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

Creating Boundaries with Your Adult Child

Are you overwhelmed, stressed out, and racked with guilt in trying to decide how to best help your adult child?

What You Need To Know About The Genetics of Mental Disorders

By Allen J Frances M.D. on April 30, 2016 Saving Normal
The genetics revolution is one of mankind's greatest intellectual achievements- but so far has contributed nothing to patient care and the ridiculous complexity of brain function.

Top 5 Ways Biofeedback Can Change Your Life

Are you turning to pills to make your life better? Biofeedback and neurofeedback could be the answer you're looking for.

Michael Gilbert on It's About Childhood and Family, Inc.

The future of mental health interview series continues with Michael Gilbert on It's About Childhood and Family, Inc.

David Walker on Indigenous Peoples and Western Mental Health

The future of mental health interview series continues with David Walker on indigenous peoples and western mental health

The Neuroscience of Losing Your Train of Thought

Are you easily distracted? New groundbreaking research identifies the brain mechanics that cause physical interruptions to derail your train of thought.

I Wanted to Write About Attention Span Because....

Is it true that we live in a much busier and information-saturated world, or is that just a convenient myth?

Brain Health Versus Brain Illness: What Can We Do?

What can we do for better brain health?

ADHD and the Rock Star Gene

Adam Levine, will.i.am, Justin Timberlake, and Solange Knowles have spoken publicly about their ADHD. Can ADHD be a gift?

Stopping the False Epidemic of Adult ADHD

By Allen J Frances M.D. on April 14, 2016 Saving Normal
The father of the ADHD diagnosis, Keith Conners, thinks that the adult ADHD epidemic needs to be stopped before it causes even more damage.

Help Your Child With Psychiatric Needs Prepare for College

If you have a child who takes medication for ADD, anxiety, depression, or any other mental health issue, you need an additional checklist—maybe your most important one.

The Unhappy Intellectually Gifted Child

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on April 10, 2016 How To Do Life
An interview with Edward Amend

The Day My Friend Took Adderall Before a Track Meet

During the warm-up I remember making a comment about how he looked locked in and he replied, “thanks, I scored some Adderall for the first time to give me an extra boost too.”

ADD or ADHD: Are They Different?

Why Do Some People Have ADD and Others ADHD? Learn More about Both

ADHD: Finding New Solutions

By Guest Bloggers on April 06, 2016 The Guest Room
What are the alternatives to treating ADHD?

Sami Timimi on ADHD, Autism and Children's Mental Health

The future of mental health interview series continues with Sami Timimi on ADHD, Autism and Children's Mental Health.

7 Ways to Get Kids to Leave a Place They Don't Want to Leave

Getting kids to leave a place they love is no easy task. These ideas will make the transition home much smoother.

Keith Connors, Father of ADHD, Regrets Its Current Misuse

By Allen J Frances M.D. on March 28, 2016 Saving Normal
The father of ADHD sorrows over its current, harmful over-diagnosis and over-treatment. Let's hope his cautions mark a turning point ending this worldwide fad.

Dennis Embry on the Children's Mental Health Network

The future of mental health interview series continues with Dennis Embry on the Children's Mental Health Network

Optimism and the ADHD Partner

Some partners think those with ADHD aren't taking their personal or joint marital woes seriously enough. But there may be other things going on.

ADHD, Creativity, and the Concept of Group Intelligence

By Peter Gray Ph.D. on March 25, 2016 Freedom to Learn
In an experiment, groups containing a person with ADHD symptoms showed more off-task behavior, but were much better at solving problems than groups with no such person.

What Makes Me Tic?

It's awful to have an obvious disability, particularly in secondary school. Kids who struggle with Tourette's have a most challenging time. Here is a courageous success story.

Martin Whitely on ADHD

The future of mental health interview series continues with Martin Whitely on ADHD

Remaining Relevant

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on March 21, 2016 How To Do Life
Even some young adults worry about their having been superseded.

The ADHD Culture: A Machiavellian Tale*

Before 1980, the drugging of children with amphetamines on a massive scale was unheard of, even unimaginable.Today, 3.5 million schoolchildren take stimulant drugs for ADHD.

Can People with ADHD really tell, "Honest Lies"?

Children and Adults with ADHD may be more prone to lying for these reasons.

Astronomy and Psychiatry: Brain Dust and Cosmic Dust

Let's clean up some conclusions in recent psychiatric studies of the brain

How to Tell If Your Child Has Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Many children who are usually sweet and kind can suddenly shift and turn life upside down. What is normal behavior, and when is a child considered defiant?

6 Good Reasons to Read to Your Kids

New research reveals that a child who is easily distracted may in fact be a creative genius.

Understanding the Link Between ADHD and Obesity

New research is now examining the link between ADHD and obesity. Read on to learn more about this connection.