ADHD and Anger: What’s the Relationship?

Anger is something we all feel and experience from time to time. Our response to it differs from person to person and depends on the situation. It is not necessarily wrong to feel angry. While most people might have the ability to respond to anger in healthy and appropriate ways, those struggling with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) have a harder time. Though not everyone experiences ADHD and anger concurrently, it is common.

Signs of ADHD and anger

  • Impatience.
  • Angry outburst.
  • Tantrums in children.
  • Irritability.
  • Lack of emotional regulation.
  • Defiant behavior.
  • Mood swings.
  • Relationship difficulties.

What can cause anger in people with ADHD?

For people with ADHD, anger can be experienced more intensely and thus interfere with day-to-day living. This is why it is important to understand the relationship between anger and ADHD as understanding aids in empowering those who struggle with it to minimize its impact on normal life.

Poor impulse control.

Executive functioning is responsible for skills like problem-solving, planning, and the brain’s ability to regulate emotions. The executive functioning of people who struggle with ADHD has been weakened resulting in their inability to self-regulate when triggered. This results in angry outbursts/temper tantrums or disproportionate emotional responses to situations.


For those that have been put on medication as one of the ways to treat ADHD, sometimes the medication might have side effects that can cause high levels of irritability resulting in anger. An example is stimulants given to children.


People with ADHD can suffer from constant frustration, especially if they have hyperactivity symptoms. Anything that hinders them from quickly moving on to the next thing can be highly frustrating, like standing in a line that’s seemingly not moving and this can lead to anger. They have a low tolerance for boredom.


Most people who struggle with ADHD also struggle with impulsivity. This is taking action or reacting without thinking through consequences. Their anger comes as a result of not being able to take a step back yet again and suffering through the consequences.

Dealing with symptoms.

ADHD comes with a myriad of symptoms that make life difficult. This inability to function normally can be a huge strain and thus cause individuals to be angry with their situation and impatient with recovery.

Other comorbidities.

Most patients diagnosed with ADHD have co-existing conditions they have to contend with. These conditions could vary from mood disorders, anxiety disorders, depression, or behavioral disorders like Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). Any of these co-existing conditions can exacerbate feelings of frustration and anger.

Relationship difficulties.

ADHD can impair how someone relates to the world around them and how they relate to society in general. Relationship difficulties can also provoke anger in those who struggle with ADHD since they also struggle with conflict management skills, empathy, or emotional stability, all of which are important for building and maintaining relationships. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and rejection, which can cause anger and depression.

Stress and anxiety.

Having ADHD while trying to live life can be stressful and anxiety-inducing, This means that one is always on edge and easily irritated or triggered by the slightest inconvenience.

ADHD can also sometimes interfere with someone’s ability to plan and manage time. This means that they constantly miss deadlines which can be frustrating. They become angry with themselves and sometimes lash out.

Low self-esteem.

Low self-esteem for those struggling with ADHD can be due to feelings of rejection that are a result of difficulties in building relationships. In children, their inability to keep up with children of the same age as a result of their condition can contribute to them looking down on themselves. Feeling trapped by something they feel disempowered to control or change can be a source of frustration and anger.

Anger management for those with ADHD

As mentioned earlier, not everyone who has ADHD struggles with anger. However, for those who do, there is hope. There are treatment methods or a combination of treatments that can assist those who struggle with anger as a result of ADHD. Below are some examples:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
  • Medication.
  • Anger management classes.
  • Social skills therapy.
  • Individual counseling.
  • Behavioral therapy.
  • Support groups.
  • Parental and teacher training (for support).

Next steps

ADHD is a condition that can be treated and managed with the right help. If you suspect that you or someone you love might be struggling with it and need help, do get in touch with us at Newport Beach Christian Counseling. We have trained therapists and counselors who can help you start this journey.

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Is Adult ADHD Affecting Your Work?

We hear a lot about children with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), but what happens when these children grow up? Unfortunately, over half of children with ADHD carry their symptoms into adulthood. They now have to face the challenges and responsibilities of adult life while dealing with restlessness, difficulty concentrating, and a tendency to be disorganized.

