ADHD and Violence?

I was reading news online when I saw two news stories about ADHD and violence.

In story #1 – 9 News in Colorodo reports on Matthew Murray – who shot and killed four people before killing himself in December 07. Toward the bottom of the article, this story reports on how Matthew had ADHD, had been on ritalin in the past, and stopped it at his own request 6 years before the shootings.

In story #2 – An 18 year old young man with untreated ADHD was charged for stabbing someone. One interesting aspect of this story is that this young man could not receive any help or treatment for his ADHD (i.e. non was available, even acknowledged by the judge in the case).

These stories beg the question:

Does ADHD lead to violence?

The answer is yes and no.

When people have untreated ADD or ADHD, they have a higher risk of violence. However, there are many people with ADD or ADHD (even if it is untreated) who are not violent at all.

The diagnosis of ADHD includes the fact that people are impulsive – i.e. they often act before they think. This can be a risk factor for violence.

Some research shows that approximately 50% of people incarcerated have undiagnosed or untreated ADHD.

ADHD is a risk factor for violence.

Treating ADHD lowers that risk.

Do I believe that the diagnosis of ADHD led Matthew Murray to shoot 4 people and then himself?
Do I believe that the diagnosis of ADHD led Alfie Goody to stab someone?

No – I think that would completely over-simplify the issue.

All I can say is that research shows that treating ADHD can reduce the risk of violence.

If your child, teen, spouse, or someone else that you care about has ADD or ADHD, and is showing some violent tendencies – see if you can get treatment for their ADD or ADHD. It may make a big difference.

I realize that this article may be quite controversial for many of you. Please enter your comments below.

Dr. Kenny

p.s. Medications are effective treatments for ADD/ADHD, but many people are reluctant to consider them for many reasons. To get a copy of my 25 page free report, visit Medication Mastery.


  1. I agree, but what has to be taken into consideration is the environment these kids grew up in. There are too many variables to consider with this topic. Certainly to seek professional help is huge but how many families have the foresight to act let alone know what to look for in a child who is just seemingly being a teenager. Then if you have a kid who is just going through the motions of being an angery teen and send them to all these doctors, I wonder about the effects it could have. But in situations it is safer to have a child evaluated than to have something potentially seriously wrong going on and play the wait and see game.

    I was a pretty angery kid with ADHD and believe me when I tell you my mother earned every grey hair on her head, but I never crossed the line of serious violence. Impulsivity control yes, school yard fights yes, several, but those lines never came close to being crossed.
    To assume it was ADHD would be a critical mistake, there is something more going on with these kids and the information needed is unavaliable. Shots in the dark…:/

  2. hey im the man dr kenny is talking bout there, my name’s alfie goodey form folkestone not alfie goody ha, anyways yeah its taken me over 2years now to get the court case over with and now i’ve got a supsneded sentance hopefully i’ll be haveing some medical treatment soon hopefully!!! its taken 2 years and abit to get my ritlian my mum is terriofired that my temper and my medical problem could cause something as dangerous as this again. thanks for puttin me on here and some one has took in my stroy in the papers laterly at least some one is looking into something. take care.


    • Hi Alfie,

      I believe my son has untreated ADHD, which, as his mother I did try to get help for him. To cut a long story short, recently he has been accused of a terrible crime, which I fear he will go down a long time for if his medical history is not taken into account. On my research I have also discovered that certain other behavioral issue can also occur as a result of ADHD. ODD – Oppositional Disorder and CD- Conduct disorder. When I read about these my son ticked all the box’s! I admit he had a troubled childhood, which of course did not help, but I knew there was something wrong when he was very young. He seemed to change after he had his immunization, just before his 1st birthday! On looking into this I have learnt about the high levels of Thimerosal (Mercury), that in the 90′s and before was present in the vaccinations. This can cause the onset of Autism and other behavioral disorders. Unfortunately, there is reported to be ‘lack of evidence’ this, but a withdrawal from Thimerosal all the same! On my research I have also recently discovered that I may have ADD which would obviously attribute to my sons ADHD! Have any of your family members been diagnosed with ADHD or any other disorders?
      I would like to here back from you and Kenny and anyone else that might have advice for me at this very grueling time in mine and my family’s lives.
      Thank you. Dee.

