Question: What do ADHD, Conduct Disorder, and Smoking Have In Common?30 Jul


Answer: These kids are more likely to drop out of high school or delay high school graduation.

Teens with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) — the most common childhood psychiatric condition in the United States — are less likely to finish high school on time than students with other mental-health disorders that often are considered more serious, a large national study by researchers at the UC Davis School of Medicine has found. The study found that nearly one third of students with ADHD, twice the proportion as students with no psychiatric disorder, either drop out or delay high school graduation.

You can read the article from Science Daily here.

ADHD,ADHD Symptoms,Adult ADHD,Overwhelm

Why is my ADHD Life so Damn Hard?26 Jul

Dr. Richard Ferman, Robert Wilford, Ph.D. and Sarah Ferman, Psy.D., L.M.F.T.

Having treated thousands of people with ADHD, I find one question that comes up over and over again. That question is “Doc, why is my ADHD life so damn hard?” Now there are variations of this question, such as “I thought the medication would take care of all of this ADHD stuff” or “Shouldn’t I have outgrown all this?” This is when I remind my patients that ADHD is a life long condition.  It requires a lifetime of learning and managing from many different angles in order to be successful.  Just because we get some relief from our medication, we still will always have to battle against those three primary traits of ADHD we have been dealing with all of our lives.

The good news is you’re probably familiar with the “Big 3” ADHD traits.  You have just probably forgotten how they look when you are older.   Remember those of us with ADHD tend to be: 1) Impulsive, 2) Inattentive and/or 3) Hyperactive

If you think you are going to outgrow these traits, or they are going to disappear now that you are taking medication, that just is not the case for most of us with ADHD.  I usually find that most of what is making ADHD life hard falls into three categories:

Being too impulsive:

“The Inability to Hold back, or think before making a decision…”

-We tend to make quick decisions.  Later those quick decisions only come back to “haunt” us.

-We make quick decisions without giving ourselves adequate time to carefully consider the possible effects or results of our actions.

-We sometimes don’t think about the possible alternatives which could serve us better.

Inattentiveness or Zoning out of life:

“Difficulty staying present and focused on what is right in front of us…”

-Inattentiveness can cause us to act on a quick decision without taking adequate time to look at possible negative results of our quick decisions.

-To some people it looks like we “just don’t learn from our mistakes.”

-We tend to operate on the principle:  Ready – Fire – Aim!

If, all your life, you have been told that you underachieve, sometimes it just feels better to shoot the gun now and aim later. This is akin to “acting without thinking”.  So, we miss our designated target and set in motion, a series of results that we did not foresee and do not want. This is where our impulsivity, not paying attention to what is around us or thinking about other positive possibilities or options becomes really clear. Often those of us with ADHD prefer to just spring into action without thinking.  This causes us to miss out on other aspects of the situation. Not taking a minute to think about those other possibilities means we miss out on many less obvious options.  That is the rub about ADHD. We may have wished we could have taken the time to think things through, but without some sort of assistance, like that which medication and proper nutrition provide, that option is simply not a possibility.

Battling our own inner Hyperactivity

“That feeling that we just need to keep moving, or are driven by our own motor that just won’t turn off. “

-As kids, we ADHD hyperactive kids got into heaps of trouble for being so hyper and impulsive. We did not see ourselves as others saw us. We felt excessively criticized and put down for just being who we were. Inside we felt happy and “normal’, and in a rush. The constant criticism took its toll on our self-esteem. We saw others as “too slow”. We felt very unique, loving and happy, but often our teachers and parents did not appreciate us for who we felt we were.

-We tend to grow out of the gross, physical, hyperactivity.   This obvious hyperactivity changes into more fine motor hyperactivity: i.e., jiggling our legs, swinging one leg over the other, tapping or drumming etc.  Adult hyperactivity can evolve and make an appearance in a more subtle way such as blinking, raising eyebrows, shrugging our shoulders, etc.  It’s as if the childlike hyperactivity moves more into a feeling of inner restlessness.

