ADHD: Mental Disorders and the Forgotten Children

When it comes to mental disorders, 10% of our children are falling through the cracks.

There are roughly 315 million people in the US with 1/4th of the population under the age of 18 (About 78 million children). 1/5th of those have a mental disorder (about 15 million) and 1/2 of children with mental disorders will never receive help (about 7.5 million) – that’s 10% of children and 2.5% of the population.

Forgotten Children

Childhood mental disorders can include:

Major Depressive Disorder
Bipolar Disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Separation Anxiety Disorder
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Social Phobia
Specific Phobia

These disorders in children can lead in adulthood to:

Substance use, abuse, or dependence
Sexual risk-taking behavior
Criminal behavior
Poor coping and social skills

Percent of children ages 3-17 who currently have a mental disorder:

6.8% 4,188,000
Behavioral or conduct problems
3.5% 2,156,000
3.0% 1,848,000
2.1% 1,293,000
Autism spectrum disorders
1.1% 678,000
Tourette syndrome
0.2% 99,000
Illicit drug use disorder
4.7% 1,155,000
Alcohol use disorder
4.2% 1,028,000
Cigarette dependence
2.8% 691,000

An estimated 40% of children with mental disorders have more than one.

Mental disorders are among the most costly conditions to treat in children. The cost of mental disorders among persons under aged 24 in the U.S. is $247 billion. (including health care, use of services such as special education and juvenile justice, and decreased productivity)


4-6%: percentage of the U.S. population with ADHD.
2-5% adults
3-7% children estimated to have ADHD / 8-10% for school aged children
There is a 25-35% chance of having ADHD if a family member has it, compared to 4-6% without a family history.

Overlooked Adults

• 1/2 – 2/3 of children with ADHD continue to have symptoms into adulthood.
• 50% of the doctors said they do not feel confident in diagnosing ADHD in adults, here’s why…
• Adults consider their problems to be the result of character flaws.
• Patients who live with AD/HD or ODD tend to assume that it is normal.
• Many people presume that ADHD is a male disorder in childhood.
• Everyone exhibits some of these symptoms some of the time.

Overlooked Girls

• Boys are 3x more likely to be diagnosed than girls.
• Men are 2x more likely to be diagnosed than women.
• Females are more likely to go undiagnosed because…
• ADD is still presumed to be a male disorder
• Girls are more likely than boys to suffer from inattentive ADHD, which includes poor attention to
detail, limited attention span, forgetfulness, distractibility, and failure to finish assigned activities.
• Boys are more likely to have Hyperactivity-Impulsivity ADHD
• Girls exhibit hyperactivity differently than boys: a boy might shout, tap his feet or bang things
while a girl might just talk a lot.
• Thus, disruptive boys are noticed for evaluation before ‘chatty’ or inattentive girls.

Overlooked Children

• Symptoms of ADHD are often mistaken for other behavioral disorders.
• 50% of children with ADHD also exhibit negative, hostile and defiant behavior
• 40% of children with ADHD also exhibit destructiveness and aggression towards people and animals.
• 25% of children with ADHD also experience anxiety, depression, and some type of communication/learning disability.

Debunking myths about child mental health is key:

MYTH: A child with a psychiatric disorder is damaged for life.
Truth: A psychiatric disorder is by no means an indication of a child’s potential for future happiness and fulfillment. Early intervention can help.

MYTH: Psychiatric problems result from personal weakness.
Truth: It can be difficult to separate the symptoms of a child’s psychiatric disorder from a child’s character. A psychiatric disorder is an illness not a personal flaw, just like diabetes or leukemia.

MYTH: Psychiatric disorders result from bad parenting.
Truth: Parenting isn’t to blame. Anxiety, depression, and learning disorders often have biological causes.

MYTH: A child can manage a psychiatric disorder through willpower.
Truth: A disorder is not mild anxiety or a change in mood. Some parents resist mental health services for their children because they fear the stigma attached to diagnoses, or they don’t want their kids dependent on psychiatric drugs.

MYTH: Therapy for kids is a waste of time.
Truth: Research has shown that treatment interventions have the best results during the first few years when symptoms of psychiatric disorders appear.

MYTH: Children are over-medicated.
Truth: Skilled psychiatrists use great caution when deciding on a treatment plan that includes medication, which usually involves behavioral therapy. Medication is not the norm. Only 5% of children with psychiatric issues take medication.