      • since i wrote my last msg, ive experence alot of life, and lernt alot from this, been researching and my mother has and it is *Not* anything to do with my family, pasted away family, nothing in the genes, just a diagonise that nearly every children is having everyday aroudn the world, there’s many reasons why people get digonised with it, most the time it’s because there food take ins, the numbers and letters in the good there having fed to them

  3. Speaking as a mother of a child with ADHD and Conduct disorder I can tell you that this type of extreme behaviour is something that is both scary and obvious. Someone with mild ADHD and not impulsive is obviously not going to be as extreme as those described above. Since going off his meds – last year my son escalated from throwing objects to threatening to set my bedroom on fire – this has NOTHING to do with the loving environment he lives in. I have an older teenager who is typical in his behaviours – not extreme. Having also recently seen the change in my son – back on medication within 1 week – we are able to see he controls his impulses and the anger has begun to be within more reasonable levels. You know in your gut when kids are acting outside of the realm of normal….. If impulse control with ADHD kids is extreme – they can’t control the moments when they “snap”

    My two cents…

  4. In one instance the youth also has Aspergers Syndrome which could certainly have played a role in his difficulties. It is possible, given the high incidence of co-morbidity of ODD with ADHD, that either one or both of these youth could have also had ODD. That complicates things a whole lot!!

  5. I am the mother of a 17 year old adhd chlid. I tried ritalin when he was 7 for 1.5 years and took him off as he was having heart throbs, insomnia, and said he felt like he was living in a cartoon world along with anxiety attacks. He did do better in school but the side effects scared me. After I took him off it was ON…kicked out of school twice for behavior problems and some aggressive behavior. I was gong through menopause at the time he was in 3rd grade and as a single mom had had alot of my own issues and did not handle my own anger well at times. It was very hard to parent an adhd child 85% of the time. He was gifted and ended up in a GATE school recruited because of his test scores but he tells me now he never had any friends nor felt like he fit in with any crowd in any school.
    His anger was getting out of control as he hit 7th grade. He still backed down in 7th grade with discipline but started to show anger problems and out lashes soon after. In 9th grade it got so bad that he even started getting into fights and getting kicked out of high school. He tried football and loved it but would often feel disconnected from being part of the team because of forgetfulness and impulsiveness. (being different) I put him on Strattera and it worked as far as calming him down and helping fhim to focus but he soon reacted with not only anger but RAGE at times. He got mad at his step father and took a baseball bat to his lamp on the bedside table and to his brand new oak dresser. He told me that it was better than pounding his step father’s brand new Honda motorcycle whicn is what he wanted to do and far better than pounding his stepfather to death which was his first desire. I took him him off of strattera. His RAGE problem got better very soon afterwards.
    Even after strattera however, he has gotten a bit physical with me, and has broken many things in our home along with threatened to burn down the house and do things to our cars when he does not get his way or when he is confronted with sometihng he did wrong. He has spent time in Juvenile Hall as I did not let him get away with violence andhe just got off informal probation. He is glad of that.

    He has little or no respect for me or my husband (resentments toward my husband as well with some very good reasons, (no bonding was really done by his step dad and certainly no understanding of adhd much at all). Sarcasm was used by my husband alot and we got into it and still do at times behind that kind of thing but it has gotten better.
    His real dad whom he did not get to know but had recently began talking to him, commited suicide on Oct 20th, 07, and left that terrible legacy for my son. My son grieves for the hope he had at one time of getting to know his dad and now that hope is gone.
    My son is smart and graduating high school (a charter school this, his junior year. but is a terrible procrastinator. ) He drinks alchohol (went on a binge a few weeks ago for 5 days straight) and smokes pot (he has stopped pot for awhile so he can get a job) but I have to watch him at every corner to make sure he does not drink as I am afraid of him becoming an alcoholic.

