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

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 24, 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.

The #1 Shortcut to Greater Productivity

By Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D. on September 07, 2016 in Feeling It
Why Adderall and other stimulants backfire for productivity—and what to do instead

My Child Has Been Referred for Special Ed Testing: Now What?

By Stephen Camarata Ph.D. on September 06, 2016 in The Intuitive Parent
Special education testing can be a bewildering process. Here's what you can do to help your child.

Seductive Details in Teaching

By Rolf Reber Ph.D. on September 05, 2016 in Critical Feeling
Making a lesson fun looks like a good idea but may impair learning.

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.