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attention deficit hyperactive

What is ADHD/ADD? 


According to the WebMD

ADHD is a chronic condition marked by persistent inattention, hyperactivity, and sometimes impulsivity. ADHD begins in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. As many as 2 out of every 3 children with ADHD continue to have symptoms as adults.

General Statistics


ADDITUDE: Inside the ADHD Mind

  • In its 2016 study, the CDC found that 3.3 million adolescents ages 12-17 have ever been diagnosed with ADHD.

  • Teens drivers diagnosed with ADHD are more likely to be in a traffic accident, be issued traffic and moving violations, and engage in risky driving behaviors.14

  • Up to 27 percent of adolescents with substance abuse disorder have comorbid ADHD.15

  • Adolescents with ADHD clash with their parents about more issues than do adolescents without ADHD.16

  • Male high-school students with ADHD are more likely to experience problems with attendance, GPA, homework, and more. Male teens with ADHD miss school 3 to 10 percent of the time; are between 2.7 and 8.1 times more likely to drop out of high school; fail 7.5 percent of their courses; and have GPAs five to nine points lower than those of male teens without ADHD.17

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD/ADD) - causes, symptoms & pathology

"What is ADHD? ADHD and ADD are synonymous terms used to describe when a child displays symptoms related to not being able to pay attention or is overly active and impulsive. Find more videos at"


When I Found the Courage to Seek Accommodations as a University Student With ADHD

"Undergraduate school was hectic with ADHD, as was community college. I am now a graduate student working on two master’s degrees and I finally had the courage to ask for disability accommodations after being turned down at the community college level when I was seeking my associate’s degree.

My fear that I would be turned down for accommodations once I was studying for my bachelor’s degree cost me the ability to graduate with honors. I finished my undergraduate degree with a 3.5 GPA but honors is 3.67 or higher. I fought daily in undergraduate school to focus on my assignments with my ADHD interfering with many of my planned times to do assignments. I still refused to ask for the accommodations I needed so badly."

What ‘Attention’ Is Really Like With ADHD

"Growing up in school, I rarely raised my hand to answer a question. For some reason, everyone seemed to know the right answer but me. My brain would always come up with a correct answer, but it was usually not the answer the teacher was looking for. On the rare occasion when I did raise my hand, the teacher would hear my answer and reply, “I never looked at it that way,” or “that wasn’t the answer I was looking for.” I wasn’t wrong, but I wasn’t right either. No one else seemed to have as much trouble figuring out the right answer, and at the time I found that frustrating and discouraging.

I noticed it happening in conversations as well. I would hear my friends talking about something, so I would bring up a topic that was related. They would all look at me confused because they didn’t see the connection between topics and thought I was just bringing up some random topic for no reason. I would try to explain the connection to my friends on occasion, and we would always end up laughing about how obscure the connection would actually be when I stopped to think about it.

For reasons I did not understand yet, I was an out of the box thinker, whether I wanted to be or not. I learned how to embrace that part of me as best I could, and while I would have preferred to fit in with everyone, I grew adjusted to being “different” and made the best of it."

10 Study Tips for the Student With ADHD

"In high school, I was a D-student. I wasn’t unintelligent, quite the opposite, actually. Many of my teachers told me I was a joy to have in class discussions and once they explained the material in class, I had some pretty great contributions. So, why the low marks? Whenever I had to sit down and study, I would short-circuit. I just couldn’t manage to get through the homework. It drove my family bananas! They knew I could do better! I remember one particular evening my father offered me, I kid you not, $100 to read two chapters of a book due the next day and write the accompanying summaries, and I just couldn’t get through it. Tension headaches, not enough stimulation and low frustration tolerance all added up to me doing the exact amount of work I needed to finish high school in four years and not a single bit more.

When I got to college, however, I went to therapy, I did research on my own, I read books on attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and I tried and failed and learned until I finally discovered a method of studying that worked for me. I went from high school to the first college that would take me, and I was miserable there. But once I figured out how my brain worked, I left, did a year at community college and transferred to a top 100 university!"

