What is ADHD? Really.

What is ADHD?

Do you ever feel like the facts about ADHD are hard to pin down? Seems like every day there’s a new article about ADHD and what its impact is on the people who live with it.  If you’ve been newly diagnosed, it can feel overwhelming to sift through all of the hype and scare stories and figure out what the truth is:

Did something happen in utero to cause it? Is it just laziness? Or a plot by drug companies to profit on lazy parents and teachers? Can you fix ADHD by cutting out sugar, gluten or artificial colors?

There are tons of opinions out there – and a LOT of bad information.

Yes, ADHD is much misunderstood.

Part of the reason why the facts about ADHD are hard to pin down is because our understanding of brain science is still in the early stages. For example, there are people alive today who grew up in a time when doctors thought that lobotomy and electroshock were legitimate ways of treating all sorts of psychological conditions. Early drugs to treat mental illness were often crude and caused many side effects.

No wonder people have trouble separating scientifically based facts from pseudo-science hypotheses. No wonder it’s hard to know who to trust.

What sources can you trust to give you solid facts about ADHD?

Fortunately there are reliable, responsible sources for the latest information about ADHD.

CHADD – Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a non-profit, membership organization that resources, the latest research, and management information on the disorder. They sponsor an information and referral site, help4adhd.org, that also has a toll-free number of specialists who can answer your questions: 800-233-4050.

NIMH – the National Institute of Mental Health is the largest scientific organization in the world dedicated to research focused on the understanding, treatment, and prevention of mental disorders and the promotion of mental health.

Both of these organizations are not driven by the type of so-called journalism of today that seeks to grab your attention and boost their page views instead of providing well-researched, but factual, information.

Where should I start to learn more about ADHD?

If you are newly diagnosed with ADHD and looking for a starting point, NIMH’s ADHD publication is a solid, comprehensive booklet that describes attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms, causes, and treatments, with information on getting help and coping. Click here to download your copy of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) (NIH 10-3572).

And, of course, if you have a high school or college student with ADHD, we hope that you will subscribe to the Edge Foundation blog for news and resources you can use.

Do you have a favorite ADHD resource you follow?  Let us know in the comments.

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