Adults with ADHD may need professional help to better understand and manage their symptoms and their challenges. Most can benefit from therapy that integrates psychological, spiritual and practical support. The Bible is a great source of wisdom, giving comfort, guidance, and practical advice for those suffering from ADHD.

Do you feel like you’re drowning at work?

Adult ADHD creates problems with keeping up with the pace and completing projects at work. Adults with ADHD may be chronically late to work, to meetings or in fulfilling deadlines, they have trouble concentrating, they are forgetful and have poor organizational skills, they procrastinate a lot, and often have low motivation.

As you can imagine, these issues can seriously hinder job productivity. If you have ADHD, you probably feel overwhelmed with your work load, feeling as if you’ll never catch up. The anxiety this brings on makes it even harder to focus at work.

Is your career stalling out?

Adults with ADHD also have emotional and psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression, anger, impulsiveness, low self-esteem, mood swings, and an inability to deal with frustration. As you might imagine, this can lead to conflicts with colleagues and superiors.

The symptoms of ADHD can make it difficult to handle complex projects or to stay on task, which leads to poor job performance. Emotional and social issues make matters worse, and adults with ADHD often get passed over for promotions. Because they are impulsive, adults with ADHD may frequently change jobs or careers, attempting to find a place that is a good fit and trying to get ahead in their career.

Is it possible to have a successful career with Adult ADHD?

The good news, if you’re an adult with ADHD, is that coping skills can enable you to focus on tasks at work, relate well with your colleagues, and stay organized and motivated.

Let’s take a look at:

  • some of the specific challenges that adults with ADHD face at work,
  • some coping mechanisms to enable you to overcome these challenges,
  • how counseling and medication might help,
  • whether or not you should tell your boss, and,
  • how to put your strengths to play in choosing a career that’s a good fit for you.

What specific challenges do adults with ADHD face at work?

Most individuals with ADHD have impairment in executive function. Executive functioning takes place in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, and gives the ability to analyze, plan, and organize tasks. If a person has an impairment in executive functioning, they will have trouble self-monitoring and staying on task.

In the workplace, adults with executive function disorder have problems with organizing projects and setting schedules to meet deadlines. They tend to misplace papers and reports and fail to keep track of what they’re doing. Sometimes they’re able to be highly productive, but other times they get lost in a haze of distraction.

In the workplace, adults with ADHD can display the following symptoms:

  • Easily distracted by stimuli in the environment, such as bright lights, people moving around or talking, or a cluttered desk
  • Internal distractions, such as daydreaming, racing thoughts, creative ideas popping in one’s head not related to the task at hand
  • Low frustration threshold – getting angry about small annoyances
  • Impulsivity (such as blurting something inappropriate out before thinking or doing something on a whim without thinking through the consequences)
  • Difficulty sitting still
  • Memory issues – forgetting deadlines, missing appointments, forgetting important details
  • Easily becoming bored, making it hard to pay attention in meetings or to listen to what a colleague is saying
  • Poor time management skills
  • Procrastination – difficulty completing tasks and meeting deadlines
  • Poor organizational skills – such as a messy desk and flawed filing system – making it easy to lose things or overlook work that needs to be done

How can the adult with ADHD succeed in the workplace?

Many adults with ADHD do achieve success in their careers by a three-pronged approach:

  • Medication – usually a stimulant
  • Counseling – to design strategies to manage symptoms
  • Coping skills – practical behaviors to keep organized and focused

If you meet with a counselor, you will probably first discuss and explore specific issues at work due to ADHD. Your counselor will then help you come up with coping skills so ADHD symptoms aren’t playing havoc with your career. These coping skills will empower you to manage issues with distractions, scheduling, planning, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

