A Hitchhiker’s Guide to ADHD – Start Here!
You’ve suspect you have ADHD, you have been told you have ADHD OR you have recently been diagnosed with ADHD….
This post is going to help you get a better sense of what it means to have Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder.
Those of us who have ADHD may struggle with absorbing information in a specific way, or have additional challenges such as dyslexia, so I’ll include all types of media — books, videos, articles, quizzes, slideshows — hopefully you find something that speaks to you. Let’s begin:
What Is ADHD?
According to the experts, ADHD is largely a genetic brain difference, inherited at birth. What causes these genes responsible for ADHD to switch on or off? Well, the jury is still out on that. Studies have shown however that there are observable differences in the structure and function of ADHD brains. Since it’s highly heritable, children of those with ADHD, are far more likely to inherit this condition. ADHD can affect a person’s ability to control the focus of their attention, it can lead to lack of motivation, poor emotional and impulse control, inability to stay on task or finish tasks as well as many other issues.
The term ADHD has gone through a number of revisions over the past few decades but is a catchall phrase to describe a number of observable symptoms. These symptoms are further broken down into 3 broad categories: Type 1: Inattentive, Type 2: Hyperactive, Type 3: Combination Type. An in-depth, professional diagnosis from a qualified ADHD professional will give you a better understanding of which category you fall into, however this video from the amazing (and very helpful) Jessica McCabe, will give you a solid overview and also brings us to our next category….
Do I have ADHD?
Also, here are some online ADHD tests you can take to help you decide if you should seek a formal diagnosis for ADHD.
TotatallyADD.com Interactive Adult ADHD Test
NB: If you decide to apply for a professional diagnosis, ensure that your doctor or specialist is equipped to diagnose adult ADHD as many physicians are not.
ADHD in Adults
According to the the latest statistics, the fastest growing diagnosis group for ADHD belongs to adult women. More and more parents who receive a diagnosis of ADHD for their children come to realise that they have many of the same symptoms. As they learn more about ADHD through online research and speaking to medical professionals it becomes increasingly clear that they too have been living with undiagnosed ADHD. This is not a inconsequential thing. Left undiagnosed, ADHD can lead to anxiety, depression, poor self-esteem, emotional outbursts, poor social skills, drug addiction, car accidents and even in some cases, crime. This is why it’s so important to get this information out there, so more people, including health professionals, will be aware of condition and can recognise it more easily.
Here is a visual guide to Adult ADHD from WebMd:
Jessica McCabe from ‘How To ADHD‘ also has a great video you can share with loved ones who need to know more about your ADHD:
ADHD Symptoms in Women and How They Differ
Women with ADD/ADHD often suffer in silence compared with their male counterparts, says Patricia Quinn, MD, director of the National Center for Gender Issues and ADHD. She says women often develop strategies to hide their deficiencies, but in the process, feel ashamed and have low self-esteem. They frequently find it difficult to make social connections. And, even when things are going well, they feel frustrated and besieged.
Any of this sound familiar? It certainly did when I read it! Below are a few links to resources you might find useful if you would like to know more about ADHD in women and girls.
Our Kids and ADHD
Parenting at the best of times can be hard work, let’s be honest. But parents with ADHD find it especially difficult. Family life can often be a sensory assault with so many things vying for your attention – add to this the amount of high level ‘executive function’ needed to keep a household organised and on schedule — this can often be a personal nightmare for someone with ADHD. Attempting to parent a child with ADHD when you yourself have ADHD requires a lot of effort, a support system, an effective treatment plan as well as a large dose of compassion for yourself and your child. It’s so easy to be hard on ourselves, to be exasperated, frustrated and angry but this is when we need to search for empathy and understand that everyone’s doing the best they can with the tools they have available to them.
Here are some articles that may give you a little insight into parenting with ADHD and raising ADHD children.
The Science Stuff
It’s important to learn as much as you can about ADHD if you have it or if someone you love does. The science behind this particular ‘brain difference’ is pretty compelling and will help you fight the tsunami of misinformation and downright rubbish spread by those who don’t know any better.
The Positive Stuff
ADHD can be destructive and damaging when left undiagnosed and untreated. Once we learn to work with ADHD however, instead of fighting and struggling against it, many are able to experience profoundly positive outcomes.
CHADD.org (National Resource On ADHD – US)
South African Resources