Dr. Russell Barkley: When ADHD Kids Grow Up


New study on ADHD and adults

To watch a short interview on NBC’s The Today Show with preeminent ADHD research scientist Dr. Russell Barkley, click on the link above. He introduces the studies examining long-term outcomes of children diagnosed with ADHD. For details on this groundbreaking research by Dr. Barkley and colleague Dr. Mariellen Fischer, read ADHD in Adults: What the Science Says. (Click on the title to learn more about it on Amazon.com.)

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6 thoughts on “Dr. Russell Barkley: When ADHD Kids Grow Up”

  1. I know kids who have adhd and the thing is… I see that treatment does help to a degree but the question is do they really benefit by the labeling as such? I get the feeling that it’s like a handicap sign hung around their neck that they wear giving themselves an excuse to misbehave or react badly to a situation.

    Treatment is certainly helpful but we’ll have to figure out ways to not let it be a crutch for these kids.

    1. Hi Michael,

      Thanks for stopping in. I’m not clear on your point. In general, ADHD is not a “label” but a pathway to understanding and to gaining better control over one’s attention, focus, reactions, and life. Until we can identify the source of a child’s challenges, we’re just stabbing in the dark. Many children who remain undiagnosed suffer from unfair punishment and incredible negative feedback — “labels” such as stupid, lazy, willful, crazy, lying, etc.

      That said, how a family handles the diagnosis with the child varies, depending on the family’s education, understanding of ADHD, and perhaps their own ADHD (since it is highly genetic, chances are good that at least one parent also has ADHD). Many variables here.

      I don’t know of many parents of children with ADHD who allow them to use it as an excuse. But for some, it is a significant disability and it’s only compassionate to understand the limitations just as we would understand the limitations of a child with physical disabilities, which are more visually obvious.

  2. gina pera and dr barkley, thank you for never giving up. i have no education but i am fighting to make a difference in northern ireland, only diagnosed at 31 with severe adhd/ocd.

    passion crushes critics. i will never give up till i get the laws changed and schools listen to my story.

    i have been to hell and back. but my young son, at 5, we’re 99 percent sure he has ADHD and he will not be treated like a bad child, as i was.

    i will fight for ADHD and medication cause its real and medication works. u r both incredible people.

    “if a man hasn’t discovered sumthing that he will die for he isn’t fit to live” –dr martin luther king jr

  3. Dr. Parker — I agree. Dr. Barkley’s presentation at CADDAC in Toronto had that crowd (mostly adults with ADHD) spellbound for hours. Not an easy feat when information is that complex, even to professionals.

    And Jane, thanks for your story. I’m very happy that your brother turned out well. There are many possibilities here — for example, he was gifted (and didn’t have ADHD), he had ADHD and his brain matured, etc.

    This is why we depend on science, however, which is not “a crock” but a way to look beyond an “n of 1” to an “n” of many thousands. Each person must make his or own decisions, and it’s not always easy when you are parenting a child who falls considerably out of what are considered norms. But I think it’s wise for parents to make decisions based on good data and apply it best they can to their individual child. Superstitions, myth, denial, and narcissism that prevents other possibilities to be considered — those, to my way of thinking, fall into the “crock.”

  4. I watched it. What a crock. My brother was Dxd with ADD before it became hip to add the ‘H’. Teachers wanted him drugged back in the 80s. My mother allowed the Ritalin for a bit until she noticed him losing weight and not eating (tweaker symptoms) and discontinued him permanently.

    My mother was not known for being rational for very long but if she had any virtues one of them was her distrust of drugs. Bless her evil heart she fought the teachers and the teachers punished her and my brother by holding him back a grade.

    Today my brother is a successful robotics technician and factory mechanic. He has no criminal record. The fact is his IQ was probably higher than every teacher in that school back then. He had his own ideas about what he wanted to learn. Standard curricula was not it. He was a voracious reader and when he finally had something he was interested in doing his non attentiveness morphed into laser-like attentiveness.

    *Difficult to control?

    Yes he was. He had a developed ego and sense of >I< at a very young age and his will frequently contrasted with or opposed the will of adults. He could sense the adult need to ‘control’ everything you do growing up and resisted it just like I did.

    *Needs constant monitoring?

    From control freak parents? Certainly. If you didn’t watch him or if you let him out of sight he was dismantling machines, appliances and toys to figure out how they worked or conducting science experiments you would never approve of. Turns out you have to wait until you are an adult with a job and your own place before you can do your own science experiments or parents go insane.

    *Does not have many friends?

    Well duh. This goes along with having a higher IQ than the teachers. The other students his age bored him at least as much or more than your average grade school teacher. No sense with wasting time with social interactions with peons when there are books on science to read.

    He his fine today. Never needed ‘treatment’ at an early age. One of the most misunderstood kids of his class and age ever. Always sold short by adults who insisted he was defective. Today his career follows his personal interests just like it did growing up. He beat the ADHD prognosis the best possible way you can. By succeeding at what he does without therapy or methamphetamine analogs.

  5. Gina,
    Thanks for the link to this interview. Russ Barkley is without doubt one of the most articulate thought leaders in the development of ADHD treatment strategies – a person we always love to hear!

    He certainly spoke highly of you when I met him about 2 mos ago in NYC, he is a delight in person as well.
    cp

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