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

Law Does NOT Treat ADHD but Medical Intervention Does

By Shimi Kang M.D. on August 27, 2015 in The Dolphin Way
There are plenty of us who might not know how to react upon meeting people with ADHD. So what exactly is ADHD? What does it mean for those who have it? And how can we help?

Can Genetics Help Choose ADHD Meds?

Anticipating Better ADHD Med Outcomes with Genetics: How Does It Work?

ADHD Medication May Enhance Hypnotizability

By Traci Stein PhD, MPH on August 19, 2015 in The Integrationist
Hypnosis, an enhanced state of inner focus, can be an effective tool for improving a range of symptoms, including those related to mood and learning. The ADHD drug methylphenidate (Concerta, Ritalin) has been shown to increase hypnotizability in a sample of patients with ADHD and thus may enable patients to benefit from adding hypnosis to their treatment regimens.

How New Research in Psychology is Changing American Homework

By Rebecca Jackson on August 18, 2015 in School of Thought
New research is inspiring parents to take a look at the conventional wisdom behind giving children unlimited amounts of time to complete homework assignments. In an interview with Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman, she discusses her research and advice for both parents and educators about increasing homework loads in primary school.

Best Practices in the Treatment of ADHD

While the last blog post focused on best practices for diagnosing ADHD, here we turn our focus to treatment best practices.

ADHD "Symptoms" Are Advantages for the Entrepreneur

For the entrepreneur, ADHD traits can be superpowers in disguise.

Handcuff an 8 Year Old

By Kathryn Seifert on August 05, 2015 in Stop The Cycle
Should school resource officers be handcuffing children? Most certainly it will be needed until there are sufficient behavoral health services in schools for children with special needs to provide intensive daily services for the most at risk youth and include families in the intervention.

The ADHD Advantage

By The Book Brigade on July 29, 2015 in The Author Speaks
Medicine should be the last resort, not the first, when a child is diagnosed with ADHD. There are many other ways to help a child function better—even in the classroom. ADHD

Best Practices in the Diagnosis of ADHD

Although there is no medical test for the diagnosis of AD/HD, the diagnosis should not be given without multiple diagnostic steps, which we explore here.

Attempting to Provide Care for Vulnerable Children

In a major study of children aged two to fourteen years in foster care, only 25% of children with severe behavioral needs received any services at all.

A Checklist To Stop Misuse Of Psychiatric Medication In Kids

By Allen J Frances M.D. on July 19, 2015 in DSM5 in Distress
The exponential growth in the use of psycho-stimulants, anti-depressants, and anti-psychotic drugs often harms children more than helps them. This Checklist to help clinicians think through the necessary steps before prescribing medicines.

7 Keys to Handling Difficult Teenagers

It’s not easy when you have to deal with difficult teenagers in your life, whether they are your children, students, athletes, group members, or employees. What can you do in the face of a challenging adolescent? Here are seven keys to successfully handle difficult teenagers...

F%$& Shame, TEDx and Mental Health

By Adi Jaffe Ph.D. on July 13, 2015 in All About Addiction
Many of us don't give the proper weight to the use of mental health labels. As this talk shows, diagnostic labels can actually impact the way in which labeled individuals perform. If nothing else, this fact should make us more wary of using these labels as everyday placeholders to describe those around us. We may just be sentencing them to meeting our low expectations.

Do Kids With ADHD Grow Into Adults With ADHD?

Most children with ADHD do not grow up to become adults with ADHD. Most adults with ADHD did not have ADHD as children. ADHD in youngsters and adults may really be two different illnesses that have similar symptoms.

Psychiatric Drugs Are False Prophets With Big Profits

The underling theory of somatic psychiatry is that the source of human struggle is considered to be the brain itself, rather than the person. Treatments that follow from this simplistic, mechanistic, and reductionist notion have been to act directly on the brain, always with violating and destructive outcomes. This is now the tenet of the American Psychiatric Society.

Some Medications May Alter Childhood Brain Development

Medications that disrupt REM sleep may alter brain structure during critical phases of child development.

Managing ADHD During the Summer

ADHD is a neurological disorder that causes difficulties in many aspects of children’s lives. Often when school is out during the summer, many parents consider taking their child off medications. Here are some tips to help decrease behavior problems.

Procrastination 101: Determine the Source, Solve the Problem

Procrastination has many sources and determining your own goes a long way in putting procrastination to rest. Some of the common causes and their antidotes.

Trends in Youth Psychiatric Treatment: The Plot Thickens

A major new study looks at changes in the rates of child psychiatric disorders and their treatment. Its combination of both good and bad news will be a challenge to the cherry pickers on both sides of the psychiatry debate.

Are You a Daydreamer or Do You Have ADHD?

When is it daydreaming, and when is it ADHD?

Increasing Physical Movement Reduces Symptoms of ADHD

New research shows that physical movement may improve cognitive control for children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Anxiety with Adult ADHD: What to Do

Why is Anxiety Common with Adult ADHD and What Can You Do About It?

Distinct ADHD Symptoms in Girls Result in Under-Diagnosis

Understanding gender differences leads to a better diagnosis.

Fathers' Impact on ADHD

Fathers have a large impact on the behaviors of children with ADHD. Find out what makes the the role of a father so important in ADHD.

When Your Mind Wanders

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on June 08, 2015 in Media Spotlight
Why do our minds wander and what do we think about when we are unable to concentrate on what we are doing? Research into mind wandering suggests that it isn't quite the time waster that people often believe it to be. A new review article suggests that mind wandering may have evolved as a way of making us more creative.

To Be More Intimate with Your Partner, Know Yourself First

Too many couples focus on sex and affection, ignoring other important skills that will ultimately best protect their ability to stay intimate over the long-term. What are those skills?

Emotionality - A 'Core Characteristic' of ADHD?

Use these specific strategies to manage the emotional responses that come with ADHD.

3 Facts All Parents Should Know About ADHD Stimulant Drugs

If there was a drug being manufactured for kids to take daily for several years or more, that research documents comes with endless serious and life threatening side effects (e.g., dependency, depression, death), how long would you want the FDA to track kids taking the drug to make sure it was safe and effective for extended periods of use? The answer might surprise you...

Treating Erectile Dysfunction Without Pills

By Lisa Thomas LMFT on May 28, 2015 in Save Your Sex Life
Treating Erectile Dysfunction Without Drugs