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News and Analysis for ADHD Clinicians

The latest information about attention deficit disorder (ADHD) and related neurological conditions including depression, anxiety, oppositional defiant disorder, learning disabilities, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and more.

Feature Articles for ADHD Experts, by ADHD Experts

Is ADHD a Spectrum Disorder?
New research suggests that ADHD comprises several meaningful subgroups — each one tied to a weak connection in the brain’s neural networks. Here, Joel Nigg, Ph.D. maps the regions of the brain that control attention, impulsivity, and emotion, and explains why scientists are studying the “white matter” connections between these circuits.
Joel Nigg, Ph.D.

The Physician’s Guide for Distinguishing Bipolar Disorder from ADHD
Approximately 20 percent of people with ADHD also suffer from bipolar disorder, a serious mental illness characterized by depressive and manic episodes. Since both conditions share symptoms, but ADHD is more common, bipolar disorder is often missed or misdiagnosed. Use this guide to tell the symptoms of ADHD vs. bipolar apart.
Roberto Olivardia, Ph.D., clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School

11 Steps to Prescribing and Using ADHD Medication Effectively
Medical school doesn’t teach it. The research can be confusing. Every patient is different. But physicians can help their patients effectively treat symptoms with ADHD medication using these concepts.
by William Dodson, M.D.

How ADHD Ignites Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria
The extreme emotional pain of perceived rejection is a feeling unique to people with ADHD, and it can be debilitating. Learn how RSD may be impacting your patients.
by William Dodson, M.D.

ADHD Clinicians Webinar Series Available for Replay
Click on the links below for audio replay and to download the webinar slides. Browse more webinars here.

Medication Management: How to Use and Adjust Stimulants Safely
William Dodson, M.D., explains how clinicians and patients can ensure safe, consistent treatment.

Emotions and ADHD: What Clinicians Need to Know for Accurate Diagnosis
Understanding the disruptive emotions that are among the most impairing aspects of ADHD.

How Bipolar Disorder Looks A Lot Like ADHD: Detection and Treatment of a Misunderstood Condition
Roberto Olivardia, Ph.D., on how bipolar disorder differs from ADHD-related mood states.

What Neuroscience Reveals About the ADHD Brain
Joel Nigg, Ph.D., presents the current neuroscience of the ADHD brain explaining attention deficit as a neuro connectivity deficit that varies from child to child.

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News & Information from ADDitude

A Better Way to Find the Ideal Dose of Methylphenidate
Titrating medication over a longer period of time may help adults with ADHD more effectively reduce their symptoms.

Pediatricians May Fall Short in Treating Patients with Mental Health Conditions
A nationwide shortage of child psychiatrists has put much of the burden for mental health care on pediatricians, who feel ill equipped to tackle these issues.

MTA Surprise: ADHD Meds May Not Improve Symptoms But Can Lead to Height Reduction
The latest phase of the long-term Multimodal Treatment Study (MTA) showed some negative and positive results.

AAP: Parents Should Make Screen Time Interactive — Or Cut Back
New recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics provide new guidance for screen time in our always-connected world.

Better-Trained Pediatricians Reduce Patients’ ADHD Symptoms
A program that helped pediatricians gain confidence in diagnosing and treating ADHD was a win for patients and doctors.

Large Imaging Study Shows Structural Brain Differences in People with ADHD
Critical areas of the brain are smaller in people with ADHD, researchers say, proving that the oft-marginalized condition should be regarded as a brain-based disorder.

Income Levels Linked to Incidence of ADHD, Asthma, and Autism in Children
Kids are affected differently by mental and physical disorders, depending on their family’s income level.

Pharma Trial Suggests Dyanavel XR Is Safe and Effective for Treating ADHD in Children
A medication manufacturer says recent studies show its recently released liquid ADHD medication can be used safely and effectively to treat children.

The Anti-ADHD Diet?
Eating lots of fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains, nuts, and legumes may make it less likely that a child will be diagnosed with ADHD.