Practical Coping Skills

  • If you get easily distracted by your colleagues’ movement and noise, try coming into work at times when not many people are in the office or try working from home.
  • Other ways to deal with distractions from colleagues include having a private office or even a “cubby hole,” or finding an unused meeting room to work in.
  • If you have an impending deadline, don’t answer calls (if permitted) and put up a “do not disturb” sign. Try earplugs to block sounds.
  • Eliminate visual distractions by keeping your desktop clear of everything except the project you’re currently working on. Face your desk toward the wall, and keep that wall clear.
  • Organize your work area and keep it tidy. An organized environment encourages an organized mind. Have a place for everything and everything in its place. Have a logical filing system. Take five minutes at the beginning and end of each day to tidy and organize your work space.
  • If creative ideas pop into your head, take a minute to jot them down in a little notebook or put them in the memo section of your phone. You can come back to those ideas later, but don’t let them distract you from your present task.
  • Plot out all your appointments, meetings, deadlines (with a schedule of milestones for bigger projects), phone calls and other important times on a calendar that you carry with you or is in your office. Refer to that calendar at the beginning and end of each work day. Have a system of alarms on your phone to alert you to important dates and times.
  • At the beginning of each work day, list all the tasks you need to complete that day and prioritize them.

– Set a time to complete each task.

– Check off each task as it is completed.

– Try to work on projects that require a lot of concentration at times when your work area is quieter.

– You might want to get phone calls or other quick tasks done right away so they aren’t looming over your head and distracting you through the day.

– If boredom is a problem, try to get assigned tasks you find more interesting. You might want to explore a career change in a more creative field.

  • If you have trouble sitting still, reward yourself with a physical break each time you check off a task on your daily schedule. Go for a quick walk or do some stretches and aerobics for several minutes. You might try a standing desk. A fidget spinner or small stress ball could keep a hand busy and help with concentration.
  • Refer to your daily task list as well as your planning calendar whenever distractions come up. If you’re working to meet a deadline, learn to politely decline if a colleague invites you to lunch. If you think of a great idea to work on, write down a time and date to work on it once time allows.
  • Always allow more time than you think you’ll need to get to work or get to a meeting. Concentrate on the time you need to leave, not the time you need to be there, so last minute distractions don’t interfere.

What can a counselor “coach” do to help?

A counselor can coach you toward better job performance. Together, you can set up a schedule for your days, weeks, and months so that you’re able to be productive in the task at hand without worrying about something going undone. A counselor can help you with structuring your days and your work area and in using coping skills.

You would check in regularly with your counselor to report which strategies are helping you, and what areas you’re still having problems with. As you learn to self-monitor and develop effective habits at work to manage time and focus, you will report to your coach less frequently, until you’re ready to fly solo.

Every workplace is different and it’s important to find strategies that are appropriate for the job and also will effectively help you with work performance. A counselor will spend time getting to know you and your specific needs and recommend an action plan that fits you and your job situation.

Should I disclose ADHD to my employer?

Many adults with ADHD choose not to tell their employers about their diagnosis because they are afraid it may have a negative effect on their career. Discrimination due to disabilities is illegal (Americans with Disabilities Act, 1990 and Rehabilitation Acts, 1973) and employers are required to make accommodations for disabled employees if they hire more than 15 employees.

However, adults are required to have a formal diagnosis of ADHD and also a statement from their physician that the symptoms are severe enough to be disabling. Adults with ADHD also are required to disclose their diagnosis before their employer is required to make accommodations.

You should disclose that you have ADHD if you cannot work productively without accommodations. If you fear your job is at stake, or if your employer is actually in the process of terminating you due to poor job performance, then you absolutely need to reveal your diagnosis.

If you haven’t responded well to medication for ADHD and your job performance is suffering, you may have some pressure reduced by telling your employer. It will help your colleagues understand what you’re going through.

Is my career the right one for me?

While job hopping can be an issue for adults with ADHD due to impulsivity, it’s also important that you find a job that you have a keen interest in, and where you can best use your strengths and abilities. Having a work environment and boss that can give you some flexibility and support is also helpful. If you’re thinking of a career change, here are some questions and suggestions to think through.

  • What are your top interests and abilities, and what jobs fit best with them?
  • In what areas have you been most successful?
  • What were your best subjects in school and what were your strengths?
  • What is your personality type?
  • What are your top values, and which careers line up with them?
  • What are your aptitudes that relate to the work place – such as typing speed, grammar, foreign language, types of reasoning, creativity and so forth?
  • What jobs fit with your energy level?
  • What mistakes have you made in past jobs and what career choices would help you avoid these again?