    He is in counseling with a LCSW which is proving so far to be much better than the other psychologists we have tried. My son is a really intelligent, nice kid but he struggles with life’s pressures as an adhd child who has lost so much this last year….His drivers license, use of his car, has 2 points on his license already in which it will cost him more money for insurance, his job he lost, his girlfriend moved back to Kentucky, and he has stolen a very important 100.00 bill from his step father in which his stepfather does not know as yet. I told him he needs to tell him but he is hoping that he will be gone to Kentuck y to be wth his girlfriend before my husband finds out. I was advised by my brother to let my son handle this by himself and stay out of it but I feel like the hatchet is gonna fall any moment. (my husband is gonna blow a gasket when he finds out). My son says he doesn’t care if the ___hole finds out or not.
    I am so afraid for my son because he thinks he knows it all…the worst kind of know it all. He bucks authority and believes that all cops are ___holes and so is anyone who gives him guidelines that he does not believe in or want to live by.
    On the other hand the strange thing is that he gets over his rages fairly fast and after a blow up in the family, he can come out of his room and instead of escalating the previous situation, he calmly, in a good kids voice as if nothing happened ask me nicely, “mom can you fix me somethgn to eat?” and then begin inteerracting with the family normally. I have reently started to hold off wth alot of reacting or responding to his outbursts, understanding that he will calm down in a few minutes.
    I am afraid for him as he thinks he will just leave home and start his life out without us and do fine…Truth is that he is NOT ready for the real world. Street wise is one thing but going out without a job, nor the maturity to handle being on your own with a young girlfriend (who constantly pressures him to get back to Kentucky and marry him and who purposely pushes his buttons al the time and gets him really mad) drives me crazy myself to think of what he may setting himself up for. Fatal attraction???
    I would give anything to just let go and let things happen as they may but as impulsive as he is I feel like I am spinning my wheels as fast as i can to get him on track before Dec 22nd (his 18th birthday). Any answers that may help me please write me. Linda

  6. I am a mom with 5 children, out of those five I have one diagnosed ADHD and one that is Bi polar. That being said I also have a teenager!!lol. So I have seen my share of violence. The violence stems from a fustration level in these children, either with a situation they are involved in at school or home or just simply with a friend! It is the only way they reason to get someones attention. The violence is their final extreme of saying “im angry and need help coping! When I see the violence starting I have to stop everything I am doing and just go sit beside the child for 5 minutes and say “Hey what’s up???” And the anger usually subside. Now that being said I know it is extremely hard in this day and age when both parents are working and we have 500 other things to do between now and tomorrow and we can’t always just say stop!! But trust me if we could just as a parent just take two minutes to say hey what’s up?? it does deminish some of the violence! Some days I get very little accomplished, but there is always tomorrow. Let’s face it – in ADD and ADHD what does the first letter stand for!! Now that being said it won’t work with your teenager-let’s face it if we dared somedays to look at them – well if you have a teenager you understand. We have to stop and listen to these guys before they get to being a teen, that way hopefully when they get to that point we have built some gateway into at least listening to them.

  7. I have a spiritual bias as I work in this field. I have asked fellow pastors on medication for various things whether they feel they could have coped with their affliction if they lived in a different era and medication was not available. They agreed they could have. The medication simply helps deal with their mental health issues so much easier. In my case I can say I could hold back from acting violently without medication. But beginning medication a couple years ago at 52 helped me immensely with my tolerance for handling frustrations and took an “edge”, a pressure off me. I am much less impulsive with things I say that used to have an aggressive edge to them. Feeling less pressured physically and mentally in dealing with things helps immensely, though I still believe that acting out violently is primarily a spiritual issue.

