What Is ADHD?

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is a neurobehavioral disorder characterized by a combination of inattentiveness, distractibility, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

Five to seven percent of children are diagnosed with this developmental disorder. Some simply cannot concentrate; others become disruptive, defiant and have trouble getting along with parents, peers, or teachers.

ADHD is controversial: Is it a true disorder or a collection of naturally occuring behaviors that are less tolerated in today’s high-demand world? There are competing theories about what, if anything, triggers ADHD in the brain, although executive functioning (attention, emotion regulation, and decision-making) is invariably affected. Up to 50 percent of children eventually outgrow the condition, but even if so, early developmental delays may create enduring learning problems.

Experts disagree over whether treatment should be behavioral (training of attention, increased play, greater structure) or pharmacological (stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall), although a combination of both may work best.

Work, school, and managing household tasks can be very challenging for people with ADD and ADHD. Fortunately, those afflicted can learn coping skills to work around shortcomings and harness their talents — as many successful people with ADD and ADHD have done.

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Recent Posts on ADHD


By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on February 05, 2016 How To Do Life
A short-short story about ADHD.

The ADHD Debate: Is the ADHD Diagnosis Helpful or Harmful?

We should shift from treating childhood distraction as a clinical disease, to targeting the best ways to help children maximize their ability to focus.

5 Guidelines for Giving Kids Choices

Giving young kids a say builds respect, strengthens bonds, invites cooperation, and capitalizes on kids’ need for power and control. Here are 20 ways to involve kids in choices.

Day 10: Tim Carey on Parenting Skills and Family Wellness

The future of mental health interview series continues with Tim Carey on parenting skills and family mental health

Day 9: Sharna Olfman on Child Mental Health Controversies

Day 9 of the future of mental health interview series continues with Sharna Olfman on the science and pseudoscience of children's mental health.

The Story Behind Marie Kondo

By Barry Yourgrau on January 26, 2016 Mess
Not everyone in Japan is so smitten....

Academic Planning for ADHD Starts Now

For a child with ADHD, grades are not the bottom line for academic planning. Some students get reasonable marks even while struggling significantly.

Designer Genes

By Diane Tober Ph.D. on January 21, 2016 The Age of Biotech
Rejecting sperm and egg providers because of ADHD and Dyslexia? Cultural myths abound surrounding "disability" and genetics.

Adult ADHD and Work: Turbo Charge Your Success

Would you like to have a better year at work, feel more organized, and less overwhelmed?

My Child Has a Different Kind of Brain

You feel helpless and even useless. Your brain doesn't work the same way as your child’s. It's frustrating when your efforts to help are rejected because they are ineffective.

Fables and Facts in Educational Neuroscience

By William R. Klemm Ph.D. on January 11, 2016 Memory Medic
Numerous critics have pointed out that neuroscience has not had much impact on education, and worse yet has spawned a series of harmful myths.

Four Reasons Your Child Probably Doesn’t Need ADHD Meds

There’s no question that parents want the best for their children, but medicating your child from an early age may cause more harm than help, and you will all benefit from getting

Rethinking Methylphenidate in Childhood ADHD

Should we rethink prescribing drugs for ADHD? New research suggests we do.

Gut, Autism, and ADHD

The microbiota in babies impacts mental health in children in surprising ways.

My Boss Has ADHD: Now What?

You can foster a successful work environment with these techniques.

10 Ways to Make the Most of a Child's IEP Meeting

Attend IEP meetings for your child? Here are some detailed ways to finesse the system, leverage strengths, advocate with creativity, and preserve positivity along the way.

Exciting New Breakthrough in Mental Health

The new year offers more hope than ever for treatment of mental disorders.

Music for Your ADHD ears

Why music is so good for ADHD

Han Solo has ADHD

By Lara Honos-Webb Ph.D. on December 28, 2015 The Gift of ADHD
Han is the epitome of the signature approach of ADHD “Fire! Ready! Aim!”

Are 'ADHD' and 'Mistakes' Synonymous?

The symptoms of ADHD lead to many mistakes for those who have it. But the problem isn't the mistakes, it's how one views them.

The ADHD Guide to Career Success

By The Book Brigade on December 10, 2015 The Author Speaks
Adults with ADHD who know their brains, harness their strengths, and select the right work environments can achieve great career success.

Why Sitting Is Bad For Learning If You Have ADHD

Don't wiggle - sit still! Why traditional classroom behavior may not be best for all kids.

An ADHD Holiday

Managing the symptoms during the season.

Top 10 Tips for Loving ADD Women

By Lara Honos-Webb Ph.D. on December 03, 2015 The Gift of ADHD
There is a whole art and science to using persuasion rather than directives. The key is to shift to the person’s own motivation for what you are asking.

How Anxiety and Depression Became Diseases

Only diseases are treated with medication, so philosophical problems like coping with uncertainty and managing loss and disappointment were framed as disorders.

Iron, Dopamine, and ADHD

Iron, a common mineral (and, paradoxically, a common mineral deficiency in humans) is important to the brain.

Heavy Metal: Iron and the Brain

Iron deficiency is an incredibly common condition associated with higher levels of psychiatric and neurologic problems.

7 Reasons Psychologists Never Give You a Straight Answer

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on November 19, 2015 The Squeaky Wheel
Although I understand people’s exasperation with psychologists’ inability to give a straight answer to a seemingly simple question, there is nothing we can actually do about it.

How Can We Support Asperger's Students In Their Schools?

When do we stop blaming students with Asperger's and start helping them find their own way!?

A Boss Intoxicated By The Sound Of His Own Voice

An Executive Coach deals with a nasty, condescending leader exhibiting a psychopathology that turns viral and infects the organization. The CEO and Executive Board are resistant and in denial until employee grievances and negative posts on social media threaten the company brand. Diagnosis reveals that the CEO's ADHD & Intermittent Explosive Disorder goes companywide.