How can Christian Counseling help with Adult ADHD?

In addition to helping you analyze and cope with your biggest issues in the workplace, a Christian counselor can also help with spiritual development. A Christian counselor can help you understand that by turning over your fears and anxieties and insecurities to God and allowing Him to work with you through your challenges, that you can have renewed strength and focus, and peace and calm assurance instead of anxiety.

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Common ADHD Symptoms in Adults and How to Treat Them

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is most commonly known to affect children. However, it can impact the lives of adults, too. Indeed, as an adult ADHD can be a life-altering condition to live with if the correct help is not sought. It affects millions of people. Recent statistics show that around 4 to 5% of adults in the United States deal with symptoms of ADHD.

Many ADHD symptoms in adults were misdiagnosed in their childhood. Common ADHD symptoms in adults include a tendency to become overly emotional as well as signs of hyperactivity. Adults with ADHD are also likely to struggle with:

  • Following directions
  • Concentrating
  • Any tasks that require organization
  • Remembering key information
  • Finishing work on time

Those struggling with adult ADHD might even experience some negative emotions as a result of their condition. These may include anxiety, perpetual boredom, bouts of depression, difficulty controlling anger, forgetfulness, problems at work, low self-esteem, mood swings, procrastination, relational issues, substance abuse, addiction, and a low level of motivation.

An adult struggling with ADHD might find that their issues of low self-esteem stem from being labeled as an “underachiever” throughout their schooling years. The result may be an inability to hold down a job, an attitude of self-criticism and a depressive outlook. There can also be a tendency to rely on substances such as nicotine and alcohol in order to cope with these emotional difficulties.

Why Therapy is so Important for Treating ADHD Symptoms in Adults

Therapy is absolutely essential for an adult struggling with ADHD. Yes, medication can be helpful. However, the only way you will see a true and lasting difference is to combine this with the expertise of a professional therapist.

Therapy will help the person develop the tools and skills needed to manage their disorder, and will help them begin to organize their life in a way which will improve their overall emotional well being.

It can be incredibly frustrating not being able to achieve what you know you are capable of as a result of a disorder like ADHD. Therapy can help change this.

An open, safe and disarming environment will provide the person with the opportunity to get to some of the roots of their disorder and will ensure that they are given great encouragement as they progress.

Accurate diagnosis

When it comes to ADHD, it is absolutely essential that a correct diagnosis is given. Due to ADHD being partly genetic, it is common for someone with the disorder to be surrounded by others who exhibit similar symptoms, and thus do not believe there is anything fundamentally “wrong.” Therefore it is important for an external, independent medical professional to conduct a thorough assessment and assign an accurate diagnosis.

Behavior modification is an absolutely essential element of any therapy that is offered to someone dealing with ADHD, as they will likely struggle with their emotional response to certain situations. A therapist will help them unpack their thinking and will assist them in developing reactions that are more appropriate to the given situation.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) will help the patient hardwire new patterns of thinking into everyday lives, and will seek to replace unhealthy thought habits. This type of therapy will also help the person put their worries and problems in context, and will ensure they do not blow things out of proportion. When dealing with ADHD and its accompanying anxieties, this can be a very important thing to work on.

In conjunction with CBT, traditional talk therapy can also help the person develop a greater understanding of their own anxiety and emotional fluctuations. Suffering from ADHD can bring with it a whole host of emotional, relational and spiritual issues. Talk therapy can help relieve some of that burden.

Remember the precious scripture:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7

Raising self-esteem

Low self-esteem is one of the most common things that affect those who are dealing with ADHD. A person struggling with the disorder may have spent years being told they are “lazy” or “unmotivated,” when in reality they are battling with ADHD. These labels may cause them to feel very low. They might lack confidence and struggle to dwell on things that they are good at.

Therapy will help the person regain control over their thought patterns, and assist them in developing a positive view of themselves.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.2 Timothy 1:7

There is a powerful spiritual element to all of this. A Christian therapist will ensure that God’s view of the person becomes rooted in the foundations of their thinking. God loves us unconditionally and has placed a call on each and every one of us. He is always for us and never seeks to tear us down. He is always calling us forward.

