ADHD Awareness Month

By Autumn Tindal, Undergraduate Intern

October is ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) Awareness Month. ADHD awareness is growing around the world but often people who are not recognized for ADHD are not getting treated which takes a toll on their well-being. It is important to spread the word about what ADHD is and is not so more people can be helped. ADHD can be present in children but also adults. ADHD during childhood can affect their school and social environment. Parents can effectively manage their child’s symptoms, leading to positive outcomes at home and in school. It is important to not forget that adults may also struggle with ADHD which can affect performance at work on in their careers as well as affecting day-to-day responsibilities. The goal of this month is to highlight misunderstandings while providing people with information about ADHD and resources available.

First, I want to talk about some myths about ADHD that may perpetuate stigma

  • MYTH: “People with ADHD just can’t concentrate”
    • FACT: Individuals with ADHD can concentrate if the activity they are doing is of interest to them
  • MYTH: “ADHD is caused by bad parenting”
    • FACT: The disorder comes from environmental and genetic risk factors
  • MYTH: “All children grow out of ADHD”
    • FACT: Symptoms persist in 50-86% of people with ADHD
  • MYTH: “Children with ADHD just need more discipline”
    • FACT: Relationship or discipline problems are not the cause of ADHD behavior problems,  they are the consequences of it

As you can see there are some misconceptions out there. Healthcare providers use the guidelines in the APA DSM-5 to help diagnose ADHD. This ensures that people are appropriately diagnosed. People with ADHD show a persistent pattern of inattention and hyperactivity. From the CDC website here is more information about symptoms that may be present.

Inattention symptoms (present for at least 6 months) can include:

  • Having trouble holding attention on tasks or activities
  • Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
  • Fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace
  • Loses things necessary for tasks and activities (pencils, books, keys, paperwork, glasses)
  • Trouble organizing tasks and activities; often easily distracted

Hyperactivity symptoms (present for at least 6 months):

  • Often fidgets with or taps hands or feet
  • Is often “on the go” acting as if “driven by a motor”
  • Often talks excessively
  • Often has trouble waiting their turn
  • Often interrupts on others or intrudes

While almost everyone may have symptoms similar to ADHD it is important to note that ADHD is diagnosed when symptoms are severe enough to cause ongoing problems in your life. ADHD can be managed in adulthood as well as childhood. Here are a few ways to manage ADHD

  • Create a routine and schedule
  • For parents, give clear, effective directions
  • Learn to meditate and practice mindfulness
  • Avoid multitasking
  • Practice self-compassion
  • Break tasks down to smaller steps
  • Use alarms and reminders
  • Medication

There are so many ways to still live your life if you have ADHD. There are a ton of resources out there with tips and tricks. As a parent, it can be hard to manage the challenges that ADHD presents. Remember that you are not alone and there is help and support out there. I hope this post gave more insight on what ADHD is, how it can affect someone’s life, and ways to manage it.

October is ADHD Awareness month so spread the word and we can reduce the stigma behind it while highlighting the supports available.

**Information obtained from https://www.adhdawarenessmonth.org/ and https://chadd.org/awareness-month/

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