MYTH: Children grow out of mental health problems.
Truth: Children are less likely to “grow out” of psychiatric disorders than they are to “grow in” to more disability.

Teen Depression, ADHD and Parenting

It is true – most parents are aware of ADD/ADHD from the time their child is a toddler and someone is making statements about your child being possibly ADD/ADHD.  It is a label that is used quite frequently, and as a parent of an ADHD son, I am familiar with it.  However, I do believe it is over-used too.  A new study is linking ADHD with adolescent depression.  This is a very interesting article that Connect with Kids just posted.

Source: Connect with Kids


“I try to do something, but I can’t because of the ADD, and it frustrates me. Then that makes me very nervous and anxious and that goes to the anxiety. And then when I get like that, I’ll go ‘Oh my god! I can’t do anything! I can’t do anything!’ And that leads to the depression.”
– Ariel, 20 

New research published in the Archives of General Psychiatry shows that children with ADHD are at an increased risk for depression and suicidal thoughts — and very well may need treatment for both. This reinforces the belief that parents and educators of even young children with ADHD should pay close attention to their child’s behavior.

Twenty-year-old Ariel has been living both with anxiety and depression since the eighth grade. She says, “It got so bad where I just slept all day, I didn’t get out of bed, I didn’t do anything.”

That is in addition to attention deficit disorder. Ariel says, “I was already upset and depressed about the fact that I had ADD and had to take medications for that. When I found out I had two more things, I was like, ‘Oh my God! What’s going on?’”

Research from Harvard University shows girls with attention deficit are 19 times more likely to be depressed…and 15 times more likely to have bi-polar disorder than other girls.

Dr. Richard Winer, an Atlanta-area psychiatrist, says, “There is a very high likelihood that there will be something else besides ADHD going on, probably at least a 70 percent chance if not more.”

Why is one person so likely to have several disorders? Researchers say the conditions are genetically linked…and tend to aggravate each other.

Ariel says, “I try to do something, but I can’t because of the ADD, and it frustrates me. Then that makes me very nervous and anxious and that goes to the anxiety. And then when I get like that, I’ll go ‘Oh my god! I can’t do anything! I can’t do anything!’ And that leads to the depression.”

Experts say girls like Ariel often need one medication for ADHD and another for depression.

Dr. Winer says, “I generally will try to treat ADHD first if I think there is also mild to moderate depression alongside. If the depression appears to be extremely severe in nature, then that takes precedence over treating ADHD in terms of what do you treat first.”

Ariel often skips her medication. She says it’s a crutch, but it does work. Her mom Arlene says, “She started taking some anti-depressants, and all of a sudden she was back to the way she had been six months earlier.”
Another study out of Harvard University shows boys with ADHD are also at risk for having another mental health problem, but the statistics are slightly less dramatic than they are for girls.

What We Need To Know

Many parents seem to be ignoring medical advice when it comes to treating their child’s attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A study conducted at New York University reveals that of 500 parents whose children have ADHD, 45 percent say behavioral therapy has been recommended, but less than one-quarter (21 percent) say that their child actually participates in it. In addition, 89 percent of parents with an ADHD child say medication has been prescribed for their child to help manage symptoms, but only 55 percent report their child is taking medication.

The study also included the following findings:

  • More than twice as many parents of children with ADHD (43 percent) than parents of children without ADHD (18 percent) believe their child is likely to be picked on at school.
  • Nearly half (49 percent) of parents of ADHD children say their child is likely to have difficulty getting along with other neighborhood children (compared to 18 percent of parents of children without ADHD).
  • Seventy-two percent of parents of ADHD children report their child has trouble getting along with siblings or other family members, compared to 53 percent of parents of children without ADHD.
  • Less than half (48 percent) of parents of children with ADHD say their child adapts easily to new situations, compared to 84 percent of parents of children without ADHD.
  • According to their parents, children with ADHD are half as likely to have many good friends (18 percent vs. 36 percent) and are less likely to play with a group of friends (38 percent vs. 50 percent), compared to children without ADHD.

