ADHD Updates by Dr. Peter Perrotta

Why the ADHD Blog

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder continues to remain a controversial diagnosis despite the fact that millions of children, adolescents and adults are diagnosed with ADHD. The goal of this blog is to offer a forum in which issues involving ADHD can be discussed in a thoughtful manner. The Blog will focus primarily on the 4 topics or issues listed in the right sidebar. Please click on each topic for the most recent posts involving these areas.

My hope is that this blog can provide a reasoned approach to the discussion of these issues, one that is based on research and theory, rather than on opinion and anecdote. Over time, I will update and add posts regarding: the nature of ADHD (what the disorder is/how to conceptualize ADHD); how to best assess ADHD; and the most effective approaches for treating ADHD. I will also continue to examine controversies involving ADHD.

Every so often there is a story in the popular press raising concerns about either an increase in the rate of ADHD (implying excessive diagnosing of ADHD) and/or the over treatment of ADHD. If one delves into these stories more fully it appears that they are relying on the Centers for Disease Control* estimates of ADHD. The most recent data from the CDD, from 2011, put the rate of ADHD at 11%, and show a steady increase in the rate
What is ADHD?  ADHD is a disorder of self-regulation, self-control.  ADHD is a disorder is characterized, to paraphrase Russell Barkely, Ph.D., where individuals have difficulty consistently doing what they know, rather than being a disorder characterized by deficits in knowledge and skills.  To use a simple example, adolescents with ADHD “know that they should do their homework, know that their grades matter for their future, and yet do not do their homework consistently. Why? Because at the moment they find
Alternative treatments for ADHD have proliferated over the past 10-15 years. Neurofeedback approaches (including biofeedback and other cognitive training approaches) have been offered as alternatives to medication based treatment. However, there continues to be a lack of research to support these approaches (see other blog entries on this topic). An article by Thibault and Raz in a  recent issue of the American Psychologist, the flagship journal of the American Psychological Association provides additional evidence that alternative treatments, in this instance
Controversy continues regarding the most appropriate method for diagnosing ADHD. Many clinicians continue to utilize the detailed interviewing coupled with clinical rating scales. This approach is recommended by Russell Barkley, PhD, and flows from Barkley’s understanding of ADHD. Some psychologists, particularly those who refer to themselves as neuropsychologists advocate extent testing to make a diagnosis of ADHD. These psychologists utilize a variety of tests to make a diagnosis. Recently, they have begun to utilize tests of Executive Functioning (relatively new
There has been a significant increase in both the diagnosis of ADHD and the use of stimulant (and other medications) to treat ADHD. A number of recent studies have highlighted this trend. A recent study noted in the Journal of the American Medical Association (1) reported a 40% increase in the rate of diagnosis of ADHD, from 2003 to 2011. A 2012 study in the Journal of Academic Pediatrics (2) reported that the number of physician outpatient visits in which