  8. The media is always quick to assume a link with medication and violence. As Dr. Kenny pointed out, these boys/young men were at a higher risk beccause of their impulsivness. Their risk could havebeen increased by their neighborhoods, their lack of employment, their homelife and a thousand other factors. We must continue to educate the public that medication is a tool along several others that help young people with this condition. Not all kids are medication are timebombs.

  9. I grew up with undiagnosed ADHD. I am now an adult withADHD trying to live without medication. I was on meds early on when I was first diagnosed. I choose not to continue. I have realized that rage is a potential act for me. I do get angry but I can easily go into a rage if I allow it. For me, I have had to go through therapy for many, many years and learn behavior modification and triggers for my anger and rage. It is still not easy but so far I have been managing. I now have a daughter and grandsons who I suspect have ADHD with tendencies to exhibit anger and rage. My 16 year old granson was diagnosed with ADD at age 6. My second grandson is diagonosed with depression with mild hints of ADD. B7ut my daughter does not seem to think that it demands immediate or consistent attention. I have given up trying to get her to pay attention. She, herself will not get diagnosed. You can imagine how that household is on some days. I am learning to let go and let God.
    I fear for the potential violence in any situation. We have the same concerns here where I live. I am not so sure though that we can blame everything on the ADD / ADHD. At some point, don’t individuals have to take some responsibilty? I too have mixed feelings on this.
    Thanks Dr. Kenny for give us some input, teaching and sharing with us so that we can see things more clearly, I so appreciate this blog and reading other peoples’ comments.

  10. Dear Dr. Kenny. So priviledged to have contact with you although only by writing. I live in Sout Africa, Pretoria. I have two boys ages 6 and 4. My oldest was diagnosed by a Dr. Ladicos with ADD. She recommended Ritalin 10. Before the medicine he was a angry, agressive child and doing homework with him was a battle. Yes. At 6, and in pre-school, homework must be done. He got very aggressive with his grandma, who looked after them in the afternoons but to prevent anything bad of happening I did the second best thing and kept them after school for 3 days of the week. That helped but still there was fireworks with him and the whole rest of my family. I am only 38 years old but I feel tired. He went on Ritalin 10 since our school term started in middle January and the change was amazing. Homework is a breeze and he actually want to learn more. Although his eating habits became better, he still does not take authority from his grandma and father which makes life very difficult for me. his grandma and father can say and do whatever, he will not do homework given by them. He only listens to me and react on my requests. I am totally dedicated to them but see this as a problem for the future and I do not know what to do about it. He eats when he is hungry and that is not always the same times than the rest of the family. He does not like to have dirty fingers and play with his cars by putting them in perfect order behind each other etc. Everything must be in its place. He loves animals and know all the sounds to the animals he has seen. He loves National Geographic and does not know goofy or donald duck or any cartoons for that matter.

    I am not scared for what the future hold but what I do not know is, how will I know that the longterm effect of ritalin 10 will be positive in his life? Although I can see it now, do you think he will need to go on stronger and stronger medicine as he gets older?

    His father, by the way, is also the same than him but that went untreated. He has been in trouble for his temper with the officials but he is already 43 years and I need to batlle both their rage somedays when they feel like it. It makes me crazy, so by so, that I feel I want to take the kids and just go but then again, I will show my kids that giving up on somebody, which have a problem is easier than to handle it. Hard but true.

    Looking forward to hearing from you. Greetings from sunny South Africa.


  11. To all those out there with ADD, ADHD, ODD, Bipolar etc I really do feel for you all.

    It is a cruel and nasty illness and those that are not involved in these illnessess need to know that these suffers need support and a lot of reassurance and love.

    Parents of these sufferers also need the same, as they are also pushed to their limits. They DO care immensly about their childs wellbeing, although the ‘Proffessionals’ out there, namely Social Services, Police etc think these parents don’t care and it is their parenting and there is no changing their minds. This causes more stress on the parents than the actual ADH I think.

    I consider life a million times harder when you have a child with ADHD etc but much more rewarding.