If you believe your child may have ADHD, keep an eye out for the following symptoms listed by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry:

  • Has trouble paying attention
  • Shows no attention to details and makes careless mistakes
  • Easily distracted
  • Loses school supplies and forgets to turn in homework
  • Has trouble finishing class work and homework
  • Has trouble listening
  • Has trouble following multiple adult commands
  • Blurts out answers
  • Demonstrates impatience
  • Fidgets or squirms
  • Leaves seat and runs about or climbs excessively
  • Seems “on the go”
  • Talks too much and has difficulty playing quietly
  • Interrupts or intrudes on others

Depression is not limited to kids with ADHD, although having ADHD may lead to depression in some cases. According to the Mental Health America, depression among teenagers is increasing at “an alarming rate.” Experts say as many as one in five teens suffers from clinical depression at some time during their teenage years. Depression can take several forms, including bipolar disorder (formerly known as manic depression). Depression can be difficult to diagnose in teens because adults often expect teens to be moody, and they often are. But depression is more than typical moodiness.
The following symptoms may indicate depression, particularly when they last for more than two weeks:

  • Poor performance in school
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
  • Sadness and hopelessness
  • Lack of enthusiasm, energy or motivation
  • Anger and rage
  • Overreaction to criticism
  • Feelings of being unable to satisfy ideals
  • Poor self-esteem or guilt
  • Indecision, lack of concentration or forgetfulness
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Substance abuse
  • Problems with authority
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions

It is extremely important that depressed teens receive prompt, professional treatment. Depression is serious and, if left untreated, can worsen to the point of becoming life threatening. If depressed teens refuse treatment, it may be necessary for family members or other concerned adults to seek professional advice. Contact your local mental health association or a school counselor for suggestions on treatment.
Some of the most common and effective ways to treat depression in adolescents are:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy – Helps teens change negative patterns of thinking and behaving; several studies support the effectiveness of this treatment
  • Psychotherapy – Provides teens an opportunity to explore events and feelings that are painful or troubling to them; psychotherapy also teaches them coping skills
  • Interpersonal therapy – Focuses on how to develop healthier relationships at home and at school
  • Medication – Relieves some symptoms of depression and is often prescribed along with therapy


Struggling Teens – Defiant Teens: Teen Help

We have found that children that have ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder) are very confrontational and need to have life their own way. A child does not have to be diagnosed ODD to be defiant. It is a trait that some teens experience through their puberty years. Defiant teens, disrespectful teens, angry teens and rebellious teens can affect the entire family.

An effective way to work with defiant teens is through anger and stress management classes. If you have a local therapist*, ask them if they offer these classes. Most will have them along with support groups and other beneficial classes. In today’s teens we are seeing that defiant teens have taken it to a new level. Especially if your child is also ADD/ADHD, the ODD combination can literally pull a family apart.

You will find yourself wondering what you ever did to deserve the way your child is treating you. It is very sad, yet very real. Please know that many families are experiencing this feeling of destruction within their home. Many wonder “why” and unfortunately each child is different with a variety of issues they are dealing with. Once a child is placed into proper treatment, the healing process can begin.

If you feel your teen is in need of further Boarding School, Military School or Program Options, please complete our Information Request Form.


Sue Scheff: Teen Entrepreneur Helping ADHD and Autistic Kids Through Love and Horses!

Danielleherb3Danielle Herb (also known as The Horse Listener), 15, is a young social entrepreneur on a mission to improve the lives of 1,000,000 ADD/ADHD and Autistic children. The first item on her agenda is to raise $50,000 by Oct 1, 2009 to secure a world class training facility in Ocala, FL where she will be able to provide free horse therapy to kids.

The rapid growth and expansion of Danielle’s company has been inhibited by her current geographic location, which lacks accessibility. Nicknamed “The Horse Capital of the World,” Ocala lends itself to being the perfect location for Danielle to give and receive support, as well as to set up alliances and collaborate with other equine facilities.

Danielle is asking for your support via a private donation of any amount at or the promotion or purchase of “Awaken the Social Capital in Your Business 10 Week Course”, from which 100% of proceeds will be donated to her cause.

Danielle is the author of the forthcoming book, Drop Your Reins: Peaceful Transformation Techniques for ADD/ADHD and Autisic Children Through Natural Horsemanship.

Take 7 minutes of your time to get to know Danielle Herb.  Feel her passion, hear her devotion, and experience her dedication to create a better world for millions of children today. WATCH VIDEO NOW.

