ADHD & Dedication to Self-Control

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ADHD & Self-Control Attention deficient hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is closely linked with self-control due to the early onset of the disorder and its effects on self-regulation of behavior. Barkley (2005) suggests that ADHD individuals would not have had the ability to develop normal levels of self-control, which may contribute to other emotional, psychological, and wellbeing problems. While pharmacological therapy for the condition is more common, many parents are opposed to beginning their children on drug cycles, which otherwise affect their growth, and many adults prefer not to stay permanently on treatment (Barkley, 2005). As such, specialists in the field of ADHD research are investigating alternative methodologies to increase and nurture self-control in this rising at-risk demographic (Zylowska, Ackerman, Yang, Futrell, Horton, Hale, Pataki & Smalley, 2008). One such attempt is being made with mindfulness meditation for adults with ADHD to reduce anxiety, stress, and improve mood in ways correlated with the empowerment, which comes from self-control (Zylowska, Ackerman, Yang, Futrell, Horton, Hale, Pataki & Smalley, 2008). While a child with ADHD may have difficulty seeing that pleasure delaying and other aspects of self-control give sustained benefits, adults may be more likely to see how such behavior works. The majority of adults who have engaged in clinical studies on the effects of mindfulness meditation on increasing self-control for adults with ADHD have reported high levels of satisfaction (Zylowska, Ackerman, Yang, Futrell, Horton, Hale, Pataki & Smalley, 2008). Such satisfaction comes from empowerment, which pharmacological treatments cannot supplement (Barkley, 2005). However, this approach may benefit from creative application for children with ADHD as children will benefit from self-control training as much as adults.


Barkley, R.A. (2005). ADHD and the Nature of Self-control. New York: The Guilford Press.

Zylowska, L., Ackerman, D. L., Yang, M. H., Futrell, J. L., Horton, N. L., Hale, T. S., Pataki, C. & Smalley, S. L. (2008). Mindfulness meditation training in adults and adolescents with ADHD: a feasibility study. Journal of Attention Disorders, 11(6), 737-746.

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