Book Recommendations: 25 Must Read Books About ADHD – ADDitude magazine

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ADDitude readers and editors recommend these must-read books on ADHD symptoms, ODD, executive function, organization, mindfulness, parenting solutions, and more.
Taking Charge of ADHD by renowned ADHD expert Russell A. Barkley, Ph.D., is our Number One pick for anyone raising a child with attention deficit. In it, Barkley discusses the causes of ADHD, medication options, advice for parents with the condition, sibling issues, and how to work with schools and healthcare providers to find needed support. In addition, the book offers downloadable practical tools and an eight-step behavior management plan to help families restore harmony at home.
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Since its 1994 publication, Driven to Distraction has earned its reputation as the definitive ADHD reference book. In it, authors Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., and John J. Ratey, M.D., explore ADHD’s varied forms, from hyperactivity to inattention, through adult and child patients’ vivid stories and case histories. They dispel common myths about ADHD; offer guidance for supporting a diagnosed child, partner, or family member; and thoroughly review treatment options. But most importantly, the book focuses on ADHD’s positive traits — including high energy, intuitiveness, creativity, and enthusiasm.
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You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?! is an indispensable resource for any adult with ADHD but is particularly loved by female readers of ADDitude. In this classic, authors Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo share practical advice for improving organization and working memory, moral support, descriptions of the ADHD diagnostic process, and tips for seeking professional help and treatment. It’s also teeming with ideas for achieving balance and getting along in groups and intimate and family relationships.
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Explosive children respond to routine problems by crying, screaming, swearing, kicking, hitting, biting, spitting, destroying property, and worse. Such severe outbursts leave parents feeling frustrated, worried, and desperate for help because the discipline and calming strategies that work for other kids are useless. Ross W. Greene, Ph.D., writes in The Explosive Child that explosive children aren’t attention-seeking, manipulative, or unmotivated, and their parents aren’t passive, permissive pushovers. Rather, explosive kids lack crucial skills in flexibility, frustration tolerance, and problem-solving, requiring a different approach to parenting. Greene provides readers with a conceptual framework for understanding their kids’ difficulties based on research in the neurosciences. He explains why traditional parenting and treatment often don’t work — and what to do instead.
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Every year, millions of withdrawn girls and chronically overwhelmed women with ADHD go undiagnosed because they don’t fit the stereotypical profile of a fast-talking, hyperactive little boy. ADHD affects the genders equally, and manifestations of depression, disorganization, anxiety, and underachievement are also symptoms of the disorder. Citing the latest clinical research, Sari Solden’s Women with Attention Deficit Disorder explores treatment and counseling options and addresses the challenges women with ADHD face, such as the shame of not fulfilling societal expectations and forming deep friendships.
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Far too many girls with ADHD grow up without appropriate diagnosis and treatment. Stephen Hinshaw, Ph.D., a leading expert on ADHD in girls, discusses why in Straight Talk about ADHD in Girls: How to Help Your Daughter Thrive. Hinshaw breaks down his decades of research to explain the long-overlooked challenges facing girls with ADHD and why symptoms often appear differently in girls than in boys. This accessible how-to guide outlines the most effective evidence-based treatments — and how they can be tailored to help girls thrive — and concrete steps parents can take to support their daughters from toddler to teenager, ultimately nurturing their confidence and self-worth.
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Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD by Susan Pinsky provides a lifeline for anyone overwhelmed by the seemingly impossible task of “getting your life in order.” This witty guide outlines practical strategies for decluttering, managing time, planning, and prioritizing tasks. Chapters are organized by room type or task and include testimonials, color photographs, and organizational tips, such as dividing time into minutes or moments, avoiding procrastination, asking for help, and not turning into a pack rat.
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Combining expert information with practical, sensitive advice, 8 Keys to Parenting Children with ADHD focuses on developing and strengthening families’ interpersonal skills to improve conflict resolution. Based on author Cindy Goldrich’s Calm and Connected: Parenting Kids with ADHD© workshop, the book offers parents science-based insights and systems for cultivating confidence, independence, and communication skills in children with ADHD. The eight “key” concepts presented will reduce chaos, improve cooperation, and nurture creativity and drive in children with ADHD.