Horses are amazing because they are sentient animals that mirror our personalities as well as our fears. -Danielle Herb

For more info: Contact Marianne St. Claire.  You can follow Danielle Herb on Twitter and join her Facebook Fan Page.

Also on

Sue Scheff: Can you Get Along with Your Teenager?

Since being introduced to The Kids Awareness Series, I have discovered great articles in and information for parents of teens today.  It is not just limited to teens and has extensive information on ADD/ADHD/ODD and other labels that we hear about in kids today.  I recently read one of the books in the Kids Awareness Series, Understanding My ADHD, which is for young kids.  I passed it on to my 10 year old neice who quietly enjoyed it.

Here is one of the articles I feel can help parents with teens can benefit from.

KidsAwarenessCan You Get  Along with Your Teenager?

By Kara Tamanini

Of course the number one problem in getting along with your teenager is the inability to communicate with each other.  The first thing that needs to be done is to improve the steps in order to talk with your teenager.  Before you begin to have a discussion about anything with your teenager son or daughter, first agree on a few simple ground rules.  If the ground rules can not be agreed upon, than most likely the discussion will go nowhere.  Here are some simple rules in having a discussion or communicating with your teenager:

1.) Please, please remain calm.  Nothing ever gets solved by yelling or through anger.  Take an interest in what your teenager is saying.  There is nothing more aggravating to a teenager than feeling that their parents are “blowing them off”, I hear that all that time as a therapist.  Teenagers will tell me, “my parents think they know everything, they don’t even care what I think or feel.” 

2.) Listen to each other.  If both of you are talking at once and continually interrupt each other, then nothing will get fixed. 

3.) If the problem is a big one, then don’t try to fix the problem in just one discussion, sometimes it will take a number of discussions to fix the problem.

4.)  The discussions have to be a give and take between the parties and remember that no one will win here.  Nobody ever wins in a disagreement, compromise is the best solution.

5.) If you notice that one or both of you is getting increasingly angry or frustrated, then take a break and try your discussion later on.

Problem-solving takes these steps:

First, we define what the problem is and we have to agree upon this.  Be on the same page, otherwise you and your teenager may end up not even talking about the same thing.  Between the two of you, come up with some possible solutions.  Both of you need to be reasonable here.  Evaluate all of your solutions and come up with the best one that will work for the both of you.  Lastly, come up with a plan or course of action to the selected solution.  Solutions mean nothing if you don’t implement it and then continue to follow through.

Read more from Kara Tamanini at

Sue Scheff: Power Moms Unite

Where were these great websites, articles, information and more when I was raising my ADHD son?  Well, in my defense, the Internet was not the wealth of information it is today that it was 20 years ago.  Parents are fortunate today there is so much information, research, parent networking and more today.  PowerMomsUnite is a fantastic website that has some articles, that as a parent of can ADHD child, can relate to and learn from.


What is a Power Mom?

Power Moms are moms working to successfully balance the needs of child, family, and self. Some work outside the home, balancing a career with the needs of their child, family and personal self. Other moms are working from home, managing families while managing a small home-based business or managing large families and a homeschool. There are a wide range of us- all power moms- looking to do our best at our many hats as mom- be that nuturer, coach, educator, cheerleader, psychologist, disciplinarian, party arranger, role-model, etc. The roles are vast and numerous, the balance often difficult to strike. This site hopes to empower these moms by providing timely, valuable and informative resources for celebrating family life and successfully managing ADHD.

Learn more at

Sue Scheff: ADHD Summer Program

danielleherb2CHEERS means: Children Horses Emotional Enrichment Ranch/Stable

Welcome to Northern Florida, beautiful and full of fun and sun!  CHEERS Ranch and Danielle Herb  have come together to offer an educational and fantastic program in the month of June.

Danielle Herb is coming to CHEERS Ranch do 2 clinic’s in June with her program – ” Autism Day” June 25-26th and “DropYourReins

WHAT: The ADHD Horse Level 1 Master Class is an exciting new weeklong program developed by Danielle Herb and Drop Your Reins to help you manage your ADD/ADHD using natural techniques and without the need for prescription drugs.

WHO: Children Diagnosed with ADHD/ADD Aged 10-16

Contact Danille for more information at or

WHEN: June 21-28, 2009