    I am a parent of an 8yrs old who has ADHD combined, ODD and many traits that tag alongside ADHD. I have known he has had ADHD since he was 18mths/2yrs and no-one listened. 2yrs ago he got diagnosed. Today his meds were increased to 60mgs Equasym XL alongside 18mls of Stratterra, his theropy starts in 2 weeks.

    6plus yrs Ive researched, fought, written millions of letters, I’ve pushed and demanded things, I’ve threatened everybody.

    My son is 1 of 6 children, my others are fine. So, I DO KNOW IT’S NOT ME.

    ADHD makes my life a living hell, my son makes me want to help him and others like him. And I will as I love him to bits.


  12. ADHD and Violence? | ADD ADHD…

    When people have untreated ADD or ADHD, they have a higher risk of violence. However, there are many people with ADD or ADHD (even if it is untreated) who are not violent at all….

  13. As an adult who was previously diagnosed as having bi-polar disorder and eventually reevaluated as having adult ADHD I can honestly say that I have had a lifelong battle with my temper. Often feeling frustrated and misunderstood I would lash out at those around me impulsively. The reason I was initially misdiagnosed was because of the history of rages. Now that I am on Vyvanse I am doing much better all around. No violent fits, no anxiety, no irritability. I am able to get things done when I need to and I do not feel overwhelmed. Although psychotherapy can be beneficial, I honestly believe that the right medication is paramount to leading a sane life. Unfortunately two of my grown daughters are still being treated as bi-polar patients when there is a definite probability that they suffer from ADHD as well. The reason for this is also a history of rages. More people need to get the word out that ADHD can cause one to act out violently. In this way more patients will get the correct diagnosis and be on the road to a medicated recovery quicker. At least that is my viewpoint.

  14. I am the mother of a 14 yearold with ADHD he was only diagnosed a year ago. his frustration and rage have been escalating year on year, since he was 3 he has been throwing futniture and by 7 was smashing furniture and becoming more violent. This week he completely lost control and tried to kill me with a hammer.

    I have two small children one with aspergers and I feel that I have had no support at all. I have spent years trying to get my son the support and medication he needs and last year finally got him some medication to help the ADHD and keep him in calmer in school. We have also battled to get him into a supportive school who have helped to get him statemented for extra help at school.

    We have sent him to stay with a family member for a few days to allow us all to calm down but I am really frightned about what will happen when he comes home. He is taller and stronger than me and I am afraid that he will attack me again and worse that my two small boys will try to protect me when he is enraged and unable to control himself.

    I have supported him through all these years I do love him and I do not want him to go into care but I am so tired of doing this on my own and so afraid of what will happen next.

    I think that the parents and families of people with ADHD that include violent tendancies should have support and understanding. Not all children with ADHD come from broken homes, some have been loved and supported since birth, despite all the battles to keep them at school, keep them in contact with their friends and raise their self esteem, whilst trying to guide them how to control their anger and frustration. Sometimes, after 14 years the parents are out of ideas and need to be able to turn somewhere for support too.

    ADHD is an illness, the problems it brings cannot be helped and I believe that they can be understood but it is really, really difficult to live with.

  15. my 10 year old daughter has just started ritalin 10mg having little effect on impulses and violence battling to cope can someone please help me think meds should be higher been told worst case of adhd phychiatrist ever seen desperate she hasnt been to school all year help

  16. Hi Kelly,
    That sounds like a low ‘starting dose’ of the medicine. I would suggest talking to the doctor right away about whether the dose can be increased.
    Depending on your insurance coverage for medicine – you may want to try one of the once daily medicines for ADHD – like Concerta, Adderall XR.
    For severe violence/aggression, some doctors use risperidone.
    I suggest asking your doctor for more frequent appointments/monitoring of your situations.
    Regarding medicine – you can learn more from this audio:
    I have a full course on medications for ADD/ADHD, which you can find here:
    Right now, there is a time limited sale on the course:
    Dr. Kenny

