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

posted: Thursday October 16th - 3:15pm

Pesticide Exposure and ADHD

Do the pesticides and other chemicals found in non-organic foods affect my ADHD symptoms?

There is good evidence that pesticide exposure will increase the likelihood of a child having ADHD. In one study of more than 1,100 children, those with higher levels of pesticides in their urine were more than twice as likely to have ADHD as those with lower levels. So far, however, we do not have research to show that decreasing pesticide exposure will improve ADHD symptoms in...
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posted: Wednesday October 8th - 11:49am

Bored at College! Should I Change My Major Again?

An ADHD expert and an ADHD college student team up to answer questions from late teens and young adults about making it in a non-ADHD world.

I am a 20-year-old girl, and I'm on my third major in a small college. I usually like what I'm doing for a few months and then it gets technical and boring. Then I see something else I want to do and change up. My parents have about had it with me. Do you think I should take some time off from school, or should I...
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posted: Friday October 3rd - 2:45pm

How to Team Up with Your Teen in College

The first five weeks are critical to your child’s campus success. Here is an action plan to get him through it all.

Your teen’s bags are packed, and the minivan is filled with school supplies, dorm essentials, and the trusty mini-fridge. You and your teen are excited. Early September is when our teens head off to college. But as exciting as the first several weeks of college are, this is also a period of big adjustment. If your new college student is homesick, anxious, or frightened, use...
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posted: Friday October 3rd - 10:46am

Who Should Evaluate Me for Adult ADHD?

I think I have ADHD and I want to get an evaluation. Should I go to a doctor who evaluates adults, or can I go to a practitioner who evaluates children?

You ask a good question. Most physicians who work with children and adolescents are familiar with ADHD. Some physicians who work with adults may not be. If you have a family physician, call and explain that you think you might have ADHD. Ask if he or she is comfortable evaluating you for this disorder, or if a referral to someone else might be better. You could...
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posted: Friday September 19th - 2:38pm

A Cup of Medication?

A lot of my friends with ADHD say that they couldn't get through a day without caffeine. Can coffee or tea help with ADHD symptoms?

Caffeine in coffee and tea is a stimulant, as are medications like Ritalin and other psychostimulants. Therefore, it is not surprising that caffeine is helpful to some children or adults with ADHD. There are many adults, diagnosed or undiagnosed, who self-medicate their condition with caffeine. The problem is that caffeine is not as reliably effective as psychostimulants are, and can produce jittery side effects. There are...
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posted: Friday September 12th - 1:08pm

Should I Take It Slow When Stopping Meds?

I am a 31-year-old woman who wants to stop taking Concerta and guanfacine because they don't help my ADHD symptoms. Should I take it slow in tapering off them?

You can stop taking Concerta without withdrawal symptoms. Everybody "goes off their stimulant medication" when they sleep through the night. Some people do have mild rebound symptoms when a dose of stimulant wears off, but this is not a withdrawal symptom, just the ADHD coming back. Stopping guanfacine may be a different story. Theoretically, stopping any medication that affects blood pressure, as guanfacine does, can result in...
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posted: Friday September 12th - 1:03pm

Mercury and Fish Oil

I give my son fish oil daily. Should I worry about mercury levels in the oil? Also, what kinds of benefits should I see?

Most reputable fish oil producers remove mercury and other toxins, so fish oils are actually safer than adding fish to the diet. is a good resource for checking mercury levels in fish oil. I have seen fish oil benefit many children with ADHD. It can improve focus and decrease hyperactivity and impulsivity. For some kids, these benefits become apparent within days, but for others, the benefits...
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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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