ADDitude's top ADD/ADHD experts answer readers' questions about parenting children with, and about adults living with, ADD/ADHD.

posted: Friday September 5th - 10:56am

Do Childhood Vaccines Cause ADD?

As a person with ADD, with a son who has autism, I believe that vaccines are the cause of my ADD and my son's autism, based on my research and gut feelings. Are there any studies that suggest that vaccinations lead to either of these conditions?

The evidence is clear: Vaccines are not a cause cause of autism spectrum disorders or ADHD. Major studies have shown this. It is true that there are more vaccines now for young children than in the past, and some cases of autism don't materialize until the second year of life. In such cases, a family may attribute the timing of the vaccines to the onset of...
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posted: Friday September 5th - 10:43am

His Anger Is Out of Control — Even When He's on Meds

My 26-year-old brother was recently diagnosed with ADD and was prescribed Adderall. He has daily temper tantrums, to the point where he breaks things and kicks or punches holes in the walls. What can I do to stop these outbursts?

It is possible that your brother is prone to such behaviors and that his medication exacerbates them. If you think these might be true, it would be best if he were not on a stimulant medication. It would be better to explore other medications for treating his ADHD. Discuss this option with the physician treating him. ...
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posted: Friday September 5th - 10:34am

Why Don't All ADHDers Need Meds?

If ADHD is caused by a chemical imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain, doesn't it follow that all children with attention deficit need medication to correct the imbalance?

This is an interesting and important question. It does appear that children with ADHD have differences in certain aspects of brain function. The most important difference seems to be in the frontal lobe, which results in problems with executive function. This may be influenced by differences in the production or metabolism of two neurotransmitters, dopamine and norepinephrine. This is the chemical imbalance you refer to. There...
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posted: Friday September 5th - 10:31am

Birth Defects and Stimulants

I was recently told that ADHD stimulants cause birth defects, possibly even the loss of the baby. My husband and I are trying to get pregnant, so this concerns me. Can you tell me if I have anything to be concerned about?

There is no firm or consistent data on how stimulants affect the fetus during pregnancy. The current data suggest that there is no impact. But the information from these studies does not confirm that this is "absolutely correct in all cases." Discuss your concern with your obstetrician. Some families decide that, without definitive data, it is better to err on the side of safety and not...
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posted: Tuesday September 2nd - 12:59pm

My Husband Always Misses School Meetings

My husband refuses to go to school meetings about our daughter and to her doctor's appointments. Shouldn't he find the time to go, so he stays up to speed with our daughter's challenges?

It is best that both parents participate in school conferences about their child. If your husband says that he cannot take off from work too often, ask him to come to the first meeting of the school year. You will attend the others and keep him up to date. Be sure to review the information shared at each meeting. If your husband either doubts the diagnosis or...
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posted: Tuesday June 17th - 9:23am

Does CBT Help Kids?

Does cognitive behavior therapy help kids and adults manage ADHD symptoms? I've been thinking of starting CBT for my 12-year-old daughter, who has been diagnosed with the condition.

There is little evidence that cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is helpful for young children with ADHD, but it may be effective for adolescents. CBT works best for ADHD adults; in some cases, it is as effective as medication. CBT works especially well in tamping down anxiety. If your daughter seems anxious, as do many children with ADHD, this would be an additional reason to consider CBT. In...
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posted: Wednesday June 11th - 2:42pm

Does Homeopathy Help With ADHD Symptoms?

Several parents I know are using homeopathy to manage their child's ADHD symptoms. What is it and does it work?

Homeopathy is an alternative medicine that uses very high dilutions of common substances to cure disease. There have been three randomized studies on the effects of homeopathy on ADHD. Of those, one didn't include enough subjects. Of the other two studies, one seemed to show that homeopathy was effective for ADHD, while the other did not. At this point, there isn't good evidence that homeopathy is...
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posted: Thursday June 5th - 1:28am

Generic Concerta Is Not Created Equal

I've been taking a generic form of Concerta, and it isn't working as well as the brand-name formulation. What should I do?

Many patients and physicians have noticed that the new generic formulations of Concerta are not working as well, or as long as, the original brand-name Concerta. It turns out that the FDA allows any generic methylphenidate extended-release medication that comes in the same dose sizes as brand-name Concerta to be dispensed like the brand-name medication. There are four generics that fall into this category, all of...
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posted: Thursday June 5th - 1:20am

Should I Try Smart Pills for My ADHD?

Nootropics are substances that enhance cognition and memory, and facilitate learning. They are also known as “smart drugs, memory enhancers, neuro enhancers, cognitive enhancers, and intelligence enhancers.” These can take the form of pharmaceutical medications, nutritional supplements, or herbs. Psychostimulants, like Ritalin, are nootropics that help with ADHD symptoms. The effects of other nootropics are much less predictable. The web advertises smart supplements that claim to be...
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posted: Thursday June 5th - 12:49am

Am I Protected on the Job If I Tell My Boss?

I am an adult who has trouble finishing assignments at work. I have thought about asking for accommodations to help me do a better job, but I don't want to reveal that I have ADHD. Does the law protect me from discrimination if I tell my boss I have the condition?

Yes. The Americans with Disabilities Act, a federal civil rights law, prohibits discrimination against individuals with "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities." Included in "major life activities" are "concentrating, thinking ... and working." Your employer is required to provide you with "reasonable accommodations" to enable you to do your job despite your ADHD, but there are several caveats: You...
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