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How Neurotransmitters Work In ADHD Brains

Before I tell you about these special brain chemicals, let me explain a bit about brain anatomy.

There are millions of cells, or neurons, densely packed into various regions of the brain. Each region is responsible for a particular function. Some regions interact with our outside world, interpreting vision, hearing, and other sensory inputs to help us figure out what to do and say. Other regions interact with our internal world — our body — in order to regulate the function of our organs.

For the various regions to do their jobs, they must be linked to one another with extensive “wiring.” Of course, there aren’t really wires in the brain. Rather, there are myriad “pathways,” or neural circuits, that carry information from one brain region to another.

Information is transmitted along these pathways via the action of neurotransmitters (scientists have identified 50 different ones, and there may be as many as 200). Each neuron produces tiny quantities of a specific neurotransmitter, which is released into the microscopic space that exists between neurons (called a synapse), stimulating the next cell in the pathway — and no others.

How does a specific neurotransmitter know precisely which neuron to attach to, when there are so many other neurons nearby? Each neurotransmitter has a unique molecular structure — a “key,” if you will — that is able to attach only to a neuron with the corresponding receptor site, or “lock.” When the key finds the neuron bearing the right lock, the neurotransmitter binds to and stimulates that neuron.

[Self-Test: Could You Have a Working Memory Deficit?]

Neurotransmitter Deficiencies In ADHD Brains

Brain scientists have found that deficiencies in specific neurotransmitters underlie many common disorders, including anxiety, mood disorders, anger-control problems, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

ADHD was the first disorder found to be the result of a deficiency of a specific neurotransmitter — in this case, norepinephrine — and the first disorder found to respond to medications to correct this underlying deficiency. Like all neurotransmitters, norepinephrine is synthesized within the brain. The basic building block of each norepinephrine molecule is dopa; this tiny molecule is converted into dopamine, which, in turn, is converted into norepinephrine.

A Four-Way Partnership

ADHD seems to involve impaired neurotransmitter activity in four functional regions of the brain:

  • Frontal cortex. This region orchestrates high-level functioning: maintaining attention, organization, and executive function. A deficiency of norepinephrine within this brain region might cause inattention, problems with organization, and/or impaired executive functioning.

  • Limbic system. This region, located deeper in the brain, regulates our emotions. A deficiency in this region might result in restlessness, inattention, or emotional volatility.

  • Basal ganglia. These neural circuits regulate communication within the brain. Information from all regions of the brain enters the basal ganglia, and is then relayed to the correct sites in the brain. A deficiency in the basal ganglia can cause information to “short-circuit,” resulting in inattention or impulsivity.

  • Reticular activating system. This is the major relay system among the many pathways that enter and leave the brain. A deficiency in the RAS can cause inattention, impulsivity, or hyperactivity.

These four regions interact with one another, so a deficiency in one region may cause a problem in one or more of the other regions. ADHD may be the result of problems in one or more of these regions.


The symptoms of ADHD (also known as ADD) don’t just impact learning. They can also create difficulties in everyday life with friends and family.

So how is ADHD treated? There are a number of treatments available for ADHD, in addition to medication. Some kids respond best to one kind of treatment. Other kids may do best with a different treatment or combination of treatments. Together with your child’s doctor, you can come up with an ADHD treatment plan that’s tailored to meet your child’s needs.

ADHD Medication

For many kids, medication is key to ADHD management. Experts largely agree that it’s the most effective form of treatment for most kids with ADHD. Medication works well for around 80 percent of the kids who take it, if the type and dosage is carefully tailored to them. But medication may not be right for all kids and families.

There are two main types of medication for ADHD: stimulant and non-stimulant. They work in different ways in the brain to help control ADHD’s key symptoms.

For some kids, ADHD medications can have side effects. These usually go away after a few days. If not, the prescriber will probably suggest trying a different medication to see if that will work better. Or she might recommend changing from a stimulant to a non-stimulant, or vice versa.

It’s fairly common for kids with ADHD to also have anxiety or depression. For these kids, doctors may suggest some additional medication or behavioral treatment.

Watch as an expert talks about the importance of treating ADHD in children, and various ADHD treatment options.