This is what I remind myself and my patients to be reminded of anytime they ask the question “Doc, why is my life so hard?”  These core traits are part of the hardwiring of the ADHD brain.  They require monitoring and management even when you just want to give in and let everything in your already overwhelmed brain just fall apart.  Resist that urge, as it usually just makes things worse. Instead, there are things that we can do to offset these “Big 3” ADHD traits.  Here are just a few suggestions to help get your ADHD life back in control:

  1. Give yourself a break and expect to feel overwhelmed and plan for it. The question is not if you get overwhelmed, but when you get overwhelmed. If you know that it is just a natural part of a brain that is built like a Ferrari, then you can go easy on yourself.  Setbacks and misfires are just a part of what makes us human. Even people without ADHD feel overwhelmed sometimes. Give yourself a “get out of jail free card” every own and again. You might find it is just what the doctor ordered to help you stay on track.
  2. Get enough rest. Sounds simple, but those of us with ADHD know just how difficult this can be.  Your ADHD brain just needs all the energy it can get. A sleepy ADHD brain is a useless ADHD brain.  Try to limit the amount of stimulation you have the 2 hours before you go to bed. This means no heavy talks, no super activating television shows, or thought provoking discussions two (2) hours before bedtime.
  3. Eat enough protein!!  The same chemicals that your ADHD brain craves and gets in medication are made from the building blocks found in the protein you eat.  Without enough protein in your diet, all the medication in the world won’t help.
  4. Drink enough water. Did you know that people who are dehydrated actually look a lot like those of us with ADHD? Dehydration can really cause you to not be able to think clearly.  If you find yourself heating up during the day, or have a dry mouth, reach for the H2O. As much as soda and coffee may taste good, soda leaches precious calcium from your body and coffee actually dehydrates you. So remember to drink two waters for every soda or coffee you drink.
  5. Take your medication and your supplements. Many of us with ADHD think we are better or more free when we are off our medication. That may be how we “feel”, but that’s not usually the time when we make our best decisions and are in fact least effective.  If you are supposed to take medication or you are able to take supplements like Omega-3 fatty acids, do it! Omega -3 fatty acids really do impact the way in which our brains work. Anything that we can do to improve our ADHD brains is usually a good thing.

Next time you find yourself chasing after a life of what feels like out of control ADHD, remember that you can get control of your mind, and you can get control of your ADHD.  Take a minute and remember to keep an open mind. If something feels too extreme and out of balance—move on and look elsewhere. Find that place where your mind and your heart guide you to your best choices.

Take a moment to post a comment and tell me about how hard your ADHD life is and share any tips or strategies you found that have worked for you.

Till then—God bless.

ADHD,ADHD Symptoms,Adult ADHD

ADHD May Not Be Real in Teenagers and Seniors20 May

Before you assume that your inattention, lack of motivation and inability to stay focused are actually caused by Attention Deficit Disorder, you must first ask yourself about the quality and quantity of your sleep.  Insomnia or even a few nights of poor or too little sleep can be a serious problem.  Lack of sleep can lead to increased risk for depression and/or anxiety, substance abuse, and yes, symptoms that look like ADHD.

Of particular interest to me, as an ADHD Doctor, is the similarity in symptoms that ADHD and Insomnia have in common.  Both cause (more…)

ADHD,ADHD Symptoms,Adult ADHD,Time Management

ADHD Power Bursts: Miracles in 10 minutes or Less!11 May

Prorastinating, Putting off doing things, wasting time, etc. well try ADHD Power Bursts – Miracles in 10 minutes or Less!
For people with ADHD there is a very real sense of dread that comes over us when faced with a daunting or big task!! Today I looked at my messy home office today and thought to myself,  “I don’t know where to begin”, followed by,  “I will never be able to get that done!”.  Some people with ADHD steer that dread right into avoidance,  or disinterest.  It is as if something takes over my thinking, and before you know it, I am mesmorized by some small part of the task, and then it is two hours later and Im still no closer to getting started on the real task at hand”, says a friend of mine who also has ADHD. (more…)

ADHD,ADHD Children,Adult ADHD


Who can you be?