  17. thankyou dr kenny heidi is now on 2 10mg tabs aday and 2mg risperdal at night she is a lot better starting back at school soon all the hell could have been avoided if the paediatrician had of listened to the referring phychiatrist 6 months ago instead of ignoring the diagnosis of adhd the paediatrician said she had bi-polar and scizaphrinia and put her on epillim which sent her crazy i have alot of scars from this and even when things were really bad wanted to commit suicide i love my daughter to the ends of the universe praying for miracles love to all kelly from australia

  18. i think my brother has ADHD He was prematur by a montha and was realy ill when he was a baby he is getting older now hes 12 but all he does is sit onh is room on the xbox and thats the truth he dosnt cum downstairs at all I dont know how too tell if he has got ADHD! xx

  19. My opinion on ADD derives mostly from my experience with it. I’ve been in some form of trouble my whole life. Paddled all thru elementary, suspended,kicked out of high school. Eventually quit and got a GED. I took ritalin at age 8,dont remember being violent before that. I’m curious if anyone believes ritalin alters the part of the brain that makes you violent so after you stop you are worse! I also had some head trauma to the left frontal lobe side of my head that I also “blame” my aggresiveness on. I did a paper on aggresion in psychology class and read books about primal aggression, learned behaviors,inherited personality traits. I cant find answers. It seems like I’m fine until something goes wrong then my mind races and I get carried away and break things or hurt the people around me. Something that sounded like me from the story of Linda’s son on this site was being angry for a short time and cooling off acting like nothing happened. Almost like I got a short version of torrets syndrome! I’m actually on probation right now and go to a class for anger management. I have a growing family and I’m scared sometimes my behavior will tear them away from me. I go to a good church and pray that this thing will stop,but the chemicals are still there… Thanks for letting me share

  20. Hi. I sympathize with all those out there suffering from ADHD or with children with ADHD. I would like to share my experience with a spouse with ADHD. After we married, I saw a program on adult ADHD and realised this was exactly what was wrong with my husband. I convinced him to go to a New York research center on adult ADHD, and they agreed to see him. He was professionally diagnosed. I did everything I could to accommodate his condition, including taking on all domestic organisation and activities including child care while at the same time holding down a full time job. Over the next 5 years his treatment of me and our family deteriorated: I realise now as I look back on it, that he could never really “feel” empathy for anyone – his emotional behavior was, simply, copying behavior he felt was right. He began to abuse ritalin during periods of extremely high work load, became very self-absorbed, arrogant and I am sorry to say, abusive emotionally and physically towards me. He seemed to lack any sort of moral compass. I write this because I think it is extremely important that parents understand some with ADHD cannot depend on this moral compass to guide their behavior so it is very important for parents out there to teach these children behavior control. Otherwise, as they grow up, these individuals will inflict irrepairable damage on the people around them…

  21. my son 8yrs old strong as a bear, he is destructful nasty and soooo violent, he does not think 1st, i feel like a punch bag so does my older son (10yrs) so much that e shakes all the time, y wont the docs do anything he already been hit by car twice and so many near misses. e gonna end up hurtin some1 bad or himself. e is seen every 3-5 month always by a differant doctor we r in and out within 20mins tops.e will punch kick bite swear and strangle ppl and says its not his fault
    i just dnt no wot else to do

  22. Hiya, just want to say I have gained alot of help from reading these comments and these experiences with you all. My nephew, now nearly 20 years old, was diagnosed with ADHD when he was only 6 or 7 and was put on ritalin for years. He came off this drug when he was about 13 or 14 and, in my opinion, considering his illness, has coped very well. In the last year or so, he has become aggressive, violent, talk of violence, argumentative, cruel-mouthed and bullying towards friends and family members and we have recently found out he has been physically hurting his female friend of the same age. We are all horrified and do not know what to do to help him. He has been thrown out of home by his mother because of the shame she feels and I, his auntie, have taken him in for the third time in the last couple of years. I believe it is the ADHD that needs treating again and I do not know how to go about dealing with the issue. He does not ever get physically aggressive towards me but he is a very troubled lad and I fear for his safety sometimes. Should he still be on medication at the age of 20? Should I ask him to go back to his GP about this violent behaviour? I am his auntie and do not know where my rites lie. Just know I love him and want to help him and his abused friend. I am devastated that he has hurt this girl. He has admitted he thinks he is gay but cannot explain why he is so angry towards his female friend. Please help! Joanne