Therapies for ADHD

Kids and families affected by ADHD often find it helpful to work with a mental health professional. It’s important to base the type of therapy you choose on what your child and family need. Here are some options.

Behavior therapy: One of the goals of behavior therapy is to change negative behaviors into positive ones. It often involves using a rewards system at home. This type of therapy is helpful for some kids with ADHD, and is often used along with medication.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This is a type of talk therapy. The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is to get kids to think about their thoughts, feelings and behavior. It’s not specifically for ADHD, but it may be helpful for some kids.

In part, CBT helps kids replace negative thoughts with ones that are more realistic and positive. It also helps kids build self-esteem, which tends to be negatively affected by ADHD.

CBT is effective for treating anxiety and depression. Anxiety and/or depression occur in about 50 percent of people with ADHD.

Social skills groups: For some kids, ADHD symptoms can make it hard to socialize. Kids may talk nonstop or have trouble thinking before they speak. They may also have trouble managing their emotions. Joining a social skills group run by a professional can help kids learn and practice important skills for interacting with others.

Other Non-Medication Treatment Options for ADHD

There are other non-medication treatment options that have some research backing. Research has shown these alternative treatments to be somewhat helpful in relieving ADHD symptoms. These treatments and therapies include exercise, outdoor activities, omega supplements, mindfulness and changes in diet.

There are also alternatives some parents try that aren’t backed by research. These include over-the-counter (OTC) supplements and “train the brain” games. It’s important to know that OTC supplements are not regulated by law.

Support in School for ADHD

There are a number of classroom accommodations that can help kids with ADHD. These include things like getting extended time on tests, being seated at the front of the classroom and having permission to get up and move during class. You can also talk to your child’s teacher about trying informal supports

behavior intervention plan (BIP) might be helpful for some kids with ADHD. This plan outlines steps teachers take to stop problem behaviors at school. A BIP also explains how teachers and the school will encourage appropriate behavior.

Ways to Help at Home

There are many strategies you can try to help your child with ADHD at home. Learn about different professionals who help kids with ADHD. And find out what to do if your child was recently diagnosed with ADHD.


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fish in a tree

by Lynda Mullaly Hunt


"Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions.  She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike."

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hyper: a personal video history of adhd

by Timothy Denevi


"The first book of its kind about what it’s like to be a child with ADHD, Hyper is a “haunting narrative that explores the world’s most scrutinized childhood condition from the inside out” (Nature) that also illuminates the history of how we came to medicate more than four million children today.

Among the first generation of boys prescribed medication for ADHD in the 1980s, Timothy Denevi took Ritalin at the age of six and suffered a psychotic reaction. Thus began his long odyssey through a variety of treatments. In Hyper, Denevi describes how he made his way to adulthood, knowing he was a problem for those who loved him, longing to be able to be good and fit in, and finally realizing he had to come to grips with his disorder before his life spun out of control. Using these experiences as a springboard, Denevi also traces our understanding and treatment of ADHD from the nineteenth century, when bad parenting and even government conspiracies were blamed, through the twentieth century and drug treatments like Benzedrine, Ritalin, and antidepressants. His insightful history shows how drugs became the treatment of choice for ADHD, rather than individually crafted treatments like the one that saved his life."


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"'I simply couldn’t sit still, because it was difficult for me to focus on one thing at a time,' Phelps recalls in Beneath the Surface. 'I had to be in the middle of everything.'

That was especially difficult at home. When he was 7, Phelps’ parents divorced. He says, 'As I began to grasp that my dad would be away for a long time, I needed something that could grab my attention.'"

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"When it comes to the traditional expectations of a pop star in Hollywood, Solange Knowles shatters the glass ceiling as a woman of color who also happens to be diagnosed with a disability that affects 10 percent of the U.S. population: ADHD. Knowles has been outspoken about her ADHD, educating people about her disability.

'I was diagnosed with ADHD twice,' Knowles said. 'I didn’t believe the first doctor who told me, and I had a whole theory that ADHD was just something they invented to make you pay for medicine, but then the second doctor told me I had it.'"

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