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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD, ADD)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD, is one of the most common mental disorders that develop in children. Children with ADHD have impaired functioning in multiple settings, including home, school, and in relationships with peers. If untreated, the disorder can have long-term adverse effects into adolescence and adulthood. Learn more about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD, ADD).

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Featured Studies

Featured studies include only those currently recruiting participants. Studies with the most recent start date appear first.

A Novel fNIRS Neurofeedback Intervention for Enhancement of Working Memory in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: June 24, 2019
Location: Stanford, California
Eligibility: Ages 7–9, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

The proposed study is to test and validate a novel intervention that integrates computerized cognitive training with real-time neuromonitoring and neurofeedback to enhance working memory by probing the individualized neural systems underlying working memory. We will test the proposed intervention on children with ADHD with working memory deficits. The R61 proof-of-concept phase will assess the target engagement, effective dose and feasibility.

Collaborative Care for Children's Mental Health Problems

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: August 1, 2017
Location: Tehran, Iran, Islamic Republic of
Eligibility: Ages 5–15, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

Background: Mental health problems cause a disproportionate burden of disability among children and youth compared to adults. Primary care plays an important role in efforts to prevent and intervene early in the course of child and adolescent mental health problems. While research with adults has shown the feasibility of integrating mental health care into primary care settings, there have been few studies among children and youth. Evidence remains lacking that integration is feasible in diverse settings, that it improves outcomes, and that methods can be developed to address the mixed symptoms of emerging child/youth problems and their overlap with developmental and parental disorders.

Goals: The purpose of this project is to test the effectiveness of adding a child/youth mental health component into an existing collaborative care program for adult mental health problems. The work will refine a framework for efficient cultural adaption and tailoring of an existing child/youth primary care mental health intervention and then test whether the tailored intervention results in improved child and parent outcomes. The work will also provide evidence about the mechanisms by which those outcomes are achieved and what factors influence uptake of the child/youth component by general practitioners (GPs). These results should be generalizable to low and middle income countries and to underserved areas of the US where there are minimal child mental health resources and family physicians provide the bulk of medical care for children and youth.

Methods: The planned work involves the adaptation/tailoring process followed by a trial with 45 GPs already engaged in collaborative care for adults; the trial will study adding collaborative care for children ages 5-15. GPs will be randomly assigned in groups to begin 6-month control periods involving child mental health screening and referral. They will then receive child/youth training and begin second 6-month periods of screening plus ongoing coaching and booster sessions and collaborative management. Primary outcomes will be measured by recruiting and following for 6 months two cohorts of children/youth and their parents (one control, one collaborative care). Data collected from GPs, parents, youth, and the collaborative care data system will allow measurement of key factors that determine the program's success in helping children and families.

Sleep Dysfunction and Neurocognitive Outcomes in Adolescent ADHD

Study Type: Observational
Start Date: August 31, 2016
Location: Durham, North Carolina
Eligibility: Ages 13–17, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

This study seeks to characterize sleep physiology in adolescents with and without Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and its relationship to differential neurocognitive and clinical outcomes within these groups.

Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA) Self-Activation in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: August 31, 2016
Location: Durham, North Carolina
Eligibility: Ages 18–45, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

The purpose of this study is to see if a non-medication intervention can increase motivation in individuals with ADHD by observing brain activity using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Virtual Reality Attention Management

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: June 2, 2016
Location: Sacramento, California
Eligibility: Ages 8–12, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

Problems with distraction are widespread in the 21st century, but for people with developmental delays or behavioral challenges they can have more damaging effects. For example, susceptibility to distraction is associated with worse school and social performance, lower high school graduation rates, and increased incidence of serious accidents. The investigators' goal is to improve understanding of distractibility and develop a targeted treatment. The proposed intervention is based on models of habituation, which is a term that means reduced physiological and emotional response to a stimulus (e.g. moving object, or loud noise, etc.) as it is seen repeatedly. The investigators use virtual reality technology to show study participants distracting stimuli repeatedly in a virtual classroom setting, and their hypothesis states that participants will improve attention in the face of distraction by training with this technology intervention. The virtual classroom setting is especially relevant for children who have significant challenges with distractibility, such as children with ADHD. This intervention will likely be effective in helping individuals with other clinical disorders and perhaps the general population as well.

Neuroimaging Study of Risk Factors for Adolescent Bipolar Disorder

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: November 30, 2015
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Eligibility: Ages 10–18, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

The main purpose of this study is to see the affects of the study medication called mixed amphetamine salts-extended release (MAS-XR) on brain function by taking brain pictures. The researchers also want to see if MAS-XR makes your child more or less likely to develop problems like acting out (i.e. periods of irritability, agitation, aggression).

MAS-XR is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults, children and adolescents.

Psychological Treatments for Youth With Severe Irritability.

Study Type: Observational
Start Date: November 17, 2015
Location: Bethesda, Maryland
Eligibility: Ages 8–18, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers


When children have severe irritability and temper outbursts, they can be so cranky or angry that it leads to problems at home, in school, and with friends. This is called Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD) and there have been no psychological treatments developed specifically for children with this problem. Researchers think two forms of therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Interpretation Bias Training (IBT), might help children with DMDD.


To test two whether IBT and CBT can decrease severe irritability in children and youth.


Children 8-17 years old with DMDD. Their symptoms must have started before age 10.


Participants will be screened with a review of their symptoms. Parents and participants will answer questions.

Participants can do only one or both of these treatments if they wish. Those who wish to do both will start with IBT.

Participants who do CBT will have 12-16 weekly meetings of research talk therapy. A parent will participate in part of the sessions.

Participants will talk about what makes them irritable and how it affects them. They may be put in situations that might make them annoyed or irritable.

Participants will rate how intense their irritability is. Parents and participants will complete rating scales, questionnaires, and interviews.

Participants will do practice activities at home.

Participants doing IBT will have up to 14 sessions over 10 weeks.

Participants will view 15 faces, one at a time, on a computer. They will choose if the face looks happy or angry on a computer. Sometimes the computer gives feedback. Participants will complete some sessions at the NIH and some at home.

Participants and parents answer questions about their progress.

Assessment of Children With Tic Onset in the Past 6 Months

Study Type: Observational
Start Date: August 31, 2010
Location: Saint Louis, Missouri
Eligibility: Ages 5–10, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

The purpose of this research is to study why most children who have tics never develop Tourette syndrome but some do. In other words, we aim to find features that may predict whose tics will go away and whose tics will continue or worsen, in children ages 5 through 10 years whose first tic occurred within the past 9 months.

Brain Imaging and Computer Games in Children With Either Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, Anxiety or Healthy Controls

Study Type: Observational
Start Date: July 31, 2007
Location: East Providence, Rhode Island
Eligibility: Ages 7–17, Accepts Healthy Volunteers

The purpose of this research is to learn more about how children with mental health problems, including bipolar disorder (BD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), differ from children without these problems. The investigators want to understand how these 4 groups of children differ in brain activity, function, and structure.