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

Celebrating Your Child's ADHD Gifts

By Dena Kouremetis on December 01, 2016 in The Unedited Offspring
Distractibility, disorganization, impulsivity. These are things the ADHD child learns to navigate, making them uniquely positioned to succeed as adults in many instances....

Workaholism and Psychiatric Disorders

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on December 01, 2016 in In Excess
There has been an increasing amount of research into workaholism but was is the relationship between work addiction, ADHD, OCD and depressions?

Sedentary Lifestyle May Undermine Boys’ Academic Performance

By Christopher Bergland on November 30, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
The combination of excessive sedentary time and limited physical activity is linked to lower odds of young boys' success in elementary school.

The High Costs of Multitasking for You and Your Kids

By Judy Willis M.D., M.Ed. on November 29, 2016 in Radical Teaching
Explain-Motivate-Prove-Guide is the four-step approach to help your kids reduce time lost into the black hole generated by multitasking (and improve family harmony).
Looking downward/Barb Cohen

The Lowerarchy of Special-Needs Parenting

By Barb Cohen on November 27, 2016 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
Instead of using the rhetoric of “better than,” we shift to “not as bad-off as,” as in “my kid is not as bad-off as yours. "We’ve created a lowerarchy.
Pixabay

Happy Holiday Parenting

By Yamalis Diaz Ph.D. on November 24, 2016 in Parenting Challenges 101
Nothing dampens holiday joy like tantrums, arguments, and a bad case of “I want." Use these strategies to manage challenging child behavior over the holidays.

Your Mental Healthcare: The Integrative Solution

A revolution in mental healthcare includes many effective, non-pharmaceutical approaches.

Nutritional Psychoeducation: How Do I Begin With My Clients?

Nutrition is the missing key in successful mental health treatment.
"Copenhagen broken bike"/Jens Cramer/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

"Mom, Am I Disabled?"

By Barb Cohen on November 18, 2016 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
Identifying a person as disabled entails locking that person into a world of very limited expectations. Having a disability describes all of us.

Are You Criticizing Your Way Towards a Break Up?

By Melissa Orlov on November 17, 2016 in May I Have Your Attention
Frustration over how and when tasks are done can hurt relationships in unintended ways. These tips from working with ADHD-impacted couples can help.
Reading bedtime stories with Sean-bear/ktbuffy/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

When May We Change the Topic From the Election?

By Barb Cohen on November 13, 2016 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
We will want the predictability of our routines. Even the meltdowns will reassure us that our own small corner of the world is recognizable—and still needs tending.

DSM-5 Diagnoses in Kids Should Always Be Written in Pencil

By Allen J Frances M.D. on October 31, 2016 in Saving Normal
Accurate diagnosis in kids is tough and time consuming. Misdiagnosis in kids is easy and fast- but the harms can last a lifetime.

Misuse of Stimulants by College Students

Nonmedical use of prescription stimulants by college students is common. Students who misuse these drugs have a higher prevalence of alcohol use disorder and conduct disorder.

Prescription Drug Abuse and the Physician Gatekeeper

Many medications can be abused. Prescribing doctors are gatekeepers who separate legitimate use from abuse. However, this distinction is becoming less clear.

An Overview of ADHD Care

ADHD affects far more than just attention, and affects not only children but their family and relationships. Here's what you need to know to manage it comprehensively.

No, ADHD Is Exposed by France

A response to Dr. Rettew’s post.

France Is Great, But Their Kids Have ADHD Too

Before packing up the kids and moving the France, take a moment to consider the science about ADHD.

A Tough Guy

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on October 04, 2016 in How To Do Life
A real-life story offering contraintuitive lessons about resilience.

Is It Time to Retire ADHD?

For many Americans heroin addiction begins with the abuse of legally prescribed medications. Most often this involves painkillers, but sometimes trouble begins with ADHD drugs.

How We Became ADHD Nation

By Christopher Lane Ph.D. on September 30, 2016 in Side Effects
How did we reach the point where one in seven American children is diagnosed with ADHD?

13 Warning Signs of Mental Illness in a Child

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on September 30, 2016 in Singletons
Nearly one in five children is affected with an emotional or behavioral disorder. A new book helps parents recognize such problems and find help.

This is Your Child's Brain on Video Games

By Victoria L. Dunckley M.D. on September 25, 2016 in Mental Wealth
Playing video games presents an "evolutionary mismatch": A fight-or-flight response unaccompanied by a physical discharge of energy. So guess where all the energy goes?

How Do You Tell a Teenager That He Has Autism?

By Ugo Uche on September 24, 2016 in Promoting Empathy With Your Teen
Apparently, most teens who have not been educated on autism, view autism as a form of intellectual impairment which they have come to associate with social stigma.

Suicide in Children — What Every Parent Must Know

Only about one-third of children or young adolescents who died from suicide told anyone that they intended to kill themselves. Do you know the risk factors?

How Vision Problems and Celiac Disease Masquerade as ADHD

By Marilyn Wedge Ph.D. on September 21, 2016 in Suffer the Children
Celiac disease or gluten intolerance can also affect a child's ability to think clearly and focus at school.

Fidgeting Has Benefits

By Susan McQuillan M.S., RDN on September 17, 2016 in Cravings
Do you tap your fingers, shift your feet, squirm in your seat, and just generally have trouble staying still? That could be good news!

Enough Is Enough Series Part 5: ADHD Is Exposed

By Robert Berezin M.D. on September 16, 2016 in The Theater of the Brain
Children must be raised with boundaries and love. To provide the best holding environment for our children has to be our parental imperative. Regarding ADHD, we have lost our way.

The Experimental Parent

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on September 09, 2016 in How To Do Life
The Eminents Interview: T. Berry Brazelton

The Story Of One Sexually Abused Girl

By Marvin G. Knittel Ed.D. on September 07, 2016 in How to Help a Friend
Far too many adults carry feelings of guilt and shame left by childhood sexual abuse. Therapy can help alleviate the pain but major efforts need to be spent on prevention.

Does ADHD Exist?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on September 07, 2016 in Media Spotlight
While research studies aimed at identifying the neurological roots of ADHD continue to be published, at least one critic is suggesting that ADHD is a myth.