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The ADHD Effect on Marriage by Melissa Orlov is the relationship bible for couples affected by ADHD. Traditional marriage counseling often discounts the influence of ADHD, but this straightforward book offers advice from the author’s personal experience as an ADHD marriage consultant and researcher. Orlov identifies patterns of behavior that can hurt marriages, such as nagging, intimacy problems, sudden anger, and memory issues. Also included are worksheets and ideas for navigating difficult conversations so couples can find a technique that fits their unique relationship and improves their communication skills.
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In 1992, Howard Glasser created The Nurtured Heart Approach® to help children and adults with challenging behaviors. Glasser and co-author Jennifer Easley share these strategies in Transforming the Difficult Child. The book’s refreshing spin on parenting and teaching promises to transform challenging behavior and plant the seeds for success in children with ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder, and more.
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In The Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD, Lidia Zylowska, M.D., walks readers through her eight-step program for using mindfulness practice to manage ADHD symptoms. Zylowska highlights sitting meditation, body awareness, thoughtful speaking and listening, development of self-acceptance, mindful self-coaching, cultivation of a balanced view of thoughts and emotions, and more. She also explains how mindfulness can be combined with other treatments, including medications, to boost self-improvement and how readers can use mindful awareness to work through challenges.
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In Smart but Scattered, Peg Dawson, Ed.D., and Richard Guare, Ph.D., present a treasure trove of information about the executive function skills impacted by ADHD in children. The book is a useful reference guide for specific topics, such as “Ready-Made Plans for Teaching Your Child to Complete Daily Routines” to “Working with School” (IEP and 504 Plans). Or take the quizzes for parents of children ages 4-13 to learn your child’s executive function strengths and weaknesses — and your own. Comparing your quiz results with your child’s will explain why you both struggle to leave the house on time or why you become so irritated by your child’s messy bedroom.
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For years, ADHD was considered a behavior disorder. Now, scientific research recognizes ADHD as a developmental disorder of the cognitive management system of the brain — its executive functions. Thomas E. Brown, Ph.D., pulls together key ideas from this research in A New Understanding of ADHD, debunking common misconceptions about attention deficit along the way. He also addresses why people with ADHD can focus very well on some tasks and have difficulty focusing on others, how ADHD impairments change from childhood through adolescence and adulthood, how brain development and functioning differ in people with ADHD, and why people with ADHD have emotional, cognitive, and learning disorders more often than their neurotypical peers.
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Poor time mismanagement, procrastination, impulsivity, distractibility, and transition difficulty are linked with ADHD. But why? In The Disorganized Mind, professional ADHD coach Nancy Ratey helps readers understand why and how ADHD gets in their way and what they can do about it. The book addresses common refrains from adults with ADHD, such as “Where did the time go?” “I’ll do it later. I always work better under pressure anyway,” “I’ll just check my email one more time before the meeting,” and “I’ll pay the bills tomorrow — that will give me time to find them,” and solutions for each.
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The obsessive need for perfection can lead to emotional turmoil in our professional and personal lives as we try to control the future, satisfy everyone, and, ultimately, feel we are failing. Too Perfect draws on 20 years of research and observations from the private practice of Allan Mallinger, M.D., to show how perfectionism saps energy, complicates simple decisions, and takes the enjoyment out of life. Mallinger and co-author Jeannette Dewyze’s present case histories, practical strategies to overcome obsessiveness, and self-tests to help adults reclaim their right to happiness.
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Do you have a keen imagination and vivid dreams? Is time alone as essential to you as food and water? According to others, are you “too shy” or “too sensitive?” Do noise and confusion quickly overwhelm you? If you answered “yes,” you may be a highly sensitive person (HSP). Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D., explains in The Highly Sensitive Person that most of us feel overstimulated occasionally, but for the HSP, it’s a way of life. She provides insights into how sensitivity affects both work and personal relationships, tips for dealing with over-arousal, ways to reframe past experiences positively and gain greater self-esteem, and more. Self-assessment tests help readers identify sensitivities and traits.
