It’s ADHD Awareness Month. What better time to learn more about the subject?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder that affects children and adults alike. It is the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder in children, but the exact cause is unknown. It is more common in boys than in girls and is often discovered once a child hits school age.
Symptoms of ADHD
The exact symptoms vary from person to person, but the main three behaviors are in attention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. While the symptoms are similar, it does affect children and adults differently.
A child with ADHD gets distracted easily. He or she appears not be listening and doesn’t follow directions properly. These children will often be found daydreaming and find it difficult to stay organized. Daily activities are forgotten about and sitting still is a challenge.
Children with ADHD are able to pay attention when it’s something they enjoy, but will lose focus if the task is boring or repetitive.
A child needs to be somewhat organized during their school age, which is why ADHD is often caught then. Parents of these children will notice that they lose personal belongings or homework and have trouble completing projects.
This refers to problems of self-control. These children are more likely to interrupt conversations and find it difficult to wait their turn. They may sometimes find it difficult to make and keep friends.
A child who suffers from hyperactivity will find it difficult to sit still. They’ll squirm in their seats, touch everything in sight, wiggle and will find it hard to pay attention.
A child with these symptoms will not have an easy time in school. Labeling them as disruptive is common. This can lead to low self-esteem and frustration, and stress for the whole family. Fortunately, with proper treatment a child with ADHD can experience a huge improvement in their symptoms. With the right support, they can be successful in all areas of life, which is why it is crucial to get a child appropriately assessed and diagnosed.
- Disorganized or messy
- Struggles to finish tasks
- Finds it hard to pay attention
- Zones out
- Takes shortcuts
- Poor listening skills
- Chronic lateness
- Forgetting appointments
- Losing personal items (keys, phone, etc)
- Poor self-control with addictive tendencies
- Low self-esteem
- Easily stressed out, flustered and irritable
- Inner restlessness
In some ways, it’s even harder for an adult to have ADHD. While a child experiences much of the same symptoms, it is of course reflected differently in adults than it is with children due to the nature of life and responsibilities. It is also less socially acceptable to behave in certain ways as adults.
ADHD can affect personal relationships, the ability to hold down a job and general health problems. Forgetfulness might make a person forget or neglect their health. Addictiveness can lead to alcohol or drug abuse, or poor eating habits.
Holding down a job might be difficult if an adult finds it hard to complete tasks, participate in meetings and follow rules. Even managing finances can be tricky since it is easy to forget to pay bills and incur debts due to excessive spending.
The symptoms can also put a huge strain on personal relationships. The constant nagging to tidy up or listen can be frustrating. You might feel hurt and not accepted for who you are. This leads to self-confidence and under-achievement issues. Since it is also hard for a person with ADHD to listen attentively, a partner might get frustrated that his or her needs are not being taken care of.
These symptoms can be very overwhelming, and often having a diagnosis of ADHD can provide a source of relief and hope. It means you are not to blame, that you have real difficulties and that there is treatment that can really help.
Difference between ADHD and ADD
To put it simply, ADD is ADHD but without the hyperactivity aspect. ADD refers to being easily distracted, inattentive and forgetful. Girls and women are more likely to suffer from ADD. ADHD has the additional hyperactivity and impulsivity. However, nowadays, the term ADHD is used as an umbrella term to include ADD as well.
The positives of ADHD
Having ADHD isn’t a bad thing. It can be difficult at times, but there are so many positives too. People with ADHD are found to be more creative. They may notice things that others don’t see. Someone with this disorder also has a lot of energy, drive and enthusiasm for life. Once they find a task that interests them, they will be extremely motivated and focused to succeed. ADHD is found in people of all levels of intelligence.
Some argue that people with ADHD actually have higher IQs than people that don’t. Others are calling it an “Entrepreneur’s Superpower”. Bill Gates, Britney Spears, Michael Jordan and Albert Einstein are some of the successful CEOs and famous people that are said to have ADHD.
Does everyone have ADHD?
Although it may seem like it in 2018, the answer is no. A lot of people wrongly think that everyone suffers from ADHD and that it’s just part of our busy life. After all, who doesn’t feel overwhelmed, stressed out, restless and distracted? In today’s busy world, it’s easy to feel the same symptoms as a person with ADHD. We’re working harder. We have more tasks and responsibilities.
But this is merely a glimpse of what it feels like to have real ADHD. Multitasking and balancing life is stressful. People without it will be able to stop these feelings with a vacation or an escape of some sort. Those with ADHD, however, never escape from these feelings. They are constant. For them, even sitting on a beach with nothing to worry about may bring about feeling completely restless, bored, worried and lost.
ADHD is 100% real. So much so that people can die in severe cases, if left untreated. These people will self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. They might get into car accidents. They might even commit suicide because it all got a bit too much. ADHD is a disorder, and that means without treatment, people with it cannot cope in their daily lives.
There are plenty of treatment options for both children and adults. Many will need medication but it is not necessary in all cases, and it can often be controlled with better nutrition, behavior therapy, brain-training programs, mindfulness, better sleep, social skills training and more. Assessing children and adults individually is a good idea before deciding to take the medication route. The most important thing is to get a diagnosis and actively seek the right treatment plan.