Through the right therapy, the truth about God’s heart towards you can become intrinsic to your daily thinking. With the assistance of Christian therapy, this fundamental shift in perspective has the potential to transform the life of someone struggling with ADHD.

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ADHD Treatment Options: Beyond Medication

If you’re looking for ADHD treatment options that go beyond the typical medication solutions, this article is for you. First, let’s get a better understanding of what ADHD really is and what the symptoms include.

ADHD: What is it?

ADHD is a common disorder. The Diagnostic Statistical Manual, 5th Edition of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-5) refers to Attention-Deficit Disorder (ADD) / Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as a “Neuro-developmental Disorder” and calls it a neurological disease. Thought the disease is more common in children, the manual notes that it can occur in people of all ages.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) defines ADHD as “a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.”

The NIH specifies three essential types:

  • Inattention – the person easily gets off task, fails to persist, has trouble focusing and staying organized.
  • Hyperactivity – the person is always on the move, regardless of whether it is appropriate or not. They may fidget non-stop, tap, or talk. In adults, this may be exhibited as acute restlessness or causing others to become worn out with the non-stop activity.
  • Impulsivity – the person may be prone to making snap decisions without thinking through any potential consequences or ramifications. They may feel a strong need for immediate gratification and display an unwillingness to delay gratification. They may constantly interrupt others and may make crucial decisions without giving them proper thought.

The Mayo Clinic’s website calls ADHD “a chronic condition that affects millions of children and often continues into adulthood. ADHD includes a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior … children with ADHD also may struggle with low self-esteem, troubled relationships and poor performance in school. Symptoms sometimes lessen with age [but] some people never completely outgrow their ADHD symptoms.”

The Mayo Clinic also lists several different real-life scenarios as examples to demonstrate the difficulties that those who suffer from ADHD will often experience:

  • The tendency toward classroom difficulties, which can be the cause of academic failure, judgment from others, and low self-esteem
  • The tendency to being accident-prone and suffering more injuries than non-ADHD children
  • The tendency toward low self-esteem
  • The tendency to struggle with interpersonal interaction
  • Greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse

Also, according to the Mayo Clinic, ADHD children are much more likely to suffer from such conditions as:

  • Learning disabilities, especially with communication and understanding
  • A variety of anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, seen in irritability and easy frustration
  • Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), marked by a habit of defiant, negative, or even hostility toward those in authority
  • Conduct disorder, demonstrated in antisocial behavior like fighting, stealing, vandalism, or causing harm to animals or people
  • Bipolar disorder, which is characterized by both depression and mania
  • Tourette’s syndrome

What Causes ADHD?

CHADD and the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) state that even after a plethora of studies, the sources of ADHD are still relatively elusive. NIMH suggests that “like many other illnesses, a number of factors can contribute to its development,” such as:

  • Genes – more than 20 genetic studies indicate clear evidence that ADHD runs in families.
  • Smoking, alcohol consumption, or use of drugs while pregnant
  • Environmental toxin exposure while pregnant. or for the child, at a very young age
  • Over-consumption of sugar
  • Low birth weight
  • Various brain injuries

CHADD also lists the following items, which while they are not known causes, are believed to intensify ADHD symptoms for some:

  • Excessive watching of television
  • Excessive sugar intake
  • Stress in the family (e.g. – conflict, poverty)
  • Trauma

There is a mixed bag of opinions when it comes to the distinct “causes” of ADHD, though most experts would agree that it is rooted in a neurological chemical imbalance.

ADHD has, like many mental disorders, been medicalized, and serious efforts are underway to reassure parents that ADHD is not as a result of bad parenting, family issues, bad teachers, or improper socialization. Lacking well-tested evidence one way or the other, ADHD is currently viewed as a brain-based medical/genetic disorder.

ADHD Treatment

Both the Mayo Clinic and NIMH are convinced that certain treatments can drastically reduce ADHD symptoms, improving quality of life.

