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

Minimize Distraction: When Customers Feel They Aren’t Heard

By Joseph Cardillo Ph.D. on February 28, 2015 in Attention Training
As you shift from one situation to another, pay attention to how you are paying attention.

ADHD and Early Death: A False Assumption

By Claudia M Gold M.D. on February 28, 2015 in Child in Mind
Space and time to listen to the story are critical to effective treatment of problems of regulation of attention, behavior and emotion. Perhaps the risk of early death in individuals diagnosed with ADHD lies in the absence of recognition and treatment of complex underlying causes.

The Paradox of Modern Adulthood

By Steven Mintz Ph.D. on February 26, 2015 in The Prime of Life
Less secure, less stable, more anxious, yet better nonetheless.

ADHD and Weed: What’s the Draw?

Does marijuana help with ADHD?

An Integrative Approach to Wellness Really Works

I had a cerebral bleed causing me to black out resulting in a serious automobile collision. Months later I had brain surgery. I was told by my doctors I was permanently brain damaged. Determined to get better, I set out on my journey to regain my life. So I experimented with a variety of different approaches to treatment, and got better!

8 Tips to Ease Parental Anxiety

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on February 25, 2015 in Singletons
Parents have cornered the market on anxiety when it comes to their children. Worry paralyzes both parent and child, making children fearful and stifling their curiosity and development. Here’s what parents can do to modulate and minimize their fears.

Why Some College Students Love Molly

It's not surprising that college students look to party drugs.

The Vicious Virtuous Circle

Anywhere you jump in the vicious virtuous circle is okay, because each of these crucial practices reinforces the other.

ADHD Medication Linked to Fewer ER Visits

By David Rettew M.D. on February 20, 2015 in ABCs of Child Psychiatry
A new study of 17,000 kids in Hong Kong finds a reduction of ER visits during periods when children with ADHD are taking medication.

Behavioral Science Versus Moral Judgment

Learning more about the mind clashes with simple descriptions of personality. But our moral judgments of others won't surrender without a fight.

30 Ways to Prevent ADHD

Here are 30 tips to keep ADHD at bay.

New DSM-5 Disorder Spurs FDA Drug Approval, Expanded Market

By Christopher Lane Ph.D. on February 14, 2015 in Side Effects
A drug-maker's blunt challenge: “increase the numbers of patients diagnosed.”

Caffeine is a gateway drug to cocaine

By any definition, caffeine is clearly a gateway drug. Thus, is caffeine a food or a drug; sometimes it is very hard to tell the difference.

This Is How the Brain Filters Out Unimportant Details

By Jordan Gaines Lewis on February 11, 2015 in Brain Babble
At any given moment, we are constantly bombarded by signals from at least four of the five senses. With this onslaught of input, how do we manage to not go completely insane?

Energy Drinks and ADHD

Does the recent Yale study suggest that energy drinks cause ADHD? Not at all. Are sugary drinks with lots of caffeine a wise choice for students (with or without ADHD)? No way.

The Diagnostic Swamp of Childhood Bipolar Disorder NOS

Just published in one of the world’s leading psychiatric journals is a study documenting the dramatic change in bipolar disorder NOS (not otherwise specified) diagnosed in children and adolescents aged 2 to 19 years from 1999 to 2010.

A New Drug Treatment for Binge-Eating Disorder

By Alexis Conason Psy.D. on February 04, 2015 in Eating Mindfully
On January 30, 2015, the FDA approved the use of Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) to treat binge-eating disorder (BED) in adults. This is the first medication ever approved by the FDA for the treatment of BED. But before you run out to your nearest physician to get your prescription, here are some things to know.

Exploring the Medicalization of Emotions

The team of professionals at The Pain Recovery Program at Father Martin’s Ashley believes that an integrated pain recovery treatment approach can successfully help chronic pain sufferers get well without reliance on pain medications.

ADHD Goes Global: But Why?

ADHD Beyond America is Increasing: Find Out Why

The House We Build for ADHD

You’re building a home and a family — one with ADHD in the mix. The sheer volume of information and misinformation about ADHD can compromise your designs and make your house seem built of straw more than bricks. But it needn’t be this way. Reinforce the foundation, build upwards to address the rest of ADHD, and your home can be as solid as every other one on the block.

Synesthesia and Neurodiversity

By Maureen Seaberg on January 27, 2015 in Sensorium
The neurodiversity movement grew out of the autism community

Preschool Depression: A Call for Curiosity

By Claudia M Gold M.D. on January 26, 2015 in Child in Mind
When we give a child a diagnostic label without opportunity to make sense of the behavior in the context of relationships, we miss an opportunity for prevention and meaningful intervention

Psychotherapy Is the Real Deal

As opposed to the fraudulent ‘chemical imbalance’ theory of ‘somatic’ psychiatry, psychotherapy not only effectively treats us, but it is consonant with the way psychiatric symptoms actually develop in the first place. The sad thing is we already have everything we need –the lost art and science of psychotherapy.

Adult PANDAS: Seek and Ye Shall Find

By Jory Goodman M.D. on January 24, 2015 in Attention, Please
The autoimmune disorder PANDAS is common in adults. Unfortunately it is not diagnosed because it is not looked for. Psychiatrists in particular, and all physicians need to learn the key features that will lead to the diagnosis. Patients need to know as well and push for proper evaluation and treatment.

Taking the Risk to Love Over the Long-Term

By Melissa Orlov on January 22, 2015 in May I Have Your Attention
What do you do with the information that your partner is capable of betrayal? Or that he or she has trouble holding a job? Love over the long haul takes open eyes and a certain amount of fearlessness.

Day 18: Not Labeling Emotional Difficulty a Mental Disorder

Why do we say "I am depressed" when we don't say "I am a rash" or "I am a broken arm"? On day 18 of 30 days to better mental health we look at how to avoid self-identifying with a mental disorder label when emotional difficulties arise.

Parenting Kids with Challenges

Why Elizabeth Corsale, MFT, feels it's a great honor to work with the parents of kids with learning and attention differences, and that she's lucky to learn so much from them about how to keep going in the face of extremely challenging circumstances.

A Look at Effects of Stimulant Treatment on ADHD

Researchers are working to better understand long-term effects of ADHD medication on the brain.

Is ADHD on the Rise Worldwide?

The word “ADHD” is much like the word “unicorn.” Everyone knows what the word means, but the thing named does not exist in nature.

A State of Psychiatric Emergency

Psychiatry is fast approaching a death spiral which we as a society may not be able to recover from. In many residencies, psychotherapy is not even being taught. Many psychotherapists of all professions have been intimidated by specious neuro-biochemical theories, while others have simply given up. And now, there aren’t many remaining good therapists in practice anymore.