This is a great video series in which world renowned ADHD expert Dr Russell A Barkley really really explains ADHD to the layperson. I haven’t watched the entire series yet. I will tell you this. One of the most interesting things Dr. Barkley has explained thus far is how ADHD relates to poor emotional regulation.

He spends considerable time explaining how ADHD differs from something like bipolar disorder. ADHD IS NOT a mood disorder. It’s a developmental problem. The whole thing is incredibly interesting. I’d say if you have ADHD (or if someone in your life does) this should be mandatory viewing.

I would also strongly recommend you look at the ADHD videos channel on YouTube.

Basic Facts About ADHD

1. Definition and Types: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by persistent patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that interfere with daily functioning. There are three main types of ADHD: predominantly inattentive presentation, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive presentation, and combined presentation (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

2. Symptoms: Symptoms of ADHD include inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Inattention symptoms involve difficulties in sustaining attention, organizing tasks, and avoiding careless mistakes. Hyperactivity symptoms encompass restlessness, excessive talking, and difficulty staying seated. Impulsivity symptoms involve acting without thinking and difficulty waiting for one’s turn (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

3. Onset and Diagnosis: ADHD often emerges in childhood, with noticeable symptoms around age 7. Diagnosis involves assessing the presence of symptoms inconsistent with developmental level and causing impairment. A diagnosis is typically made by healthcare professionals using the criteria outlined in the DSM-5 (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

4. Causes and Risk Factors: ADHD’s exact cause is multifactorial, involving genetics, brain structure, and neurotransmitter function. Genetic factors play a significant role, with heritability estimates ranging from 60% to 90%. Environmental factors, like prenatal exposure to tobacco smoke and lead, also contribute (Thapar et al., 2013; Franke et al., 2012).

5. Treatment: ADHD treatment is multimodal:

  • Behavioral Interventions: Behavioral therapy helps develop coping strategies and organizational skills (Pelham & Fabiano, 2008).
  • Medication: Stimulant medications (e.g., methylphenidate, amphetamines) and non-stimulant medications (e.g., atomoxetine) effectively manage symptoms (Faraone & Buitelaar, 2010).
  • Educational Support: Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and 504 Plans offer academic accommodations for students with ADHD (U.S. Department of Education, 2016).

6. Lifespan Impact: ADHD can affect academic performance, relationships, and self-esteem. However, with proper management, individuals can lead fulfilling lives (Barkley, 2006).


  • American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
  • Thapar, A., Cooper, M., Jefferies, R., & Stergiakouli, E. (2012). What causes attention deficit hyperactivity disorder? Archives of Disease in Childhood, 97(3), 260-265.
  • Franke, B., Neale, B. M., & Faraone, S. V. (2012). Genome-wide association studies in ADHD. Human Genetics, 131(12), 1877-1895.
  • Pelham, W. E., & Fabiano, G. A. (2008). Evidence-based psychosocial treatments for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 37(1), 184-214.
  • Faraone, S. V., & Buitelaar, J. (2010). Comparing the efficacy of stimulants for ADHD in children and adolescents using meta-analysis. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 19(4), 353-364.
  • U.S. Department of Education. (2016). A guide to the Individualized Education Program. Retrieved from
  • Barkley, R. A. (2006). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: A handbook for diagnosis and treatment (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.