A variety of medications are prescribed and combined with various therapy approaches:

  • Behavior therapy: Parents and teachers can adopt behavior-modification techniques, such as reward systems or timeouts.
  • Psychotherapy: Older ADHD children are encouraged to discuss the things that are bothering them, exploring inappropriate patterns of behavior, and learning appropriate and healthy ways to manage their condition.
  • Skill Training for Parents: Parents develop and put into practice ways of understanding and guiding their child into right behavior.
  • Family therapy: This nurtures the family dynamic and will assist both the parent and child in understanding the challenges they face.
  • Training in Social Skills: Children are helped to develop acceptable social behaviors that will serve them well in adult life.

The Mayo Clinic also recommends some alternative treatment methods:

  • Meditation or Yoga: Regular practice of yoga or meditation can help children learn relaxation and discipline, which can help them learn to manage their ADHD.
  • Special diets: The diets typically recommended for those suffering from ADHD require them to eliminate foods that are rich in sugar and fat. Experts would also advise avoiding additives and coloring. However, studies so far have not discovered a substantial link between ADHD and diet. It is recommended that those with ADHD stay away from caffeine, which can trigger many of the symptoms associated with this disease.
  • Vitamin or mineral supplements: While there is no conclusive evidence that they can actively alleviate ADHD symptoms, vitamins can be good for one’s general health. “Megadoses” of vitamins – doses that are in excess of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) – can cause harm.
  • Herbal supplements: To date, no evidence suggests that herbal remedies are of help in managing ADHD, and on the contrary, some can even be dangerous.
  • Proprietary formulations: Made of vitamins and micronutrients, as well as other ingredients, there is little evidence to suggest they can do any good.
  • Essential fatty acids: These fats, which include omega-3 oils, are necessary for the brain to function well. Research regarding their efficacy is still ongoing.
  • Neurofeedback* training (also referred to as electroencephalographic (EEG) biofeedback): a child is taught to focus on performing a specific task while employing a machine which displays brainwave patterns and activity, keeping brain wave patterns active in the front of the brain, and thereby improving ADHD symptoms. Additional research is required to determine the efficacy of this treatment.
  • Regular exercise, alongside its general health benefits, may also positively affect ADHD children’s behavior when supplemented by other kinds of treatment.

Christians and ADHD Treatment

The Medicalization of ADHD

The medicalization of ADHD has been occurring for some time. Current estimates by CHADD suggest that more than 1 in 10 U.S. children, ages 4-17 have received a positive ADHD diagnosis and that more than 15% of elementary school-aged children are routinely diagnosed as having ADHD. These numbers alarm many people who call into question the APA’s contention that ADHD should be classed with the neurobehavioral diseases.

Additionally, it is important to treat the medicalization with caution. It can become too easy for difficult children to be broadly defined as suffering from ADHD and quickly medicated as a result. This may not be dealing with their root problems and simply numbs the neurological problem without adequately treating it.

A 2012 article in Der Spiegel magazine quotes Dr. Leon Eisenberg, a pioneer in ADHD studies, who eventually distanced himself from the over-diagnosis of ADHD. “ADHD is a prime example of a fabricated disorder,” Eisenberg said. “The genetic predisposition to ADHD is completely overrated.” Instead, child psychiatrists should investigate much more thoroughly the psychosocial reasons that can lead to behavioral problems, said Eisenberg. Are there fights with the parents, do mothers and fathers live together, are there family problems? Such questions are important, but they take a long time, said Eisenberg, adding with a sigh: “A pill commits itself very quickly.”

Too often, a purely medical diagnosis misses the holistic nature of the condition. Plus, the ADHD label can become very stigmatizing. Author Kati Li claims that “by diagnosing kids with ADHD, biological factors have come to override what used to be considered moral problems under the jurisdiction of the family.”

Li asserts that the medicalizing ADHD fails to hold children responsible for their own actions. Rather, it relegates unacceptable behavior to the realm of disease, and families are not considered responsible for their failure to discipline, socialize, and protect their children.


The medicating of ADHD is also a cause for concern for many. Many of the drugs prescribed for ADHD treatment closely resemble amphetamines (speed), a narcotic in the same class as cocaine and one that is often used in a recreational context. Many argue that ADHD medication can also lead to nervousness, addiction, anxiety, decreased appetite, insomnia, headache, nausea, stomachache, heart palpitations, and dizziness.

