2 Myths About Adult ADD


There are many people who feel anxious, depressed, impulsive, or prone to anger, and they think the problem is “all in their head” or purely psychological. However, one of the clearest things we at Amen Clinics have found in our research is that these problems often do have a biological basis in the brain.

We are talking, of course, about adult attention deficit disorder (ADD), which is also known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Although ADD is a large umbrella of symptoms that can be most often noticed in those children bouncing off the wall in the doctor’s office, we often forget that hyperactivity is just the most visible effect of a much more complicated disorder. There are many different types of ADD, and they aren’t all quite as obvious as the screaming child running laps in the parking lot. In fact, at Amen Clinics, we prefer the name ADD, as ADHD highlights the hyperactive component of the disorder (H) and discards half the people who have it, particularly females, who are typically not hyperactive.

Myth #1: Children outgrow their ADD problem by adulthood

Fact: While ADD is most often diagnosed in children, for two-thirds of them the disorder persists into adulthood. Over the past few decades, the conversation on mental health has grown and more adults with the disorder are now being diagnosed.

ADD is highly heritable, and adults often are diagnosed for the first time when they bring their child in seeking help. However, there is no such thing as adult-onset ADD. These adults have often been living their entire lives unaware, but with the constant feeling that their brains worked a little differently.

Just because these adults haven’t been identified as ADD until later in life, doesn’t mean they haven’t been living with the disorder’s effects. Treating adult ADD starts by understanding the disorder itself and the effects it has on you and those around you, in order to begin succeeding with ADD, not in spite of it.

Myth #2: ADD is just an excuse for the habitually distracted and disorganized

Fact: There is a difference between an excuse and explanation. Just like anyone else, ADD adults have to hold themselves accountable; they are skilled and often incredibly creative people who are capable of great things. However, they cannot deny the effects the disorder can have on their lives.

We have scanned tens of thousands of brains and seen the clear differences in brain function between an adult with ADD and an adult without it. Among the many signs, lower blood flow to key areas such as the prefrontal cortex (the brain’s decision maker) and lower levels of adrenaline are often seen in ADD adults, causing them to sometimes be impulsive or craving excitement. Knowing this can help you understand this complicated disorder, and act to explain rather than make excuses, taking steps to minimize the challenges adult ADD presents.

Amen Clinics has helped tens of thousands of people with ADD/ADHD from all over the world. With targeted treatment, you CAN change your brain and change your life. If you feel that you or a loved one could benefit from an evaluation, contact the Amen Clinics Care Center today at 888-288-9834 or schedule a visit online today.


  1. What supplements would you recommend for an eight years old ADD girl?

    Comment by Silvia — June 17, 2016 @ 12:08 PM

  2. Why doesn’t the medical community and psychology community acknowledge that there is physical evidence to prove ADD/ADHD?? Such as brain imaging? I have asked several doctors here about it. They all say there is not enough evidence to treat patients that way. Or no there are no medical tests to help diagnose. And where can I go in this area ( Lafayette Indiana 60 miles north of Indianapolis) to get brain imaging?

    Comment by njwinningham@gmail.com — June 17, 2016 @ 1:29 PM

  3. I suggest going online to the Amen site and take the test that will help determine her type of ADD, then follow supplement suggestions associated with the type. I have personally using the Amen Solution Focus and Energy and find it very helpful.

    Comment by Karen Cochrane — June 17, 2016 @ 1:43 PM

  4. Imaging is very expensive! You can take the tests on the Amen website to determine if and what type of ADD/ADHD you may have and what the best approaches may be. Neurofeedback Training is a very successful intervention for this and there may be practitioners in your area. I think the best is NeurOptimal (Neuroptimal.com) that works to help your brain optimize moment to moment while hooked up in a session.

    Comment by Karen Cochrane — June 17, 2016 @ 1:47 PM

  5. I am Brazilian and would like to know if there is any doctor in my country who has trained with Dr Amen. I have a diagnosis of ADD and have been taking Venvanse as a routine medication. What could be my online options to learn more about the fundamental tools to overcome this deep crisis I live nowadays, that took me out of my job market in the past three years? I have followed Dr Amen last web seminar and I am reading through the latest revised edition of Change your Brain, Change your Life. Thanks

    Comment by Marcia Regis — June 17, 2016 @ 3:34 PM

  6. Get Dr. Amen’s book “Healing ADD”. It will answer that question and more. I’m the poster boy for ADD and found the book both helpful and fascinating. You’ll be glad you read it.

    Comment by Bill Hale — June 17, 2016 @ 3:52 PM

  7. Are there different kinds of autism, like there are different kinds of ADD? Could I have both conditions?

    Comment by Jim Novack — June 17, 2016 @ 7:26 PM

  8. From my experience, autism is a broad spectrum of challenges in communication… socially and emotionally. Often sensory issues are present, too — like aversions to textures, tastes or changes in routines. ADD IS often seen, I think, as a secondary issue along with many disorders. Perhaps your doctor can work with you on the specific ADD traits you are experiencing. Maybe meds could help, along with a life coach? Whatever you do, remember that everyone has stuff to cope with, and we all deserve help!

    Comment by MarBeth — June 17, 2016 @ 8:02 PM

  9. Most psychological/cognitive issues present themselves in people on more of a range or spectrum of characteristics/tendencies. And many people fall somewhere on that spectrum because of a variety of factors. In other words, you may have certain autistic tendencies, but that does not necessarily mean that you have autism or that you are autistic. Few things involving the brain are that black and white.

    Comment by Gretchen — June 18, 2016 @ 7:19 AM

  10. Thanks, I am asking really for my 16 yr old daughter. Our 22 yr old son has ADD dx. My husband has finally gotten diagnosis at age 56. We have another daughter who is 28 we believe has it. The 16yr old swears she doesn’t have it. We had her tested at Purdue University. The results were inconclusive. Not ruled out. But not definitive because she has no horrible grades and doesn’t cause disturbances at school. They only interviewed 1 teacher. I was never told which one. But when I told a teacher at a parent conference we were testing her said to me ” I could see that.” Funny you mention sensory issues. She is a sensory kid. We found out when she had PT from a surgery once. Many symptoms of these 2 dx overlap. I really just want everybody treated with the proper treatment. It seems to me a brain scan would do that. Is there no one in Indiana who could do this?????

    Comment by njwinningham@gmail.com — June 18, 2016 @ 3:11 PM

  11. I don’t know of any one doing scans in your area, but I highly recommend you contact Dr. Lise’ DeLong. She has excellent knowledge and will be helpful to you. I’ve known her for many years and know her work well.

    Comment by Karen Cochrane — June 19, 2016 @ 9:12 AM

  12. Also read and follow recommendations in “Healing ADD” by Amen. To take the test in the book to decide your type. Go online to danielamaenmd.com to take the brain fitness test to get started.

    I don’t know of any doctor in Brazil but you could contact Amen Clinic directly by email and ask.

    Comment by Karen Cochrane — June 19, 2016 @ 9:22 AM

  13. How can I find a therapist in Bergen County, NJ who specializes in treating older women with ADHD?

    Comment by CK — June 19, 2016 @ 6:18 PM

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