What happened to social psychiatry? A conversation with Professor Matthew Smith

In this episode, I spoke with health historian Matthew Smith from the University of Strathclyde. We discussed his new book, The First Resort: The History of Social Psychiatry in the United States, as well as neurodiversity, the promise of Universal Basic Income and more.


Listen to the podcast on the audio link below or on streaming sites like Spotify, Stitcher or iTunes.

Read the transcript below the audio link.


Transcript by Julie-Ann Lee: Transcript_NoncompliantPodcast_Matthew Smith_2023

Matthew Smith is a professor at the University of Strathclyde and the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare (CSHHH) in Scotland. He is the author of The First Resort: The History of Social Psychiatry in the United States (Columbia UP, 2023). He has also authored many articles and several other books and monographs including: Hyperactive, The Controversial History of ADHD; Another Person’s Poison, A History of Food Allergy; An Alternative History of Hyperactivity; and Pathologies and Politics, Dietary Innovation and Disease from the Nineteenth Century (co-edited by David Gentilcore).

“Window-watching Wendy” and the history of ADHD: An Interview with Matthew Smith

17-103_Matthew Smith_6904 copy

I had an amazing conversation with University of Strathclyde professor Matthew Smithabout the trajectory of the ADHD diagnosis in the last half of the 20th century and shifts in child psychology as well as Ritalin marketing and sales.

We discussed the impact of society’s responses to ADHD in kids, as well as the problem of teaching to the test and the current use of ADHD drugs for performance-enhancement or as an “easy fix” replacement for meaningful inclusion. I also asked Matt about an innovative new pilot approach to schooling in Musselburgh, Scotland, where many children had been receiving the ADHD diagnosis. 

Listen to the podcast here at the audio file below or on Stitcher here,  on iTunes here

Read the transcript at the link below the audio file.




Transcript by Julie Ann Lee: Transcript_Matthew_Smith_Noncompliant

Matthew Smith is Professor of Health History within the Centre for the Social History of Healthcare. He is Vice Dean Research for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Strathclyde. He has written many books about the history of medicine, including two about ADHD and Another Person’s Poison: A History of Food Allergy –as well as co-editing the 2016 collection: Deinstitutionalisation and After: Post-War Psychiatry in the Western World (2016).

Professor Smith’s blog on Psychology Today

Professor Smith’s book, Hyperactive, The Controversial History of ADHD

Hyperactive Child, song and lyrics

New York Times series about ADHD drugs in America