    • Joanne,
      It is certainly possible that this is a manifestation of ADHD that has lasted into Adult life. That said, there may be other issues involved. The list could include: Anxiety disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Substance Abuse/Dependence, Depression, Bipolar, etc.
      Best to get him to get an assessment with his doctor to review his current symptoms and treatment options.
      Dr. Kenny

  23. Thank you for answering so quickly. I have booked my nephew in to see his doctor this week and he has asked me to be there with him, which I am quite glad about. He admits he has an anger/violent streak and says it comes from the most trivial things sometimes. He is adament he does not and has not ever used substance or drugs but admits he smokes way too much tobacco. He says he often feels strong pangs or upset and depression and doesn’t always feel confident in a room full of people. He feels alienated by his own feelings often and cannot explain where this discomfort comes from. He has tried alcohol and admits it does not suit him as it makes him abusive, threatening sometimes and sometimes very very depressed. I will just see what his GP has to say. Thank you. Joanne

  24. i am wilth a women that has a child with adhd, we have been together for some time but not living together. Yet…. but have plans to in a year or so. He is 7 yrs old and has blow outs that yell and strike out at his mom! That burns my ass, i grew up that if you have no respect for your mother, then you will have noe respect for any women in your life..your wife daughter ect. I find this hard to deal with and i have 4 kids that live with me all the time, and afraid my kids will get hurt by him.
    How do i deal with this, or should i walk away…i hate giving up on anything in life , and i would feel i am with him, but i make decisions for just not me but as a hole for my family?
    Please help..

    • Hi Ross,
      ADD can be complicated and tricky.
      I would suggest getting more information about his condition, treatment and which treatments can help with the aggression and anger.
      There may also be some psychological or social issues which need working through before he moves in with you.
      I wouldn’t suggest walking away without some great efforts at treatment – as it seems you want to be reunited with your child.
      Best of luck.
      Dr. Kenny

  25. Dr.Kenny, the child is not mine, i have no connection to him other then threw his mother.I have 4 kids threw my first marrage, this is my second time around and trying to find the right things with all of us to put her and here son with me and my kids.
    I hopr this explains it better.
    So i not thinking of walking away from my own child.
    Anything more to add now i explained it better?
    I just find it hard to let someone(child) to control a parent, and home.

  26. Ross – thanks for clarifying.
    In this circumstance, you are caught between a desire to help your friend and her child with ADD, and watching out for your children’s best interests (which would include the ability to be brought up in a home without the risk of being hit etc.).
    I would suggest that you ask for details around the assessment and treatment of the ADD, and that you request a track record of no violence for this child to live in your home, for the reasons you explained above. Generally, good treatment for ADD lowers the risks of violence.
    See how that goes… In the end, this looks like a difficult choice – so I suggest you get clear on the parameters you would like in place and then you have to make a hard decision.
    Good luck.

  27. I’m an adult with ADHD who has only recently been formally diagnosed, but I’ve always “known” I had it, but chose to ignore it. What a mistake that has been. Looking back on the major mistakes in my life (and I’ve made many, specifically acts of domestic violence) I can say that I believe I would have made fewer of those mistakes had I been treating my ADHD.

