The ADHD Evidence Project

Curated by Stephen V. Faraone, PhD

fact-based approach

Improving the lives of people with ADHD by providing patients, families, and clinicians with scientifically supported evidence-based conclusions about the disorder.

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Why It Matters

Despite decades of research, the media and internet continue to circulate myths, fallacies, and blatant lies about ADHD. This information War on ADHD stigmatizes affected people, reduces the credibility of providers, and delays or prevents access to treatment. In recent years, these problems have worsened with the ascendancy of "fake news" and "alternative facts" in political life.

Our Approach

We curate evidence by systematically reviewing the scientific literature to select studies meeting a very high level of evidence. We limit our curation to two types of evidence: meta-analyses and very large studies. Meta-analyses combine data from many studies of the same topic. By compiling large amounts of data across many studies, meta-analyses give results that are unlikely to be disproved by future work.

Future Work

Going forward, we will promote the International Consensus Statement on social media, to professional organizations devoted to ADHD and to the advocacy groups that help people with ADHD and their families, worldwide. We will continue curating new evidence as it is published so that the International Consensus Statement can become a living document. And we will fight the War on ADHD through our current book project and related social media activities.

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Questions from My Latest Reddit AMA

What do you believe the most effective changes people with ADHD can make to improve their life and management of their ADHD?

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  1. Adhere to medications for ADHD as prescribed.
  2. Learn the principles of CBT and apply them to everyday life.
  3. Keep in mind that ADHD is only one part of your persona. Find your strengths and capitalize on them.
Source

What is the evidence that neuro feedback is helpful to those with ADHD?

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The evidence from randomized controlled trials is very clear. NFB is not effective for treating symptoms of ADHD. It is not recommended in any guidelines for that reason.

Source

What are some recommended treatments for individuals who have a history of abusing some of the typical medications prescribed for ADHD?

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The non-stimulants: atomoxetine or the extended release versions of clonidine, guanfacine and viloxazine. CBT is ideal as an adjunct to medication.

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Can ADHD get confused for BPD? If so, what are the main differences you look for?

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The two disorders are different enough that an expert diagnostician can tell the difference but they also co-occur which means that sometimes one of the disorders is not diagnosed when both occur in the same person.

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Any suggestions for healing from stigma and internalized ableism from the experience of being judged and bullied since childhood for a condition over which I have no control?

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Stigma and bullying are such awful problems for so many people with ADHD. These are the types of questions for which psychotherapy may be useful. It is important to keep in mind that ADHD is a problem that affects a person, it does not define that person. People with ADHD have other strengths that they need to recognize in themselves even though others can make that difficult to do.

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How does caffeine use interact with ADHD and executive functioning more generally?

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Research shows that caffeine helps with alertness, vigilance, attention, reaction time and attention. Effects on memory and higher-order executive functions, like decision making are not as clear. But although it helps with some types of attention, it is not effective for treating the inattention of ADHD.

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Do you have any pearls of wisdom that you think managers who manage employees with ADHD should know?

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Encourage them to seek out evidence based treatments and to adhere to those treatments. Self help books by Russ Ramsey or Russ Barkley are also useful.

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What is the evidence that a low sugar or sugar free diet improves adhd symptoms?

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Surprisingly, data show that sugar consumption does not worsen symptoms of ADHD. No special diet, except removing artificial food colorants, has been shown to help ADHD symptoms.

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what do you think is the easiest route for adults newly learning they have adhd to help treat themselves without a million steps that will inevitably leave them giving up and never actually helping (asking for a friend definitely not me)

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  1. Find a prescriber who is experienced in the treatment of ADHD with medications and adhere to the prescribed treatment.
  2. If that treatment does not solve all issues, work with them to figure out what could be added, such as CBT.
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Do any particular food/food groups exacerbate ADHD?

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Artificial food colorants have been shown to be a problem for some people with ADHD. No other foods are know to exacerbate the disorder.

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“Regulatory agencies around the world have determined that several medications are safe and effective for reducing the symptoms of ADHD as shown by randomized controlled clinical trials.”

Dylan Faraone

“When made by a licensed clinician, the diagnosis of ADHD is well-defined and valid at all ages, even in the presence of other psychiatric disorders, which is common.”

Dylan Faraone

“ADHD is more common in males and occurs in 5.9 % of youth and 2.5 % of adults. It has been found in studies from Europe, Scandinavia,Australia, Asia, the Middle East, South America, and North America.”

Dylan Faraone

“ADHD is rarely caused by a single genetic or environmental risk factor but most cases of ADHD are caused by the combined effects of manygenetic and environmental risks each having a very small effect.”

Dylan Faraone

“People with ADHD often show impaired performance on psychological tests of brain functioning, but these tests cannot be used to diagnose ADHD.”

