What Is ADHD?
Do you or someone you know have difficulty staying on task? Are you often distracted by simple, seemingly meaningless things? Do you frequently find yourself in the middle of multiple projects but have a hard time completing any of them? Many people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) suffer from these and similar symptoms. Other symptoms of ADHD may include:
- Excessive activity
- Frequent mood swings
- Trouble concentrating
- Problems paying attention
People with ADHD usually do not experience all these symptoms but will frequently experience one or more on a regular basis. This can have a significantly negative impact on their ability to function in everyday routines, both at work and at home. The resulting conflicts that can arise from these symptoms can make it hinder an individual’s ability to live a happy and productive life. However, with professional guidance and personal effort, an individual can gain the skills necessary to manage these symptoms and develop behavior patterns that help them reach goals that they previously thought were unattainable.
Attention deficit disorder (ADD) is a similar disorder with many of the same features as ADHD but without excessive activity or persistent restlessness. It is possible that an ADHD diagnosis as a child will continue more accurately diagnosed as ADD in adulthood. Call Thriveworks Amherst to work with an ADHD therapist at (413) 634-4805!
The exact cause of ADHD or ADD is not known, even though it is frequently diagnosed, particularly in children and adolescents. Research has discovered that five to seven percent of children are diagnosed with this disorder. Other studies have found that an estimated 51.1 million people suffer from ADHD or ADD. About 30–50% of people diagnosed with ADHD as a child, continue to experience similar symptoms in adulthood. It is estimated that between two to five percent of all adults have ADHD/ADD. It has also been revealed that this disorder is three times more likely to be diagnosed in boys than girls. However, these results may be skewed due to the fact that the disorder may manifest differently in girls. Females with ADHD typically have more internalized symptoms such as forgetfulness, inattentiveness, and low self-esteem.
ADHD can occur along with with other related conditions such as:
- Oppositional defiant disorder (in children)
- Sleep disorders
- Restless legs syndrome
- Learning disabilities
- Mood disorders including depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder
- Substance use disorder
- Tourette syndrome
- Sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
One of the most negatively impactful characteristics of ADHD is its disruption of an individual’s ability to manage their time. People suffering from ADHD are continually late for events whether vocational or recreational. These individuals are often mistaken to be lazy or thoughtless. While this may be far from the truth, what is true is that the person with ADHD is prone to distractibility which sets the stage for them to lose track of time. Effective treatment can often train the individual with ADD in organizational and planning skills, which can help overcome this tendency. A competent therapist, trained and experienced in the treatment of ADHD, can help the person with ADHD use devises that they may already, such as a smartphones, tablets or laptops, more efficiently and effectively. The result is that the individual can better manage their schedule and develop functional routines more efficiently. Another strategy is to effectively prioritize activities so that more important tasks are completed first, which is a key component of time management.
Improved organizational skills can also be effective mechanisms in managing symptoms and regaining control of one’s life. An experienced therapist can be very helpful to the person with ADHD develop these skills and learn strategies to maintain them. These skills may include:
- Organizing one’s work area:Keeping tools and materials in the same place will help identify where an essential tool is when it is needed. This will be important in attempting to complete tasks in a timely manner.
- Structuring the environment to minimize distractions:In order to maintain one’s attention to task, it is important to situate oneself in a position to limit visual and audible distractions. The use of music or “white noise” may be effective in minimizing distractive sounds.
- Prioritize one’s work:Without ranking tasks in order of importance, the most recently presented job or activity is most likely to be attended to. Prioritizing assignments or responsibilities will help complete the more important ones first.
- Use “To Do” lists:After work is prioritized, it is important to write them in order of priority. People are highly responsive to visual stimuli. Seeing our tasks in front of us will allow us to finish them more systematically and efficiently.
ADHD’s Impact on Relationships
People with ADHD often find themselves in conversations with loved ones but will soon lose track of the original subject. This may result is their loved one getting the impression that the person has lost interest. The result may be accusations of being insensitive and uncaring. The person with ADHD may also be in an important meeting on the job and realize they have lost their train of thought and no longer can follow the focus of the meeting. This may give the impression that the person with ADHD is incompetent, leading to misunderstandings between supervisors and worker. For the person with ADHD, staying focused is a never-ending challenge. Again, treatment conducted by a competent therapist can teach effective listening skills that are crucial in both professional and social situations.
Associated Shame and Guilt with ADHD
Accusations of laziness and not caring, both at the workplace and home will often lead to feelings of shame and guilt. The stigma of being labeled will often also make it difficult for the person with ADHD to admit that need help. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), estimated that less than 20 percent of adults with ADHD have received treatment. However, the truth is, ADHD is a very real condition that can be overcome with quality care and treatment. There’s no shame in asking for help, and the help that is received can increase one’s self-efficacy and have a profound positive impact on one’s self-image. The outcome is a more productive and fulfilling life.
If you or someone you know suffers from ADD/ADHD, the counselors at Thriveworks Amherst can help. The therapist at Thriveworks Amherst, are trained and experienced in the treatment of ADHD and other associated problems and disorders. So, don’t let ADHD define you. Contact the counselors at Thriveworks Amherst by calling (413) 634 4805. They are there to help!