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

How Parents Prolong the "Terrible Twos" Into Adolescence

Mental health professionals label as mental disorders child misbehavior that is created by certain parenting practices that have increased in incidence over the last few decades.

Big Pharma and the Question: Is ADHD Real?

By Claudia M Gold M.D. on August 23, 2016 in Child in Mind
Rather than assign blame for the ADHD epidemic, we must look to a new paradigm of mental health that is founded in contemporary developmental science.

An Active Boy Writes to His Teacher

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on August 20, 2016 in How To Do Life
Lessons for teachers and parents.

When Your Child Is Diagnosed With ADHD

Back-to-school season is usually a relief. Yet, with 1 in 8 American school children (6.7 million kids in all) ending up with a diagnosis of ADHD, there is some cause for angst.

Why You Should Never Tell Someone "I Need You To..."

By Melissa Orlov on August 19, 2016 in May I Have Your Attention
"I need you to..." is sometimes a politically correct way to boss a partner around. As such, it hurts your relationship. The key is to be careful.
Lori Russell-Chapin

Neurofeedback: A Remarkable Counseling Tool

By Lori Russell-Chapin Ph.D. on August 18, 2016 in Brain Waves
Needs a more regulated brain? Neurofeedback may be the answer.

To Parents of Children With Learning and Other Disabilities

In preparation for the school year, parents of children with disabilities should be aware of the resources available to them as well as what their child can expect at school.

ADHD and Michael Phelps: Medication Is Not a Crutch

Not taking stimulant medication for your diagnosed ADHD? You still have ADHD.

The Truman Show Delusion

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on August 10, 2016 in In Excess
Watching reality television shows do not cause psychotic or delusional episodes. However, those with underlying illnesses (e.g., schizophrenia) may develop a Truman Show Delusion.

What We Can Learn From Michael Phelps About ADHD

He is the most decorated Olympian athlete of all time. But the road to Rio wasn't an easy path for Phelps or for his parents.

The Cognitive Cost of Paying Attention

By E. Paul Zehr Ph.D. on August 07, 2016 in Black Belt Brain
Stopped at a light and thinking about reaching over to check the texts on your phone? It will affect your ability to concentrate on driving. So, maybe don't do that.

Are the Results of Animal Therapy Studies Unreliable?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on August 04, 2016 in Animals and Us
Most studies of oxytocin ("the love hormone") do not have enough subjects to produce valid results. Unfortunately, this is also true of animal-assisted therapy research.

The Top Five Gifts of Pokemon Go to Parents

"Thanks Pokemon Go for giving my kids a modern version of a 1970s summer!”

How To Manage ADHD Without Drugs

By Clifford N Lazarus Ph.D. on July 26, 2016 in Think Well
Here are seven nonmedical methods that help people with ADHD.

The 'A' Word

There’s a reason many adults hate the label ‘ADHD’. It’s cruelly synonymous with ‘incompetent,’ ‘lazy’ and ‘fail!’ to too many people who use it. This stereotyping hurts us all.

ADHD Commonly Co-Occurs With Other Mental Health Diagnoses

A recent study in Comparative Psychiatry examines AD/HD's common comobidities. Check it out.

Does My Child Have a Psychiatric Disorder?

By Claudia M Gold M.D. on July 15, 2016 in Child in Mind
When parents are concerned about their child's emotional wellbeing, we need to protect time and space to listen without pressure to name the problem

Jupiter’s Moons and Childhood Bipolar Disorder

...Psychiatry has a different problem... from that of astronomers of the early 1600’s. Instead of an inability to see...phenomena...psychiatrists see phenomena that are not there.

Connecting Child Maltreatment and Behavior Health Problems

By Kathryn Seifert Ph.D. on July 07, 2016 in Stop The Cycle
About 13% of US children have mental health and/or substance abuse problems. Prevention and treatment must consider child maltreatment as a possible factor to address.

Gambling, ADHD, OCD and Kleptomania

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on July 07, 2016 in In Excess
Papers in psychiatric journals have claimed that many of the characters in the Star Wars movies have underlying psychopathologies including pathological gambling, OCD and ADHD

What Is the Link Between ADHD and Working Memory?

What can working memory tell us about attention and hyperactivity in children with ADHD?

Daily Rituals Make Life Easier

By Jessica Garrett Mills PhD on June 25, 2016 in On Track
Is your morning routine a well-oiled machine? Or do you feel like you barely get out of the house? Start using rituals to take the stress out of your morning.

The Flawed Psychological "Truths" of Yesterday

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on June 20, 2016 in How To Do Life
When expert opinion contravenes your intuition.

ADHD: Are We Helping or Harming With Current Medications?

There are no smart drugs that increase intelligence. Many children show uneven or lower IQ scores and Learning disabilities whose optimal remediation is education and academic.

Preventable: Straight Talk About Prince's Overdose

Creative lives might be saved--or at least improved--if the industry as a whole takes a few simple steps.

Sugar and ADHD: A Bad Mix?

Gummy bears or grapes? Why studies disagree on sugar and ADHD.
By Jen W [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Executive Functions on Vacation

By Jessica Garrett Mills PhD on June 14, 2016 in On Track
Are your kids using this summer to practice critical skills for the fall? You can help.
By Rennett Stowe from USA (Tapping a Pencil  Uploaded by Atmoz) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Everyday Executive Functioning Challenges

By Jessica Garrett Mills PhD on June 14, 2016 in On Track
Are you reading blogs when you ought to be working? It could be an executive functioning problem.

Is Noise the Key to Artificial General Intelligence?

By Andrew Smart on June 09, 2016 in Machine Psychology
Converging evidence indicates noise plays a fundamental role in the brain.

Can You "Grow Out Of" ADHD?

ADHD is typically thought of as a childhood illness. Still, the number of adults living with ADHD is greater than the number of adults who live with OCD and schizophrenia.