Jul 1, 2014 · 1 minute


Last year, 11 precent of children in the US were diagnosed with ADHD. That's an all-time high and a 42% increase since 2003. Meanwhile, up to 1 in 5 college students not diagnosed with ADHD take medication like Adderall and Ritalin, either for recreation or what they perceive to be in leg up in their studies.

But how do the drugs work? What effect to they have on someone with ADHD versus someone without the condition? How effective are they?

The effectiveness question is tricky. Some evidence shows that behavioral therapy is more effective than medication. Other studies show that drugs like Adderall and Ritalin don't even boost kids' grades. Instead, what often happens is that parents falsely perceive that their child is doing better in school because his or her behavior has improved, thanks to the medication. And sorry college kids (or entrepreneurs): Adderall doesn't make you smarter. As a stimulant, it helps you focus, but it won't let you unlock crazy parts of your brain like in the movie Limitless.

The truth is, when talking about brain conditions and treatments, there's often a whole lot we don't know. But we boiled down the facts into a two-minute smooth hip-hop jam and music video. Focus up and check out the clip above.

Note: This will Explainer Music's last PandoHouse Rock video, at least for a while. It's been a wild two years and we've loved the opportunity to work with Pando on producing experimental, creative work. We've explained the complex debate over GMOs, used Super Mario Bros to explain how bitcoin works, created a slow jam about the safety and science of e-cigarettes, unpacked the intricacies of copyright law, and even wrote a musical theater-style medley about the crazy life of John McAfee. Oh, and there was the one about porn.

We've greatly appreciated the amount of freedom afforded to us by Pando, and the freedom they gave us to turn their site into a bizarre theater of absurdity twice a month.

[music video by Explainer Music, Chris Moore, Henry Ruppe, and Brandon Amato]