Living with ADHD

ADHD: You may know it as a loss of concentration, a childhood development problem, or the sign of an overly-energetic mind. But Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a serious condition that carries on into adulthood and causes problems for millions of people and their families. The toll of ADHD can be high, as jobs, relationships, and social lives suffer. The average age for ADHD onset is seven, and more than 11 percent of boys 3 to 17 years old have been diagnosed with the condition (only about 5.5 percent of girls struggled with ADHD). By 2012, more than 5.2 million children had been diagnosed in the United States.

The disorder is far from a childhood growing stage. ADHD is created by chemical reactions in the brain, making your processing and management abilities faulty. This can lead to a variety of chronic impairments, including learning disorders, depression, anxiety, and simple struggles to lead a cohesive daily life. Even worse, you may not realize that ADHD is the root cause of these problem and instead try to unsuccessfully treat the common symptoms of ADHD, like depression.

Most people assume that ADHD only means distractibility, procrastination, and difficulty paying attention to details. However, possible symptoms include poor memory, poor listening skills, and poor impulse control.

From Childhood Issue to Adult Disorder

While the chemical imbalances that cause ADHD become most evident in childhood, ADHD is not a childhood condition. Parts of the disorder carry on into adulthood, where they manifest themselves in different ways. So even in adulthood, ADHD can still prove debilitating. When children get into the classroom and show signs of hyperactivity and unnaturally high levels of distraction, their symptoms are compared with general ADHD patterns until a diagnosis can be made. But this is only the beginning.

As children pass into adolescence, many early ADHD symptoms disappear through maturation. However, in severe cases the childhood symptoms remain, and older patterns may be replaced with depression or anxiety. Disorganization and distractibility often remain problems during this time period.

By adulthood, only half of those originally suffering from true ADHD still have daily impairments. However, the distractibility, impulse problems, and discontent that characterizes ADHD can become highly damaging in early adulthood as people struggle to commit to jobs, relationships, and families. Some adults zone out at work and struggle to complete tasks, even when they have the competent skills – ADHD just makes it difficult to use the skills properly. Adults may also suffer from inverted symptoms, such as hyperfocus, where sufferers become lost in simple tasks and oblivious to other details such as time or priorities.

Treatments and Support Networks

Clearly, ADHD is a problem that starts in childhood and stands to extend all the way into the adult world. However, treatments are both widely available and frequently effective when practiced over time. The goal of ADHD treatments, especially among adults, is not to blanket the symptoms with medications. Instead, treatment depends upon diminishing the negative symptoms until a feeling of control is achieved. It is also necessary to embrace the positive sides of the condition…the natural creativity, multitasking, computer science skills, and other common qualities that come with ADHD.

When children suffer from ADHD, treatment is divided between proper action by parents and teachers, and medical actions such as therapy and prescriptions like Ritalin. Parents should become used to providing careful structures, keeping instruction brief, and focusing on positive elements of the condition.

There are two approaches to adult behavioral treatment, the self-help approach and the outside aid approach. Treatment works best when both methods are combined. Vocational counseling, behavioral coaching, educational assistance, and self-help groups can provide an invaluable foundation for individual efforts. On the personal side, exercise, sleep, healthy living, and conscientious work on relationships are all able to make ADHD that much more manageable. For severe cases, you can use therapy and medication to manage the worst symptoms, gradually helping people learn to live with ADHD.

Digging Down to Root Causes

Sadly, neurobehavioral disorders can be difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to trace back to original causes. Disagreements often arise over defining ADHD or explaining the prevalence of the disorder ina dvanced economy nations like the United States and the UK. But as researchers develop promising medications, a number of different potential causes are being examined.

Some causes are difficult to control, including genes, brain injuries, or even people’s relation to the  expanding digital world. But other potential sources, such as nutrition (for example, omega-3 fatty acids have a statistical link to the disorder) or a pregnant mother’s living conditions can be changed to help stop future cases of ADHD.

Sources for Information and Support

ADHD can be treated, accepted, and made part of a whole and happy life. However, many people struggle to deal with the condition on their own. Finding a support network of fellow ADHD patients and friends is key to understanding the disorder and overcoming common problems. Look into joining such a network today, and if necessary contact professionals to get the help you or a family member may need.

ADDitude Magazine

Living with ADHD (UK) and Living with ADHD (Australia)

ADDA: American Deficit Disorder Association

CHADD: Children and Adults with ADHD

Daily Strength: Parents of Children with ADHD Support Group