New Study: Prenatal Exposure to Licorice May Be Linked to ADHD
An unexpected link between licorice – often recommended for its health benefits – and ADHD in children adds this candy to the list of foods to avoid during pregnancy.

New Study: Despite Parents’ Limits on Internet Usage, Bad Habits Persist
In our increasingly connected world, many parents report taking steps to regulate and cap their child’s screen time — without resounding success.

Doctors’ Visits Way Up for Kids with ADHD
The CDC reports that children in the United States see physicians for ADHD treatment at a much higher rate than a decade ago.

New Research Points to Early B-Vitamin Therapy for ADHD Patients
We know that dietary supplements like B vitamins improve symptoms of ADHD in some patients. A new study suggests this may be true because people with ADHD have naturally lower levels of these key nutrients in their brains and bodies, and that early vitamin treatment may make a difference.

Medication Plus Therapy Still the Most Effective ADHD Treatment, Study Finds — But Therapy May Be Catching Up
While medication combined with cognitive behavioral therapy shows the quickest and most dramatic improvement on ADHD symptoms, CBT by itself becomes more and more effective as time goes on.

Certain ADHD Traits May Benefit Entrepreneurs, Study Says
The first in a series of studies about entrepreneurs with ADHD indicates that traits like impulsivity and hyperfocus may promote business success — but the study’s authors say that more research is needed.

Another Piece of the Puzzle? New Research Zeroes In On the Specific Genetic Components of ADHD
Researchers have long known that the gene known as ADGRL3 is linked to ADHD, but they’ve not understood exactly how. Now, new research has identified a variation on the gene that may clarify the cause-and-effect pathway to ADHD.

More Medical Students Have ADHD and Learning Disabilities Than Previously Estimated
Nearly 3 percent of U.S. medical students have some form of disability, a much higher number than ever before estimated. This finding points to the need to decrease stigma and improve accommodations for these soon-to-be doctors.

New Study: Test-Taking Accommodations May Fall Short for Students with ADHD
A surprising new study finds that accommodations commonly used by students with ADHD when taking tests don’t always correlate with improved scores.

An Inactive Lifestyle May Hurt Boys’ Academic Progress
Lack of exercise may affect reading and math skills in young boys.

Sleep Interventions May Improve ADHD Symptoms in Children
A small study found that children who undergo doctor-guided “sleep hygiene” interventions not only sleep better; they also show a decrease in ADHD symptoms like hyperactivity.

A Mom’s Ability to Work Affected by Her Child’s ADHD
An ADHD diagnosis affects a mother’s workforce participation, making it critical that ADHD treatment addresses this long-term economic effect.

ADHD Diagnoses in Preschool Children Have Stabilized
A rapid increase in ADHD diagnoses for children aged 4 to 6 has tapered off since the AAP released its updated guidelines in 2011, a new study says.

Genes (Not Parenting Or Environment) Are Likely Cause of ADHD
Genetic patterns found in more than 20 percent of subjects with ADHD point toward a genetic cause for the disorder — and may open up pathways for new treatment strategies, researchers say.

Heads Up: Concussion Symptoms Are More Prevalent in Teens with ADHD
High school athletes with ADHD may show more concussion-related symptoms than those without the disorder.

A Brain Changer for ADHDers? Neurofeedback’s Effect on Brain Waves
A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study showed solid evidence that neurofeedback leads to measurable changes in the brain, which may be good news for those diagnosed with ADHD.

Treating Mothers’ Depression May Help Children Manage Their Own
When both mother and child suffer from depression, treating the mother’s symptoms may do more than help the mother.

Brain Scans May Predict Efficacy of Antidepressants
In a recent study, Stanford researchers used patients’ personal history and fMRI scans to predict with 80% accuracy whether an individual with depression would respond positively to antidepressant medication.

Parents and Doctors Beware: The Hidden Dangers of Chronic Tic Disorders
Research suggests that a child diagnosed with tics or Tourette Syndrome is more likely to entertain suicidal thoughts or act out suicidal behaviors.