Don’t be put off achieving your destiny, even if you have experienced failure in your life.

This video mentions well known people who had failed, and kept pressing on until they became successful.
Click to watch >> Famous Failures

Tell us your dreams that are worth pressing on for…



“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”
–Alexander Graham Bell


How to Stop Losing Your Keys, Cell Phone & Wallet while at home05 Apr

“Late again!  The keys are no where to be found.  I’m already 20 minutes late for work.  I torn through the house, purses, briefcases, pockets, piles and still not keys. Getting more and more frustrated as time is passing.  I am now guaranteed to be late for work. I know I got in the house somehow last night and can’t remember what I did with the keys. I magically wonder if they grew legs (just maybe?-just kidding).  I’ve looked everywhere, and I know that they have to be here somewhere.  They just have to be here.  They didn’t grow legs.  Wherever I though I put them, they are hiding.  Another sweep through the house and I find them near the laundry. OMG – I’m 30 minutes late again.

Does this sound familiar.  Some of the most interesting places clients have found their keys are the laundry basket, in their underwear, in the freezer, in the refrigerator, in the kitchen cabinet, in a shoe, and in the trash.  It is so frustrating to not find the things that are so important to us; keys, wallet and cell phone.  These prize possessions are often left behind, whenever we leave the house.

Here are some tips and strategies on how to stop leaving your prize possessions are home.

Step 1 – Choose  a spot near your front door or in the front entrance hall.  One end of the table is a a good place or a key rack or counter.  A key rack can often be found in the kitchen and my friend likes to keep his key key rack in his hall closet. Personally, I keep my keeps on a ring with a hook that attaches to the inside of my purse. (Sometimes women like to keep there keys with there purse and their purse in the bedroom.  Same steps apply ladies.)

Step 2 – Clear off the special spot of all random other things that have collected there, such as paper, expired coupons and other clutter.

Step 3 – Place your wallet, keys and cell phone in this exact spot (some people like to use a decorative bowl for these items) and always set them there.  Do not just drop them wherever you happen to be standing or behind your bed  or under your desk.  When you walk in the front door, set the items in this spot or in the bowl, every single time.  If you walk around with your phone, put it back in that spot when you are done.

Step 4 – When you are ready to walk out the door the important things are ready for you.  It may take several tries to get used to doing this.

Step 5 – If you catch yourself setting them down in some random spot, quickly go place them in the right spot.  Remember that it takes 21-30 days to make a new habit.

Leave a comment and share with us where you have left your keys, cell phone or wallet.


Revealing the Source of Ritalin’s Brain Boosting Benefits09 Mar


Monday, March 08, 2010 by Emily Singer

The ADHD drug, Ritalin, improves attention by enhancing neural plasticity.

New research in animals sheds light on how Ritalin, the stimulant drug prescribed to millions of children each year in the United States for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), sheds light on how the drug works. The molecule appears to boost both attention and enhance the speed of learning by increasing the activity of the chemical messenger dopamine, according to new research inNature Neuroscience.

Rats given Ritalin were able to more quickly learn that a combination of signals–a flash of light and sound–meant they could get a sugar water reward. But if the rats were also given a drug to block one type of dopamine receptor, the effect was lost. Treated animals also focused more intently on the task at hand, engaging in less unrelated behavior. Another drug, designed to block a second type of dopamine receptor, blocked Ritalin’s ability to increase focus.

Researchers also found that drug-treated animals had enhanced neural plasticity, or changes in strength of the connections between nerve cells. The ability of our neural circuits to change strength in response to new information underlies our ability to learn.

“Since we now know that Ritalin improves behavior through two specific types of neurotransmitter receptors, the finding could help in the development of better targeted drugs, with fewer side effects, to increase focus and learning,” said Antonello Bonci, MD, principal investigator at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center and professor of neurology at UCSF, in a statement from the university. The Gallo Center is affiliated with the UCSF Department of Neurology.

