Have you ever heard someone say “that child does not have ADHD, he just has bad parents” or “that person does not have ADHD, they are just unorganized”. Wake up to modern medicine people, because nearly every mainstream medical, psychological, and educational organization in the United States long ago concluded that Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a real, brain-based medical disorder. In fact ADHD is one of the most common brain function disorders, that affects emotion, learning, and memory. Recent data indicates that up to 8-10% of school age children “pass the test” for having ADHD.
There are Three Types of ADHD
- Inattentive – the person shows a lack of focus in many areas but does not have problems with impulsivity or hyperactivity. This used to be called ADD.
- Hyperactivity – the person doesn’t have a problem focusing, but has issues with impulse control.
- Combined – this is the most common type. The person struggles with paying attention as well as controlling behavior.
People who have symptoms of inattention may:
- Be easily distracted, miss details, forget things, and frequently switch from one activity to another
- Have difficulty focusing on one thing
- Become bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless they are doing something enjoyable
- Have difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task or learning something new
- Have trouble completing or turning in assignments, often losing things and may need help to complete tasks or activities
- Not seem to listen when spoken to
- Daydream, become easily confused, and move slowly
- Have difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as others
- Struggle to follow instructions
People who have symptoms of hyperactivity may:
- Fidget, tap on things or squirm
- Talk non-stop
- Dash around, and touch things for no reason
- Have trouble sitting still during a movie
- Be constantly in motion
- Have difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities.
People who have symptoms of impulsivity may:
- Be very impatient
- Blurt out inappropriate comments
- Show their emotions without restraint
- Act without regard for consequences
- Have difficulty waiting for things they want or waiting in line
- Often interrupt conversations or others’ activities.
There are several types of available treatments. They focus on reducing the symptoms of ADHD and improving functioning. Treatments include medication, various types of psychotherapy, education (training) or a combination of treatments.
Pharmacological – studies show that this is the preferred treatment of choice for ADHD. Focus is on improving attention and behavioral regulation.
Behavioral Therapy – focus is on teaching. The strategies are designed to improve the frequency and duration of positive, on-task behaviors. A reinforcement schedule is established. Finally, you modify the environment to focus of the person’s strengths and weaknesses.
People with ADHD need guidance and understanding from their work and peer group to reach their full potential and to succeed in life. Before someone is diagnosed, frustration, blame, and anger may have built up within a family. Mental health professionals can educate people about ADHD treatment and how it impacts a family.
Important Last note: ADHD is NOT caused by moral failure, poor parenting, family problems, poor teachers, too much TV, food allergies, or excess sugar. Instead, research shows that ADHD is both highly genetic (with the majority of ADHD cases having a genetic component), and a brain-based disorder (with the symptoms of ADHD linked to many specific brain areas). Just because “when I was a child, folks didn’t have an ADHD excuse, we just gave people more disciple, not medication”. I can also hear “I can’t believe these parents today, giving ‘dem little children medication – that’s disgusting and lazy”. Well that’s fine to have a different opinion. Just remember that is was not long ago, that someone who was mentally ill was treated by the following methods.
- Insulin-induced comas
- Malarial infections
- Electroshock therapy
Today, that same person might be diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, treated with medication and live a long happy life!