Specializing in Behavioral Healthcare for Children &

Adolescents, Families, Couples, and Adults. 











Here are the answers to some Frequently Asked Questions by parents about ADHD. 


 CLICK HERE to find a list of some helpful resources for learning more about ADHD.


Is a ADHD is real disorder?

Yes, extensive research evidence over the past several decades has documented the existence of a neurobiological disorder known as “Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder” (ADHD).  ADHD is not an issue created by the media, the medical community, or by pharmaceuticals as some people have claimed.  Scientific studies spanning 95 years summarized in the professional writings of Dr. Russell Barkley, Dr. Sam Goldstein, and other experts have consistently identified a group of individuals who have trouble with concentration, impulse control, and in some cases, hyperactivity.  Although the name given to this group of individuals, our understanding of them, and the estimated prevalence of this group has changed a number of times over the past six decades, the symptoms have consistently been found to cluster together.  Currently called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, this syndrome has been recognized as a disability by the courts, the United States Department of Education, the Office for Civil Rights, the United States Congress, the National Institutes of Health, and all major professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, and educational associations.


Is it possible to accurately diagnose ADHD in children and adults?

Although scientists have not yet developed a single medical test for diagnosing ADHD, clear cut clinical diagnostic criteria have been developed, researched, and refined over the past several decades.  The current generally accepted diagnostic criteria for ADHD are listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition-Text Revised  (DSM-IV-TR) published by the American Psychiatric Association.  Using these criteria and multiple methods to collect comprehensive information from multiple informants, ADHD can be reliably diagnosed in children and adults. 


Why Do so Many Children and Adolescents Have ADHD?

The number of children who are being treated for ADHD has risen. It is not clear whether more children have ADHD or more children are being diagnosed with ADHD. ADHD is now one of the most common and most studied conditions of childhood. Because of more awareness and better ways of diagnosing and treating this disorder, more children are being helped.


Do Children Outgrow ADHD?

No, in most cases, children who suffer from ADHD will display and experience the symptoms into adulthood.  A number of excellent follow-up studies conducted over the past few decades have shown that ADHD often lasts a lifetime. Over 70% of children diagnosed as having ADHD will continue to manifest the full clinical syndrome in adolescence, and 15—50% will continue to manifest the full clinical syndrome in adulthood. If untreated, individuals with ADHD may develop a variety of secondary problems as they move through life, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, academic failure, vocational problems, marital discord, and emotional distress. However, if properly treated, most individuals with ADHD live productive lives and cope reasonably well with their symptoms by developing their strengths, structuring their environments, and using medication when needed. 


Are Schools Putting Children on ADHD Medication?

Teachers are often the first to notice the behavioral signs of ADHD.  However, only a child psychologist or psychiatrist, or pediatrician can diagnose ADHD, and only a physician can prescribe medication.  When teachers see students struggling to pay attention and concentrate, it is their responsibility to bring this information to parents' attention so that parents can take appropriate action. A teacher should never diagnose ADHD.  Their role is to provide parents with information, and make a recommendation for further assessment if they suspect that a student has ADHD.  It is parents’ responsibility to seek appropriate treatment for their child. 


Can taking stimulant medications cause any lasting behavioral or educational benefits for children and adolescents with ADHD? 

Research has repeatedly shown that children, adolescents, and adults with ADHD benefit from therapeutic treatment with stimulant medications, which has been used safely and studied for more than 50 years. For example, The New York Times reviewed a recent study from Sweden showing  positive long-term effects of stimulant medication therapy on children with ADHD. 


Do Children Get  High on Stimulant Medications?

There is no evidence that children are getting high on stimulant drugs such as methylphenidate and amphetamine. These drugs also do not sedate or tranquilize children and have no addictive properties.

Stimulants are classified as Schedule II drugs by the US Drug Enforcement Administration. There are some reports of abuse of this class of medication. If your child is on medication, it is always best to supervise the use of the medication closely.


Are Stimulant Medications "Gateway" Drugs Leading to Illegal Drug or Alcohol Abuse?

People with ADHD are naturally impulsive and tend to take risks. But those patients with ADHD who are taking stimulants are actually at lower risk of using other drugs. Children and adolescents who have ADHD and also have coexisting conditions may be at high risk for drug and alcohol abuse, regardless of the medication used.











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