Brain Training Games’ Efficacy Claims Called Into Question
Do brain training programs actually work to improve memory and cognition? The scientific community is split — but a recent meta-analysis seems to indicate that brain-game makers have not adequately demonstrated the truth behind their claims of success.

Study: Related Conditions Associated with ADHD Don’t Impact Both Genders Equally
A study confirmed that ADHD impacts both genders equally, but suggests that related conditions do not break down evenly between the sexes. For example, substance-abuse problems are more likely in men, while related personality and anxiety disorders are more common in women.

Study: Oppositional Defiant and Conduct Disorders Far More Common in Girls with ADHD Than Previously Thought
A new analysis conducted by UCLA researchers suggests that girls with ADHD are not only at higher risk for anxiety disorder and depression, but also for conduct disorders more commonly associated with boys. Researchers hope that better understanding these comorbidities will aid clinicians in more accurate diagnoses for girls.

Study: Low IQ Scores Do Not Reflect Low Intelligence in Adults with ADHD
Adults with ADHD test just as well as their peers on measures of IQ — once working memory and processing speed are taken out of the equation.

New Study: ADHD Medications Don’t Improve Homework Speed, Results
A small study suggests that stimulant medications used to treat ADHD do not always help children with ADHD complete their homework more quickly or more accurately. What does help? Behavioral therapy.

Children with ADHD Avoid Failure and Punishment More Than Do Their Peers, Study Says
Adult authority figures reproach and correct children with ADHD more often than they do children without the condition. This frequent criticism may cause children with ADHD to more frequently avoid challenges or situations where they may face admonishment again, according to a recent study.

Diabetes Medication During Pregnancy May Be Linked to ADHD
Anti-diabetic medications like insulin are often used to treat type II or gestational diabetes in people who are pregnant — but new research indicates that this might be linked to an increased risk of attention deficit disorder in the child.

New Research: 60 Percent of Children with ADHD Will Experience Symptoms as Adults
New data from a long-term longitudinal study shows that a majority of children with ADHD will continue to experience ADHD symptoms in adulthood, putting to rest the notion that most patients "grow out of" this disorder.

Internet Addiction May Indicate Other Mental Health Problems
Adults who spend an unhealthy amount of time online are more likely to demonstrate symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental-health conditions, a new research study suggests.

The Anti-Clique, Anti-Bullying App That Solves a Big Daily Problem
For any child who struggles to make friends, the cafeteria can be anxiety inducing. Now, a teen who once endured middle-school bullying and lunchtime rejection has created “Sit With Us,” an app to make meeting new friends easier.

In Young Children, Suicide is More Often Linked to ADHD Than to Depression
ADHD — not depression — is the most common diagnosis for young children between the ages of 5 and 11 who commit suicide, a new study finds.

Internet Addiction Could Be a Sign of Other Mental Health Problems
Spending too much time on YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram might point to other mental health challenges that are lurking below the surface.

iPad Play Could Help Identify Signs of Autism
New research finds differences in the way young children with autism move their hands while touching, swiping, and interacting with iPad games. This finding could be used to develop new early-detection tools.

The Anti-Clique, Anti-Bullying App That Solves a Big Daily Problem
For any child who struggles to make friends, the cafeteria can be anxiety inducing. Now, a teen who once endured middle-school bullying and lunchtime rejection has created "Sit With Us," an app to make meeting new friends easier.

Teens with Bipolar Disorder at Greater Risk for Drug Abuse
Though bipolar disorder in teens is not yet fully understood, a new study points towards an increased risk for substance abuse problems by the time teenagers with the condition reach adulthood.

When It Comes to ADHD, DNA May Be the Key
It's well known that ADHD runs in families. But recent research shows that it goes even further, all the way down to DNA: the more DNA two people have in common, the more likely they are to share an ADHD diagnosis (or a lack of one).