While Ritalin is mostly prescribed for children with ADHD, it also boosts cognitive function in healthy people. A number of studies suggest that a growing number of healthy adults and teens are taking Ritalin and similar drugs to aid in studying or work performance.




Young men with early or heavy use of Marijuana appear to have a 70% greater risk of Testicular Cancer.  This risk is even higher the younger the age of first use.

Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research center in Seattle found an association with Nonseminoma, a fast growing and aggressive subtype of testicular cancer.  Of all testicular cancer, 40% is Nonseminoma and the rest are slower growing.

It appears that hormonal changes during puberty make young men more vulnerable.  The findings were independent of other known risk factors, such as family history, cigarette smoking and alcohol use.  It appears that the testes, like the brain, have receptors for tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the chemical component of marijuana.

I found this information very interesting.  In our center, we have seen so many young people with ADHD attempt to self-medicate with Marijuana.  It appears the dangers of Marijuana are greater than we initially understood.



For many years people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have struggled with the negative way in which the name presents the condition.  The current label for ADHD includes both the terms Deficit and Disorder. We asked some of our online friends the question “What is a good analogy to use to describe the creative chaos of the ADHD mind to neuro-typical people?  Here are a few of the responses we received:

“A friend of mine calls it “Eclectic Free-Ranging Focus”, not liking the pejorative sound of the words “deficit” and “disorder”. I kind of like that….”

“Extra thinkers. Thinkers plus? Bonus thinkers.”


“I like Attention-Surplus…because nobody can focus like and ADHD’er (when we are interested!)

IF you have another name for ADHD or another analogy or metaphor for how you think of ADHD we would love to hear about it. So please take a minute and post your best ADHD analogy and share it with all of our blog readers.


Ways to Manage ADHD Stress During the Holidays28 Dec

Robert Wilford, Ph.D. and Sarah Ferman, Psy.D., L.M.F.T.

There are two distinct conditions being discussed here. ADHD is one and stress is the other. Both are fairly easy to define and if you are a parent with a child who has ADHD it’s probably fair to say you know a bit about stress. The problem here though is that dealing with ADHD can be a tough task at the best of times, so if you throw stress into the mix, that task just got tougher.

Then, if all that is not hard enough, you add an extra ingredient of the holidays. Travel, visiting folks, having folks visit you, cooking, more cooking, the weather and all these things may make your stress levels soar to new heights. Stress has a way of upsetting the sufferer in many little and large ways. If you are stressed you will not sleep well, you may lose your appetite, you may feel like giving up and are likely to pick up colds and headaches more easily. It’s wise to get rid of stress.

So what else do we know? We know what usually happens during the holidays and even what may happen. So you are forewarned in that area. So we know about your ADHD child, you know about your spouse, you know about the holidays and you know that ball will suffer if you suffer from stress. But it is really possible to reduce or even remove your stress. And that simply has to happen because, let’s face it, a hyperactive child, or overzealous spouse plus the holidays do not need you suffering from stress. Simple. Get rid of the stress or the things which create the stress.

Here are some ways to do just that. Meditation. Now some people react to this idea with scorn and derision. It’s a waste of time, it doesn’t work and I’ll make a fool of myself. And those sorts of comments are usually from someone who has never tried meditation or never been serious in trying it. There are different philosophies and approaches to meditation but it all boils down to you stopping, being still in a quiet place and not doing anything other than relax. That in itself is a big help. For someone who is constantly on the go, constantly looking out for your ADHD child or spouse, putting on the brakes and doing nothing is good for your body, mind and soul. Make it for five minutes every day. Try it for ten minutes. It could mean the removal of your stress. Studies have shown that sitting doing nothing for 30 minutes a day, reduces cholesterol significantly and improves heart functioning. Imagine what a few minutes each day can do for you.

Then there’s logic. This involves you taking out a pad and pen and writing down, one topic at a time, the thing which is causing your stress. Don’t tackle more than one issue at a time or else you will become stressed. How ironical is that?