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Despite your dedication and resolve, your family struggles every day with homework, chores, getting to soccer practice on time, and simply getting along without pushback and power struggles. What Your ADHD Child Wishes You Knew can help. Author Sharon Saline, Psy.D., shares the words and inner struggles of children and teens living with ADHD — and provides a blueprint for achieving lasting success by working together. Based on more than 25 years of experience counseling young people and their families, Saline’s books full of real-world examples reveals how parents can shift the dynamic by setting mutual goals, easing academic struggles, tackling everyday challenges, staying organized, building friendships, and more.
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ADHD brains are wired differently than neurotypical brains, leading to challenges with time management, organization, forgetfulness, task completion, emotional regulation, and relationships. In Your Brain’s Not Broken, Tamara Rosier, Ph.D., breaks down these challenges and explains why you think, feel, and act the way you do. Rosier’s ideas are easy to understand and apply to your life. Anyone with ADHD — as well as anyone who lives with or loves someone with ADHD — will find here a compassionate, encouraging guide to living well and with hope.
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From the fourth-grade girl who never gets invited to a birthday party because classmates think she’s “weird” to the geek who is terrific at math but is failing every other subject, quirky children are different from other kids in ways that they — and their parents — have a hard time understanding. They present a host of challenges that standard parenting books fail to address. Now, in Quirky Kids, pediatricians Perri Klass, M.D., and Eileen Costello, M.D., provide the expert guidance that families with quirky children so desperately need. The authors discuss various therapy options, coping strategies, and available medications. They also define confusing terms, such as nonverbal learning disability and sensory integration dysfunction. In the process, they provide a roadmap for quirky kids to lead rich, fulfilling lives at home, at school, and on the playground.
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Does toxic pollution cause ADHD? What about screen use? Are alternative treatments worth exploring? Can dietary changes help? From leading ADHD researcher Joel T. Nigg, Ph.D., Getting Ahead of ADHD explores exciting treatment advances grounded in the science of epigenetics. Nigg illustrates ways to maximize the positive effects of healthy nutrition, exercise, and sleep — and minimize the damage from stress and other known risk factors. The book will help you determine which options hold the most promise for improving your child’s symptoms and overall well-being — and it recommends step-by-step suggestions for integrating them into your daily life.
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From getting dressed in the morning to arriving on time for a job interview to remembering the full grocery list ― getting through the day can be an ordeal for a woman with ADHD. The Queen of Distraction is here to help. Psychotherapist Terry Matlen explains how ADHD uniquely impacts women’s relationships, skin sensitivities, meal planning, parenting, and hormones, and she suggests effective treatment options and skills to help women achieve focus and balance in all areas of their lives.
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ADHD characteristics were necessary for the survival of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. When humanity experienced the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago, the methodical “farmer” personality became dominant. Most of our modern world is tailored to this farmer, from 9-to-5 jobs to the structure of public schools, leaving ADHD hunters feeling like unsuccessful outcasts. However, the hunter skill set offers many opportunities for success — if you learn how to embrace your ADHD traits instead of fighting them. In Adult ADHD, Thom Hartmann explains the positive side of hunter behavior and reveals how hunters make excellent entrepreneurs. He draws on solid scientific and psychological principles to provide easy-to-follow organizational tips and pointers for maintaining focus, creating a distraction-free workspace, setting goals, and discovering the right business project to keep you motivated.
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Nowhere to Hide delves into the unabated stress associated with learning differences and ADHD, and how this comorbidity impacts children’s academic learning, social skills, behavior, and efficient brain functioning. Jerome J. Schultz, Ph.D., draws upon three decades of work as a neuropsychologist, educator, and school consultant to address this gap by changing how parents and teachers think about kids with learning differences and why kids with ADHD and LD find school and homework so toxic. The book includes feasible tips to reduce stress at school and home, rating scales, checklists, and printable charts.
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The Power of Different presupposes that being neurodivergent can be associated with great talent. In the book, author Gail Saltz, M.D., uses examples of everyday people who have “leaned in” to their brain differences and flourished — not despite them but because of them. She also offers advice on harnessing special ADHD powers for good, leaving readers with an understanding that their unique brains can be a source of strength rather than a focus point of weakness.
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What Does Everybody Else Know That I Don’t? is a comprehensive social skills guidebook by Michele Novotni, Ph.D., that teaches adults how to overcome common hurdles like inattention, impulsive blurting, and more. Filled with straightforward exercises and engaging tidbits, this practical book can help you improve your social skills at any age.
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