    In the past I’d always believed that the impact of having ADD or ADHD was summarized in the name, “Attention Deficit Disorder”. Gee, sounds harmless. So a kid doodles in class and doesn’t get into Harvard, no big deal. Or a professional adult at the office in a meeting has to ask that something be explained again. Big whoop. Sadly, at age 30, I’m only now realizing the widespread impact of ADHD on my life. Up to this point I always figured I was just an angry individual. That maybe my parents had brought me up in such a way and taught me to react violently to certain stimuli. While that may be true to a point, I am convinced ADHD had much to do with many of my outbursts and verbal and nonverbal attacks on others.

    The above is my opinion based on my lifetime of experiences, education (and lack there of), my research and discussions with my physician and psychiatrist. It’s not an argument which is fully supported with concrete details. Simply an opinion and an implied recommendation that if you have a history of violence you should begin to investigate whether or not you have ADHD. I believe my life would be radically different today had I been diagnosed in my teens.

    • Ben,
      Thank you very much for sharing your experience. I believe your comments can really help other people – particularly parents of kids/teens who don’t agree with a diagnosis of ADHD or the treatment recommendations that their doctors make.
      I wish you well with your treatment, and I hope life gets better for you.

  28. I am 18 yrs old, I have a wife and a 3 yr old little girl. I’ve thought that I may have ADHD for going on 2 yrs now but am only now researching it. I have trouble sleeping at night and I stay depressed for no logical reason other than I over think things to the point where they really get to me. How I talk, walk and the list goes on forever never able to satisify myself. I fidget and can’t sit still literaly as in I can’t get comfortable when I’m sitting always changing positions and so on. I can focus but I have to focus on focusing. I only go to sleep when I’m completely exhausted even when I’ve worked all day rubing by feet together tossing and turning until I fall asleep. I get excited for no reason but a certain rush of energy. When I stayed with my mother I’ve had domestic problems, one with my step father who is a good man but not a fatherly figure which is what i believe would have helped growing up. I’ve never fit in at school, getting evolved with drugs and acting out. I was very angry at the world and have hidden anger now. I’m impulsive as far as not thinking before I act or talk not just occasionally but all the time and I realize this all the time always trying to better my person its so stressfull, I’m sometimes forgetful. Long story short is that I want a long happy life just like everybody else and if I have ADHD then there is medications and therapy that can help me out. I’ve never went to a shrink about this its never really been this apparent to me. If I could have some reccomendations about what to do in my situation it would be greatly appreciated.

  29. I was just wanting to mention after reviewing my post that I quit school at 15 and was sent to a juvenile detention center 10 days after my 16 birthday for violating my proabtion for the domestic violence with my step father. You can’t quit school at 15 and failing drug tests for marijuana didn’t help my situatuion. When I was released I wised up I quess and got a job met my wife and didn’t have time to get in trouble. Since then I’ve got my GED and have attended a community college for computer science for a few months but I lost interest in it. I can control my anger and I love my family very much. I want the best out of live. Just didn’t want to leave that looking as though I’m a bad person and have no self control.

    • Rodney – thanks for sharing your story. You have done amazing things to turn yourself around!
      Most people start with their primary care doctor – asking about ADHD, and who they can see to get the diagnosis and treatment. If you are having any trouble with this, look for a local ADHD support group, and see if anyone there has any suggestions for you.
      You can also look for national organizations to give you more info and supports – like ADDA (, or CHADD,
      I hope that helps!
      Dr. Kenny

  30. My partner has ADHD and stopped his treatment 2 years ago, i have only just recently gotten with him and he is starting to show violent tendancies. I care about him and i want to help but i have a young son to think about and i have just gotten out of a bad relationship and am not ready to get into anouther possibly worse one. The only problem is that i am pregnant with his first child and i dont know what leaving him woud cause him to do, he flares upover stupid things like quiche variety and not getting his own way.
    Does someone have some adviceon how i can either get him back on medication or what would be the safest wy for me to seperate from him till he is able to control his temper. As i said i do care about him but i have a toddler and unborn baby to think about….. very confused and i have not known anyone who has had this before.

    Thank you for any help anyone can give me.

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