident.[26][27] Hallowell was given pre-trial probation for a year in September 2015 and the matter was dropped.

Personal lifeEdit

Hallowell lives in the Boston area with his wife, Sue, a social worker, and their three children.[28]


Hallowell has written several books. They include:

  • Finding the Heart of the Child (1993)
  • Driven to Distraction (1994)
  • Answers to Distraction (1996)
  • Attention Deficit Disorder : A Different Perception (1997)
  • When You Worry About The Child You Love (1997)
  • Worry (1998)
  • Connect: 12 Vital Ties That Open Your Heart, Lengthen Your Life, and Deepen Your Soul (1999)
  • The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness (2003)
  • A Walk in the Rain With a Brain (2004)
  • Delivered from Distraction (2005)[29]
  • CrazyBusy (2006)[30]
  • "Because I Come From A Crazy Family" (The Making of a Psychiatrist) (2018)


  1. ^ a b "Hallowell, Edward M(cKey) | Encyclopedia.com". www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2020-03-13.
  2. ^ "Corrections". The New York Times. 25 November 1999. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  3. ^ ADHD Nation - Schwarz (2016).
  4. ^ "Dr. Dad Gives Thanks for Impossible Families". The New York Times. 25 November 1999. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  5. ^ a b c ADHD Nation - Alan Schwarz - 2016
  6. ^ "It_Really_Is_All_about_the_Child" (PDF). www.montlanc.com.
  7. ^ "Interview with Edward "Ned" Hallowell, MD - Mentor Coach".
  8. ^ Grant, Eva Taylor. "7 Unfairly Stigmatized Health Issues You Should Know More About".
  9. ^ "ADHD – TheTLS". www.the-tls.co.uk.
  10. ^ https://projects.propublica.org/d4d-archive/payments/10997328
  11. ^ ProPublica, Jeremy Merrill, Charles Ornstein, Tracy Weber, Sisi Wei, Dan Nguyen. "Dollars for Docs". ProPublica. Retrieved 2020-03-13.
  12. ^ "National Survey Reveals Impact of ADHD in Adults - Redorbit". www.redorbit.com. 18 September 2008.
  13. ^ Parker-Pope, Tara. "A New Face for A.D.H.D., and a Debate".
  14. ^ "Federal Survey Reveals Results Of ADHD In Adults". ezoclub.org.
  15. ^ http://www.celebritybrandingagency.com/pdf/drhallowell.pdf[dead link]
  16. ^ Orange, Richard (10 November 2016). "ADHD Nation by Alan Schwarz review – investigating a £10bn industry". the Guardian.
  17. ^ "National Survey Reveals Impact of ADHD In Adults - ADDA - Attention Deficit Disorder Association". 24 April 2015.
  18. ^ "Letter to the New York Times by Hallowell NYC". www.hallowellnyc.com. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  19. ^ "ADHD – TheTLS". www.the-tls.co.uk. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  20. ^ Orange, Richard (10 November 2016). "ADHD Nation by Alan Schwarz review – investigating a £10bn industry". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 January 2018 – via www.theguardian.com.
  21. ^ Pittsburgh Morning Star - September 15, 2005
  22. ^ "Dr. Edward Hallowell: Nationally Renowned ADHD Treatment Expert". EverydayHealth.com. Retrieved 2020-03-13.
  23. ^ "The Case Against Adderall, Pt 1".
  24. ^ "Dad's word of warning: Adderall 'changed' my son". TODAY.com. Retrieved 2020-05-20.
  25. ^ https://ihyper.net/adhd-in-the-elderly-dr-hallowell/
  26. ^ http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/article/20150521/NEWS/150528592
  27. ^ http://www.patriotledger.com/article/20150908/news/150906905
  28. ^ "Meet Dr. Hallowell". Dr Hallowell ADHD and mental and cognitive health. Retrieved 5 September 2014.
  29. ^ Wallis, Claudia (10 February 2006). "Getting Hyper About Ritalin". Time. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  30. ^ Archer, Michelle (16 April 2006). "Too busy to read this book? Then you really need to". USA Today. Retrieved 27 February 2011.

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