Play Therapy Helps Children with ADHD Build Social Skills
Kids with ADHD who struggle to make and keep friends might benefit from play therapy with a trained professional, according to a small new Australian study.

DOE Issues Letter Demanding Schools Support Students with ADHD
The Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) sent a letter telling noncompliant schools — in no uncertain terms — that it is a violation of the law to fail to provide proper support for students with ADHD.

College Students Who Abuse Stimulants Might Be At Higher Risk for Conduct Disorder, Substance Abuse, and ADHD
People who abuse stimulant medications used to treat ADHD might not just be looking for a high, a new study finds — they may actually have psychiatric difficulties like conduct disorder, substance abuse disorder, or undiagnosed ADHD.

Unhealthy Prenatal Diet Linked to Increased Risk of ADHD
More than 40 percent of children with conduct disorder also have ADHD. New research suggests that a mother's high-sugar, high-fat diet during pregnancy could increase the odds of her child having conduct disorder.

Almost Half of Women with ADHD Have Considered Suicide, a New Study Finds
Young women with ADHD are much more likely to have serious mental and physical health problems than their neurotypical peers, according to new research from Canada.

15 Genomic Regions Linked to Certain Depression Diagnoses
A new study identifies 15 major genetic loci that are associated with a risk of depression in people with European ancestry — potentially opening up new pathways for diagnosis and treatment.

Even After Stopping ADHD Medications, Kids' Brains Show Differences
Children who are treated with methylphenidate continue to show increased blood flow in their brains even after the medication is gone from their systems, new research says — but the long-term consequences of these changes remain unknown.

Early Attention Struggles May Predict Academic Problems Down the Road
Academic and social skill challenges early on in school may lead to a higher chance of a child not graduating from high school.

How Work Environment Helps Manage (or Exacerbate) ADHD Symptoms
High-stress, challenging, or rewarding jobs may help adults with ADHD control their most difficult symptoms, recent research shows.

Adult ADHD and Childhood ADHD May Be Separate Disorders
Controversial new research suggests that people who showed no signs of ADHD as children may develop the condition later in life and, conversely, children with diagnoses may outgrow their symptoms.

Epilepsy May Be Linked to Higher Risk of ADHD
There may be a connection between fever-induced seizures, epilepsy, and a later diagnosis of ADHD, researchers find.

Autism, ADHD, and OCD May Have More in Common Than Previously Thought
Similarities in the brains of kids with one of the three conditions may lead to changes in how we categorize and treat them, experts say.

ADHD Medication May Lower Risk of Kids Engaging in Dangerous Behaviors
ADHD medications have long been shown to help with the symptoms of ADHD. Now, a new study offers evidence of their long-term benefits outside of simple symptom management.

Benefits of Omega-3s Called into Question
Existing studies linking omega-3 fatty acids to improved symptoms of ADHD are inconsistent and unreliable, says a research team in the Netherlands. To back up claims of the supplement's effectiveness, larger double-blind studies are needed.

Movement Therapy: Small Amounts of Exercise Can Boost Mood in Adults with ADHD
Researchers found that as little as 20 minutes of moderate exercise increases motivation, happiness, and productivity.

Taking an ADHD Stimulant Does NOT Put Most Children at Higher Risk for Substance Abuse
New evidence further supports the theory that long-term use of stimulant medication — when used properly for the treatment of ADHD symptoms — does not increase the risk that a child will abuse other controlled substances.

A New Theory for Rising ADHD Diagnoses
As academic demands for kids have increased, so too have ADHD diagnoses.

Family Physicians Not Always Complying with AAP Guidelines for Diagnosing ADHD, Report Finds
A new report — confirming earlier CDC research — finds that many family physicians are not doing enough to conform to AAP guidelines when diagnosing and treating ADHD.

Study Confirms Atomoxetine As an Effective Alternative to Stimulants
Doctors shouldn't hesitate to prescribe atomoxetine for the treatment of ADHD, says a new study that found it to be nearly as effective and safe as stimulant medications.