Dylan Faraone

“Neuroimaging studies find small differences in the structure andfunctioning of the brain between people with and without ADHD.These differences cannot be used to diagnose ADHD.”

Dylan Faraone
Dylan Faraone

“People with ADHD are at increased risk for obesity, asthma, allergies,diabetes mellitus, hypertension, sleep problems, psoriasis, epilepsy,sexually transmitted infections, abnormalities of the eye, immunedisorders, and metabolic disorders.”

Dylan Faraone
Dylan Faraone

“People with ADHD are at increased risk for low quality of life, substance use disorders, accidental injuries, educational underachievement,unemployment, gambling, teenage pregnancy, difficulties socializing,delinquency, suicide, and premature death.”

University Fat Cat

“Studies of economic burden show that ADHD costs society hundreds of billions of dollars each year, worldwide.”

Homer Simpson

“Regulatory agencies around the world have determined that several medications are safe and effective for reducing the symptoms of ADHD as shown by randomized controlled clinical trials.”

Dylan Faraone

“Treatment with ADHD medications reduces accidental injuries,traumatic brain injury, substance abuse, cigarette smoking,educational underachievement, bone fractures, sexually transmitted infections, depression, suicide, criminal activity and teenagepregnancy.”

Dylan Faraone

“The adverse effects of medications for ADHD are typically mild and canbe addressed by changing the dose or the medication.”

Dylan Faraone

“The stimulant medications for ADHD are more effective than nonstimulant medications but are also more likely to be diverted, misused,and abused.”

Dylan Faraone

“Non-medication treatments for ADHD are less effective than medicationtreatments for ADHD symptoms, but are frequently useful to helpproblems that remain after medication has been optimized.”

Dylan Faraone

The International Consensus Statement

A quick glance at the International Consensus Statement
The International Consensus Statement curates key scientific discoveries from the past 20 years. It provides current and accurate information about ADHD supported by a substantial and rigorous body of evidence.

“Regulatory agencies around the world have determined that several medications are safe and effective for reducing the symptoms of ADHD as shown by randomized controlled clinical trials.”

Dylan Faraone

“When made by a licensed clinician, the diagnosis of ADHD is well-defined and valid at all ages, even in the presence of other psychiatric disorders, which is common.”

Dylan Faraone

“ADHD is more common in males and occurs in 5.9 % of youth and 2.5 % of adults. It has been found in studies from Europe, Scandinavia,Australia, Asia, the Middle East, South America, and North America.”

Dylan Faraone

“ADHD is rarely caused by a single genetic or environmental risk factor but most cases of ADHD are caused by the combined effects of manygenetic and environmental risks each having a very small effect.”

Dylan Faraone

“People with ADHD often show impaired performance on psychological tests of brain functioning, but these tests cannot be used to diagnose ADHD.”

Dylan Faraone

“Neuroimaging studies find small differences in the structure andfunctioning of the brain between people with and without ADHD.These differences cannot be used to diagnose ADHD.”

Dylan Faraone
Dylan Faraone

“People with ADHD are at increased risk for obesity, asthma, allergies,diabetes mellitus, hypertension, sleep problems, psoriasis, epilepsy,sexually transmitted infections, abnormalities of the eye, immunedisorders, and metabolic disorders.”

Dylan Faraone
Dylan Faraone

“People with ADHD are at increased risk for low quality of life, substance use disorders, accidental injuries, educational underachievement,unemployment, gambling, teenage pregnancy, difficulties socializing,delinquency, suicide, and premature death.”

University Fat Cat

“Studies of economic burden show that ADHD costs society hundreds of billions of dollars each year, worldwide.”

Homer Simpson

“Regulatory agencies around the world have determined that several medications are safe and effective for reducing the symptoms of ADHD as shown by randomized controlled clinical trials.”

Dylan Faraone

“Treatment with ADHD medications reduces accidental injuries,traumatic brain injury, substance abuse, cigarette smoking,educational underachievement, bone fractures, sexually transmitted infections, depression, suicide, criminal activity and teenagepregnancy.”

Dylan Faraone

“The adverse effects of medications for ADHD are typically mild and canbe addressed by changing the dose or the medication.”

Dylan Faraone

“The stimulant medications for ADHD are more effective than nonstimulant medications but are also more likely to be diverted, misused,and abused.”

Dylan Faraone

“Non-medication treatments for ADHD are less effective than medicationtreatments for ADHD symptoms, but are frequently useful to helpproblems that remain after medication has been optimized.”

Dylan Faraone
208

Statements about ADHD strongly supported by medical research.

80

Authors from 27 countries wrote the Consensus Statement.

366

Colleagues who have read and endorsed this manuscript.