There are a lot of good ADHD resources out there. First-hand accounts, tips for treatment and books by experts (not to mention books by “experts”).
Available ADHD resources range from the informative to the entertaining to the scientifically questionable. There’s a lifetime supply of both worthwhile and worthless reading on ADHD waiting to be read.
But there’s only one ADHD resource you really can’t live without: Google Scholar.
Google Scholar: it’s not the ADHD resource you want, but it’s the ADHD resource you need.
The unfortunate truth is that there are a lot of people writing about ADHD who have no business writing about ADHD. There are a lot of people looking to make money off of ADHDers, and there are also a lot of well-meaning authors who nonetheless make a living doling out unproven advice that isn’t really grounded in the science. For people trying to learn more about ADHD, it gets to be hard work trying to tell the good from the bad, the factual from the fictional.
Google scholar, which lets you instantaneously search a massive amount of peer-reviewed literature, is the one place where you can just cut through the crap. It’s my favorite resource for learning about ADHD, and I can honestly say that my understanding of ADHD would probably be much more superficial without it.
Let me give you an example.
A few weeks ago, I got curious about the connection between caffeine and ADHD. I started wondering: would I still have an insatiable coffee habit if I didn’t have this neuropsychiatric disrder? So I headed over to Google Scholar and typed in “caffeine ADHD.” And right away, pages of peer-reviewed, published research on the topic waiting to be read through or sorted, for example, based on year of publication. And as you can see from my post on the subject, a pretty clear picture of what researchers currently know about the relationship between coffee and ADHD emerged.
Then I headed over to regular Google and entered the same query. The results I got were confusing at best. In the first few pages alone, I encountered articles saying that coffee was a legitimate treatment for ADHD, others saying caffeine had no effect on ADHD symptoms and even articles suggesting that caffeine consumption could cause ADHD.
And that’s the only important difference between articles that are peer-reviewed and ones that aren’t. When something’s not peer-reviewed, you can write whatever the hell you want. And in the case of ADHD, people do.
Now you may think you’re not enough of a nerd to read the actual scientific research on ADHD. But here’s why going straight to the source is actually much easier than reading a wildly biased New York Times writeup: to get the gist of a published article in a scientific journal, you only need to read the abstract, a short summary at the beginning of the article. Reading the abstract of a scientific article is actually much easier than reading some bullshit website by someone who says “M.D.” after their name when they introduce themselves, and the info you get is probably going to be a lot more useful anyway. Just try it a few times and you’ll be surprised how easy it is.
Of course, there’s a lot of things you can’t get from peer-reviewed research like first-hand accounts and more integrated advice on treatment strategies.
But there’s one thing you can get that ADHDers can’t count on getting anywhere else: facts. And with the hysterical media frenzy and counter-frenzy swirling around everything ADHD-related, facts are worth their weight in gold.