Anthony Martignetti, critical of prescribing medication for ADHD treatment, believes that “talk therapy” is a much better way forward. He emphasizes the role of the parent in effectively treating ADHD, pointing out that they may “interpret discipline, age-appropriate accountability, and boundaries to be forms of psychologically damaging abuse…which creates children without boundaries who are unresponsive to parental controls and who act and appear to be what we would have referred to in another time as ‘spoiled brats.’”

Secondly, he argues that ADHD can be made worse when parents lack sufficient time to actually parent their kid. Parental fatigue and guilt may be one reason that children are lacking boundaries and struggling to listen to instructions.

Third, Martignetti points the finger at societal and cultural shifts that interpret aggressive behavior, “roughhousing,” competitiveness, and other kinds of “acting-out” as actually detrimental to the self-esteem development process.

Religious Considerations

According to Ms. Li, the medicalization of ADHD appears to only offend certain Christian groups (i.e. Catholics and Conservative Protestants). Conservative Protestants rightly believe the Bible to be God’s word (and therefore infallible and inerrant), and that human beings possess a sinful nature which predisposes him to rebel against and disobey God’s laws. On this basis, they also discourage behaviors that constitute a health risk (i.e. – smoking, extramarital sex, drug use, fornication, etc.).

Evangelicals point out that according to 1 Cor. 6:19 the body of a Christian is a temple of the Holy Spirit and therefore must remain free of sin. Evangelicals reject much of secular psychiatry due to its secular presuppositions, favoring a Biblical approach instead. As a result, they typically do not view ADHD as a disease. In fact, conservative Protestants and Roman Catholics have both recognized the spiritual aspects of ADHD.

The Bible contains teaching about many of the symptoms of ADHD. A quick search of a Bible app will turn up references to “attentiveness” (Proverbs 6:6-8, 6:20-21, 7:24, 12:11, 24:27; Colossians 3:23; James 1:19; Deuteronomy 6:6-8; 1 Peter 1:12-15), “self-control” (Galatians 5:23, 2 Peter 1:6, 1 Corinthians 9:27, Proverbs 10:19, 25:28, Matthew 12:36, Philippians 4:8), and “impulsivity” (Proverbs 18:13, 21:5, James 1:2-4, 1:19, Galatians 5:22).

In addition, Philippians 2:3-4 demonstrates the need for one to have a servant’s heart, Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:23, and Philippians 4:8 teach self-control over one’s own thought life, 1 Corinthians 14:40 implies that living lives of disciplined structure is desirable, 2 Timothy 3:10-11 shows that demonstrating acceptable behavior is important, and 2 Timothy 3:16 states that the teaching of the Bible is profitable.

The Pursuit of Godly Seed, a book written from a conservative Christian perspective, demonstrates how Biblical principles of children-rearing and developing healthy home life can actually be a guard against ADHD. The book points out the devastating consequences of devaluing, neglecting, and rejecting children and their need for excellent, guidance, training, discipline, teaching, protection, and faith-based nurturing.

The book argues that children may be exasperated by parents or caregivers and that this can turn them off to the things of God. The book lists some key conditions that could result in this occurring in children from a Christian background: (a) “lukewarm” Christianity in the home, (b) abuse in anger, (c) the pain and confusion of parental divorce, (d) verbal abuse, and (e) sexual molestation or abuse.

Concluding Remarks

Christians should always critically assess any ADHD diagnosis given by a medical professional and would be wise to survey all available treatments when seeking out ways to help their child’s condition. There are many beneficiaries to the medicalization of ADHD in children and indications are that the medical industry frequently undermines the role of parents and family and interferes with their attempts at Biblical children-rearing.

Too often, parents are effectively “drugging” their children, having been told that their kids have a “brain disease.” But we must be critical of the evidence for this assertion. Many believe that inattentive or impulsive children are simply in need of well-rounded parental discipline, guidance, and love rather than serious medical intervention. God loves these kids, and he wants them to grow into all He has planned for them. With this mind, parents should think carefully about reaching for prescriptions and should take careful thought when seeking treatment for their child.

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