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

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?

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.
Abraham Lincoln/CC BY SA 3.0

Abraham Lincoln Tops List of Famous Jewish Swimmers!

By Barb Cohen on January 23, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
"Famous people with autism" lists are not created primarily to motivate our children. They exist to motivate us adults to adjust our own beliefs about autism.

Is Social Media Increasing ADHD?

By Tracy P Alloway Ph.D. on January 18, 2017 in Keep It in Mind
Social Media and ADHD: How technology is changing the way we pay attention to information
istock getty images

The Gullibility of a President-Elect

By Stephen Greenspan Ph.D. on January 16, 2017 in Incompetence
Using the Russian hacking case as example, explaining how the President-Elect himself is gullible.

Why Worry About Undercared for Males? Messed up Morals!

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on January 15, 2017 in Moral Landscapes
“Boys will be boys” is passed between adults when they throw up their hands and give up on socializing males. It turns out that male misconduct is a sign of undercare in babyhood.
"Johnathan Meath as Santa Clause"/Jonathan Meath/CC BY-SA 2.5

Learning to Tell a Lie

By Barb Cohen on January 12, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
Lying through your teeth requires more social awareness than most of us appreciate.

ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life

By The Book Brigade on January 12, 2017 in The Author Speaks
A prepared response or two and some handy acronyms are just a few of the devices to help those with ADD become masters of their own lives.
eric

How Can Parents Help?

Nearing the end of the childhood made crazy series. Check out the whole series!
eric maisel

How Parents Can Help Their Children Without Psychiatric Meds

Are parents being served by the current "mental disorder labeling and medicating" model? Join experts from around the world as we look at alternative models and helping strategies.
eric maisel

Three Parents Speak

Are parents being served by the current "mental disorder labeling and medicating" model? Join experts from around the world as we look at alternative models and helping strategies.

Dodge the DSM and Its True Believers!

Have you been played by psychiatric authorities?
eric maisel

Her Lost Year

Are parents being served by the current "mental disorder labeling and medicating" model? Join experts from around the world as we look at alternative models and helping strategies.

How To Take Charge of Your Fear of Failure

By Pamela D. Garcy Ph.D. on January 07, 2017 in Fearless You
What can you learn from children and small business owners to help you "go for it"?
eric maisel

Mentoring Kids in Distress

Are parents being served by the current "mental disorder labeling and medicating" model? Join experts from around the world as we look at alternative models and helping strategies.
eric maisel

ADHD as a Fictitious Disease

Are parents being served by the current "mental disorder labeling and medicating" model? Join experts from around the world as we look at alternative models and helping strategies.
eric maisel

Cure Your Child With Food

Are parents being served by the current "mental disorder labeling and medicating" model? Join experts from around the world as we look at alternative models and helping strategies.