So let’s say you are behind in your study program. Your latest assignment is due and you haven’t found the time to do the necessary work. Just writing it down is helpful in itself. Then you need to list why this situation has arisen. Why are you behind? Well, obviously it’s because you are busy with other things, many of them essential. And once again, writing down the reasons is helpful in itself. And, now you must make a decision. List the way or ways you can find time to complete your work. Now that you have a plan, follow through, one step at a time. And presto, you feel better already.

Leave us a comment on how you handle Stress…

ADHD,ADHD Children,ADHD Parents

Managing Kids with ADHD during the Holidays17 Dec

Sarah Ferman, Psy.D., L.M.F.T.

The holidays create a special and different time for each of us. For kids they are special, and for kids with ADHD they are different, special and much, much more. As a parent of a child with ADD/ADHD you can make life easier for your child and certainly for yourself, if you take certain steps. They are not difficult, they may take a little time and may cost a bit of money [or may cost nothing at all], and they can pay dividends in the form of relaxation and a real good holiday.

The first step is to be aware that the holiday, even one spent at home, will make for a change in the life of your child. Most kids with ADHD don’t react well to change. It may make your kids behavior even more demonstrative. So know this fact; you have to prepare. Prepare yourself, prepare your child and prepare for your journey and your destination.

So let’s consider your child. Take away the surprise element and build on the anticipation aspect. Let your child in on most of the plan, if not everything, which is likely to happen. If they are going to travel, go through the rigmarole of the journey. If it’s by car, plane or train, take out a map and show your child the route. You could use a large piece of blank paper and do simple things like draw your house, draw Grandma’s house and draw the road. Let your child help. Let them have a cut out picture of your car and have the child ‘drive’ the car along the map. If there are stopping points en route, draw or cut out pictures for the McDonalds, restaurant, hotel, etc. as the place you plan to stop for a meal, toilet break, etc. The whole emphasis is on preparing your child for what is going to happen or is likely to happen. Remember the activity needs to be age appropriate. As an example, younger kids may work with crayons and paste, while older kids may prefer to put their project together on the computer.

Next, you will want to prepare your child for what will happen at your destination. If it’s a motel, explain the room, where the child will sleep, where they can play games, etc.  If it’s Grandma’s house, show your child a photo of their room, of the house and garden. Explain where the child can play, who will be in the house and anything likely to happen on the vacation.

Then there’s the actual journey.  Have plenty of ‘quiet’ activities at hand, so your child can have things to do. It might be following a homemade map, ticking off things they can see out the window, a handheld digital game, listening to a CD or MP3 player, and/or watching a video/DVD on a portable player.

So, preparation is the real key. Have a variety of activities planned and once the holiday is under way and your child behaves in an acceptable way, reward them frequently for their good behavior.  It is the best present at holiday time to give to your child; your thanks and love in recognition of their successful attitude, good behavior and achievement. A hug, a kiss and kind appreciative words (positive attention) are the best forms of reward and can carry the most significance.

Remember a child with ADHD loves security, attention and routine. You can decide if the attention they get is going to be positive or negative. If you change the routine as a result of a holiday, you need to take certain steps to help your child and yourself so that you both can have a fantastic time.

Do you have tips to manage kids with ADHD during the holidays?  Please share your tips by adding your comment on this blog.


Pharmacy Shame and Adult ADHD16 Dec

Robert Wilford, Ph.D. and Sarah Ferman, Psy.D., L.M.F.T.

At first, the pharmacy tech was all smiles when she took my prescription and went to check if they had the medication on hand.  Then it started, “Oh really, it says here twice a day – I think that is too much.” “Oh yes, I will have to do some checking. Oh no, No- I don’t think that is o.k.” “This is for you?” she said surprisingly, with a scrunched face of disbelief on her forehead. “We will need to call and speak to the doctor, to make sure he knows about this dose for sure.”  “We can not fill this for you, without first consulting the doctor. You will have to come back tomorrow.”   I told her that I had just been to my psychiatrist, a 30 year Specialist in ADHD, and Yes, he did prescribe 1-2 capsules per day, and yes I was a high metabolizer, and yes that dose was what my licensed psychiatrist believed was required to provide relief from my ADHD symptoms.

