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 occurring behaviors that aren't tolerated in today’s high-demand world? Furthermore, 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.

Managing work, school, and 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

The Price of Being a Loner

By Barb Cohen on May 21, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
Without a social brain, imperfection is never “normalized;” the soothing mantra “Everybody feels this way sometimes” cannot be internalized.

Medication For Life

By Lawrence D. Blum M.D. on May 20, 2017 in Beyond Freud
Some people need medication to live. Are others put on unneeded medication for life?

What's So Hard About Parenting a Child With a Disability?

Have you ever told a parent of a child with a disability to "lighten up"? Perhaps that's not the best approach.

Gender and Mental Health: Do Men Matter Too?

A recent report set out to assess gender inequality and mental health, but was this another wasted opportunity to discuss issues affecting men?
"Tender Moment"/Jeffrey Kontur/CC BY-ND 2.0

Are You a Good Enough Mother?

By Barb Cohen on May 11, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
All parents commit missteps, but the fact is that ours seem more consequential. Is being good, good enough?

The Link Between Autism and Violence Isn’t Autism

A new study that digs a little deeper into the apparent connection between autism and violence finds other disorders to be the missing link.

Boys Under Pressure

By Adam Price Ph.D. on April 25, 2017 in The Unmotivated Teen
Why your son won't do his homework.

ADHD and Self Compassion

What’s the impact of living life with ADHD, seeing exactly what ‘should’ be done and often not getting there anyway.

Teen Prescription Med Abuse Skyrockets, Parents Clueless

7 warning signs for parents and how to protect kids.

Three Key Considerations in Selecting Your Child’s Therapist

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on April 12, 2017 in Singletons
What’s more important? Managing your child’s behavior or making your child feel safe? Do you know why?

What We've Learned About ADHD

By Lybi Ma on April 04, 2017 in Brainstorm
Are you up to date on ADHD research?
commonwikimedia.org

Procrastination: 3 Sources, 3 Solutions

By Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W. on April 02, 2017 in Fixing Families
Procrastination causes stress and can strain relationships. But all procrastination is not created equally. 3 sources and 3 solutions

Eat Right, Feel Right with Mental Health Nutrition

Help clients use food to improve their mood and their energy.

Giftedness: A Curse or a Blessing?

Children who show early signs of intellectual giftedness can face life challenges that are often overlooked, misunderstood or dismissed.

The Dark Side of Optimism

We're used to thinking about optimism as something that is a positive force in one's life. But what if it's not?

Stop Enabling Your Adult Child: Revisited

Helping versus enabling a dependent adult child is often an emotionally charged topic. Here are some guiding principles to help.

What Helps Our Plastic Brain Turn Into a Blastic Brain?

By Lori Russell-Chapin Ph.D. on March 22, 2017 in Brain Waves
Learn what steps need to be taken to have a blastic brain!

Hyperactive Kids and Playtime - What's the Connection?

Kids with more free play time behave better, are physically healthier and exhibit stronger social and emotional development.

Long-Term Use of ADHD Medications May Suppress Adult Height

Extended long-term use of medications to treat ADHD is associated with suppression of adult height by age 25, according to a new longitudinal study.

My Child is Having a Panic Attack

Child in the midst of panic attack, or emotional flooding? Here is a new response for parents to consider.

Five Ways to Be a Better Parent to Your Child With ADHD

Children with AD/HD have unique needs and present unique challenges for parents. How can you best meet these needs? Read on to learn more.

Can You Improve Adult ADHD Without Medications?

By Scott Shapiro M.D. on February 27, 2017 in The Best Strategies For Managing Adult ADHD
Do you have Adult ADHD? Are there non-medication treatments? Have you tried medications but experience too many side effects or only partial benefit?
"drinking water"/darwin Bell/CC BY 2.0

Finding the "Why" of a Special-Needs Child's Behavior

By Barb Cohen on February 23, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
Behavior is a form of communication, and more often than not, especially in young children, it is not communicating a desire to be non-compliant or troublesome.

Why Not Circumcise Your Boy? Risk for Autism

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on February 19, 2017 in Moral Landscapes
New research raises new questions.
Jens Maus

Brain on Fire

By Stephen Gray Wallace on February 16, 2017 in Decisions Teens Make
Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has been called one of the “best known but least understood” mental health conditions. Why is it so well known?

The Neuroscience of Deciding: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

By Christopher Bergland on February 13, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
Neuroscientists recently pinpointed how subareas within the prefrontal cortex drive behavior. These findings could lead to new treatments for impulse control disorders such as OCD.

Another Limitless Pill Hits the Market. Does It Deliver?

By Richard E. Cytowic M.D. on February 10, 2017 in The Fallible Mind
Drugs that modulate cognition work in those who truly need help. While not intended for healthy brains, some continue to rack up glowing testimonials—especially from journalists.

Motor Skills, Movement, and Math Performance Are Intertwined

By Christopher Bergland on February 10, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
There is growing evidence that children who are physically active do better in school. A new study found that kids who move their bodies while learning math get higher test scores.
"Brain Clock"/bzztbomb/CC BY-NC 2.0

Autism, ADHD, and Executive Functioning: Parenting Insights

By Barb Cohen on February 09, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
We have tried visual strategies; we have tried planning discussions; we have tried scripts' we have tried first/then; we have tried IEP goals; and we have tried threats.

What About Women with ADD?

By Melissa Orlov on February 08, 2017 in May I Have Your Attention
A recent review of the research on ADHD in women can help women, and the partners who love them, live better with ADHD.