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.

Recent Posts on ADHD

Iron, Dopamine, and ADHD

Iron, a common mineral (and, paradoxically, a common mineral deficiency in humans) is important to the brain and vital for normal brain development and human behavior. It is a key cofactor in the making of neurotransmitters, chemicals in the brain that affect neuron signaling, including serotonin, norepinephrine, and especially dopamine.

Heavy Metal: Iron and the Brain

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

Why Psychologists Never Give 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. Here's why:

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.

Is Mental Health Care Failing our Kids?

A recent New York Times essay is an eye-opening message for parents or for anyone else concerned with child mental health.

A.D.H.D. Is Everywhere

By Katherine Ellison on November 09, 2015 Pay Attention
Did you think A.D.H.D. was an American invention? The rest of the world is catching up.

Why Are So Many American Youth Abusing Adderall?

By Allen J Frances M.D. on November 08, 2015 Saving Normal
ADHD meds are the most dangerous legal drugs among young people in college and high school.

My Visit to an Extreme Hoarder

By Barry Yourgrau on November 07, 2015 Mess
I was, at last, in hoarding Valhalla: ghastly, derelict, oppressive, aesthetically astounding, most piles and surfaces grayed with dust.,

Married to a Man With Asperger’s Syndrome?

By Eva A. Mendes LMHC on November 04, 2015 The Heart of Autism
Being in a relationship with an undiagnosed Asperger or autistic husband can be challenging in some marriages. The wife can sometimes experience mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, Affective Deprivation Disorder, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of their husband's low emotional reciprocity, communication struggles and anger issues.

French Kids DO Have ADHD

By Katherine Ellison on November 04, 2015 Pay Attention
An Internet myth lives on—compounding ADHD stigma

How to Help Prepare Boys For Success in the School System

Our sons love to learn. They are seekers and searchers. The world is interesting to them. Numbers, rocks, trees, mountains, computers, games, thoughts, visions, life’s mysteries – anything and everything can fascinate them, including school.

More Than a Chemical Imbalance

To treat depression as the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain — and to try to fix the problem with medication — is naive, misleading and possibly even dangerous. This is not to say that brain chemistry isn't involved in depression. But it’s certainly not the only factor.

A Simple Way to Improve a Child’s Behavior and Achievement

When should you enroll your child in school? New research poses an interesting answer.

4 Ways to Curb Halloween Candy Highs and Rethink the Myth

Is the sugar high we see at Halloween really just a myth?

Understanding Childhood Social Difficulties

One of the basic wishes most parents share is that their children get along, play, and interact well with others. For children who instead struggle with their peers, the earlier interventions start, the earlier they can catch up. Since both ADHD and autism impact relationships, sorting out the ‘why’ often guides what to do next.

Stimulant Treatment of Children with ADHD and Tics

For decades a dispute has persisted about whether stimulant medications for ADHD can cause tics. A recent study seems to have resolved the issue.

How to Address Using Adderall and Ritalin as Study Aids

It is estimated that about a quarter of college students use Adderall or Ritalin as study aids in college.

The Three Most Dangerous Myths About ADHD

By Katherine Ellison on October 21, 2015 Pay Attention
Is ADHD an explanation or an excuse?

Ava’s Shelled Friends: Motivating Children’s Learning

Ava and Sara learn to appreciate the ecosystem in their playtime with our famous neighboring turtles.

Excitable Ed

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on October 11, 2015 How To Do Life
A very quick story about ADHD and about how much we should conform.

Why Labels Can Give Us Even More Anxiety

Have you ever heard some introduce themselves or someone they love as "bipolar", "ADHD", or "autistic"? In an age of hyper-diagnosis, we need to examine our language choices and how they can contribute to stigma and shame. The global mental health crisis begs our attention-and careful discernment will help us to better grasp our wonder and complexity as humans.

Why Do Brain Injuries Look Like ADHD?

What you should know about the similarities and differences between brain injury and ADHD.

Adults With ADHD Are More Common Than You'd Guess

By Temma Ehrenfeld on October 06, 2015 Open Gently
ADHD affects 3 to 5 percent of adults.

Here is a Powerful Acronym to Help Your Child Manage Stress!

Kids do better in life when they learn how to calm down and solve problems! Borrowing from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) the word "ACCEPTS" provides prompts for valuable coping skills for children, teens, and adults to handle stress. To help your child or teen better deal with stress, take a look at the power of the 7 skills embodied in "ACCEPTS"

Are Diesel Cars Responsible for Rising Rates of Autism?

A recent study and several previous investigations have found associations between air pollution and autism. These studies suggest increased chances of having a child with Autistic Spectrum Disorder following higher exposures to diesel particulate matter, as well as in connection to proximity to a freeway.

Who’s Running the Show? You, Your Kids or Your Doctor?

By Michael W Corrigan Ed.D. on September 25, 2015 Kids Being Kids
Let’s face it, as kids wrestle with behavioral and maturity issues and juggle expectations related to academic and social challenges, some of the behaviors they display can be quite concerning. But guess what? For centuries parents have been capable of helping challenged children overcome semi-annoying and concerning behaviors. How do they do it?

Clutter vs. Hoarding vs. Collecting

By Barry Yourgrau on September 24, 2015 Mess
"To hell with your problem, whaddya got for me there, baby?”

“God” in a Pill?

An underlying fantasy of those who rely on psychiatric medication—in isolation—without meaningful psychosocial therapies. And—if “God is in the pill,” then the devil must be in the side effects!

Parenting a Child With a Learning Disability

Children with learning difficulties often experience trouble with school and learning. According to the Learning Disabilities Association of America, 2.4 million students are diagnosed with a learning disability. Although there is no cure for a learning disability, individuals can benefit from early intervention.