Last night was the Triangle Adult ADHD Meetup and I played portions of Dr. Russell Barkley’s CHADD keynote about emotion and ADHD. It was well received, even though some of his assertions are still controversial and unproven.

You can catch a snippet of the idea here:

Bottom line is that Barkley now believes that emotion is a key component of ADHD. He has convincing arguments that our ADHD emotions are NORMAL emotions but because of the faulty control mechanism in our pre-frontal lobe, we can’t regulate those emotions. He is adamant that many (not all) of the conditions that are “co-morbid” (co-exist) with ADHD are misdiagnosed. He talks about “bottom up” inappropriate emotions that manifest in conditions such as bipolar disorder and sometimes depression but in his opinion ADHD is a TOP DOWN emotions issue. The emotions are normal not pathologized. He also pointed out some obvious but potent reminders that negative emotions play a major role in ADHD (“people can forgive your happiness, but they can’t forgive your hostility”). In particular, he says relationships suffer, driving (especially road rage), drinking while driving, car crashes (but not speeding surprisingly) and employment suffer, too. Just wanted to give you a heads up…emotion is a key word for ADHD this year. Expect to hear more.