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

Delirious Mania?

On March 9, on a Monday afternoon in DeKalb County, Georgia, Anthony Hill, a black Air Force veteran in postdeployment from Afghanistan, removed all his clothes, slid down from the balcony of his second-floor apartment, and began walking.

Book Review: Wisdom from the Couch

By Ryan Howes PhD, ABPP on March 22, 2015 in In Therapy
Dr. Jennifer Kunst shares the warmer, friendlier side of Kleinian psychology in this interview and book review.

The End of Stigma

Brazil's campaign to tackle mental health discrimination.

Say What? Why Do People Forget They Have a Live Mic?

What is it that makes this universal faux pas in attention and concentration so easy to occur?

Is ADHD Genetically Influenced? Yes!

The evidence that ADHD behaviors have at least some genetic influence is absolutely overwhelming. Distorting and cherry picking research is not the way to advance good discussion on important topics.

Is ADHD Genetic?

Is ADHD a genetic disorder? This seems to be the accepted view among American psychiatrists and parents.

Want to Feel Good, Live Better, and Probably Live Longer?

The other night I watched with great interest a PBS special on heart health. The focus of the show was on Dr. Steven Masley’s book titled "The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up," to be released in paperback next month.

Mind-Bottling Malarkey, Medicine, or Malpractice?

...72,500 kids three or younger are being drugged for depression. For others several months old to three years of age, more than 4,000 are being given anti-psychotics for bipolar, another 11,000 are being drugged for ADHD, and 509,891 are on anti-anxiety pills. Has the sect of clinicians prescribing these drugs never spent time with an infant or toddler?

No, There Is no Such Thing as ADHD

Understanding the interplay of temperament and trauma reveals the fiction of ADHD.

Study Finds People with ADHD More Likely to Die Prematurely

The findings of this study can be anxiety-provoking for anyone touched by AD/HD. But the answer may be as simple as effective treatment.

7 Tips for Improved Productivity in Adult ADHD

Do you have ADHD and Trying to Get More Focused....

Buying And Selling Binge Eating Disorder

By Allen J Frances M.D. on March 12, 2015 in DSM5 in Distress
In Greek myth, Cassandra was cursed with the gift of seeing the future without having any power to change it. I now know the feeling. What a mess.

10 Tips to Reduce Panic Attacks in the City

By Marlynn Wei M.D., J.D. on March 11, 2015 in Urban Survival
Panic attacks don't have to limit your life in the city. Bring some calm to your commute or daily life with these ten tips on managing panic attacks.

How to Parent

By Steven Mintz Ph.D. on March 06, 2015 in The Prime of Life
Parenting, then and now.

How Youth Wind Up Taking Antipsychotic Medications

Yes, the number of kids taking antipsychotic medications is rising, but what does that mean? A new study begins to illuminate the process being the prescriptions.

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.

Need to Make a Change? This Is How to Think About It.

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

By Marilyn Wedge Ph.D. on February 16, 2015 in Suffer the Children
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 Prof. Gary L Wenk Ph. D. on February 13, 2015 in Your Brain on Food
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.