“Still no, no, I will have to speak with him.  After all  this ADHD is still (more…)

ADHD,ADHD Children,ADHD Symptoms,Adult ADHD,Time Management

Adults ADHD in California – Being Late is one of the chief complaints of Adults with ADHD17 Nov

Sarah Ferman, Psy.D., L.M.F.T.

Adults ADHD in California – what is the main complaint?

Attention Disorder Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is believed to affect about 8% of children and about a half of these sufferers will continue with the disorder when they grow into adults. So ADHD is a significant part of the life of millions of people and of course their disorder will impact on their family, friends, teachers, fellow workers, etc.

In recent years rapid progress has been made particularly in dealing with adults who have ADHD. Professionals are better at diagnosis, understanding the full spectrum of the disorder, as well as treatments be it with medication, psychotherapy, coaching or other alternatives.

With adults, one of the major signs of their disorder is their inability to (more…)

ADHD,ADHD Children,Adult ADHD,Time Management

ADHD Symptoms Los Angeles – ADHD Brain has difficulty understanding how long things take in life12 Nov

Sarah Ferman, Psy.D., L.M.F.T.

ADHD Symptoms
The ADHD brain has problems doing all sorts of things and we’ve really only just starting to find this out. The ability of scientists such as neurologists and neuroscientists to take photos of the human brain and then analyze what is happening, means we are better able to discuss, define and treat people with ADHD.

The brain is divided into sections and one of these is known as the pre-frontal cortex. Photo imaging or a kind of x-ray of the brain shows that there are (more…)


Just been diagnosed with ADHD – Now What?22 Oct

Getting diagnosed with ADHD can be a confusing thing to handle. For many people it is a combination of relief and regret. Finding someone who knows and understands your type of ADHD is crucial.

The diagnosis of ADHD is a mixed blessing for most. It often explains years of missed deadlines, unopened mail, and interpersonal difficulties. The good news is that 70% of people respond well to medication and see a decrease in symptoms in a short time. What is difficult is that “pills don’t teach skills”. Medication is only (more…)



“The more intensely we feel about an idea or a goal, the more assuredly the idea, buried deep in our subconscious, will direct us along the path to its fullfillment.” — Earl Nightingale



“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” — Henry Ford


Genes Responsible for ADHD Identified04 Jul


Once again the myth that ADHD does not exist is busted…..

By Redaksi Web
Harian Global — Published: Saturday, 04 July 2009

Hundreds of variations in genes which more frequently occur among attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) sufferers have been identified by researchers, many of which were known about previously as crucial for behavior and learning.

The variations seen have a broader impact on DNA structure, involving copy number variations (CNVs) which involve repeated or missing stretches of DNA. Many diseases, including schizophrenia and autism, are known to involve CNVs.

Psychiatrist Josephine Elia, M.D., said: “Because the gene alterations we found are involved in the development of the nervous system, they may eventually guide researchers to better targets in designing early intervention for children with ADHD.”



iStock_000000296911XSmallHaving a physical illness can cause one to feel “down” or sad.  When the sadness is severe or long lasting, there may be an unrecognized link.  We call such a link clinical depression co-occurring with a medical condition.  Clinical depression is estimated to occur in up to one-third of medically ill people.

Depression and medical/physical illness may occur together for different reasons: (more…)


Most medical doctors who treat ADD/ADHD do so as part of a larger practice. ADHD Specialists focuses primarily on only treating ADD and related conditions. This intense focus allows us to continually sharpen our clinical skills, attend specialized training, utilize the latest therapies, and build our process to meet the specific needs of our clients.

Often medical, testing and counseling services are all separately owned and located practices. It just does not make sense to have to travel from one location to another to treat the same condition. Besides the issue of time and travel, how cohesive and effective is care being delivered in multiple locations by multiple, unrelated providers who don’t have time to talk to each other?

We Are Conveniently Located

in the Northern area of Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, in the City of Encino, near the 405 and 101 freeway interchange.
15720 Ventura Blvd. #503

Encino, CA 91436
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