Alexander Crichton

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For the London silversmith, see Alexander Crichton (silversmith).
Alexander Crichton
Alexander Crichton.jpg
Alexander Crichton
Born 2 December 1763
Newington, Edinburgh
Died 4 June 1856
Nationality Scottish
Occupation doctor of medicine

Sir Alexander Crichton (2 December 1763 – 4 June 1856) was a Scottish physician and author.

Medical career[edit]

Born in Newington, Edinburgh, Crichton received his M.D. from Leyden, Holland, in 1785. He developed his medical skills through studies at Paris, Stuttgart, Vienna, and Halle. He returned to London in 1789, becoming MRCS but by 1791 he had moved from surgery, becoming a member of the Royal College of Physicians, and a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London in 1793, holding the post of physician at Westminster Hospital between 1794 and 1801.

In 1803 Crichton was invited to become the emperor of Russia's personal physician, and between 1804 and 1819 was appointed Physician in Ordinary (personal physician) to Tsar Alexander I of Russia and to Maria Feodorovna, the Dowager Empress. He was also head of medical services in that country, receiving several Russian and Prussian honours.

Geological studies[edit]

Retiring to England, Crichton wrote several books dealing with medical and geological subjects, becoming a member of the Royal Geographical Society in 1819. Crichton's extensive collection of minerals consisted mainly of specimens from Siberia, Russia, Norway, Hungary, Germany, the UK, the US and India. These were acquired during his tenure as physician to Alexander I of Russia and during his travels throughout Europe when he was studying medicine.[1]

ADHD pioneer[edit]

He was the second person to describe a condition similar to the inattentive subtype of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), in his book An inquiry into the nature and origin of mental derangement: comprehending a concise system of the physiology and pathology of the human mind and a history of the passions and their effects (1798).[2]


Crichton died at The Groves, near Sevenoaks, and was buried at West Norwood Cemetery, where his monument is a gabled granite slab.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wilson, Wendell E. (1 November 1994). "The History of Mineral Collecting: 1530–1799". The Mineralogical Record 25 (6): 81. Retrieved 2008-11-23. 
  2. ^ Berrios, G. E. (2006). "'Mind in general' by Sir Alexander Crichton". History of Psychiatry 17 (68 Pt 4): 469–86. doi:10.1177/0957154x06071679. PMID 17333675.  edit

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]