ADHD Awareness Month
By: Andre Amaro, Masters Level Intern
Hello everyone! Welcome to the month of October. In case anyone did not know, October is ADHD Awareness Month. Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder consisting of persistent patterns of inattention (lack of attention, easily distracted), hyperactivity (being extremely active), and impulsivity (acting without thinking). Statistics say that over 6 million children have been diagnosed with ADHD, with boys being more likely to be diagnosed than girls. This disorder is mostly diagnosed in early childhood and follows an individual all the way to adulthood. The goal of this month is to help spread awareness about this disorder by educating the public about what is ADHD, what are the symptoms of this disorder, and how can this disorder be treated. As someone who works with children and adolescents with ADHD during sessions; I am aware of some of the difficulties that these individuals have to face and the challenges they have to overcome, especially when it comes to having to concentrate and focus on school, or when it comes to doing simple things at home such as doing chores or completing certain tasks and trying to stay organized.
As mentioned, ADHD consists of persistent patterns of inattention, hyperactivity. and impulsivity. Symptoms will look differently in each individual who has the disorder and there are specific presentations of ADHD as mentioned in the DSM-V. For example, some individuals will display the predominantly inattentive type, where they might experience symptoms such as difficulty paying close attention to details, difficulty sustaining attention, difficulty following directions, trouble staying organized and completing tasks, or becoming easily distracted. Then there are some individuals who may display the predominantly hyperactive/impulsive type where they might experience symptoms such as fidgeting, tapping, or constantly moving their hands, talking excessively, having difficulty waiting turns, interrupting others, and constantly on the go (always running around and jumping onto things). Lastly, some individuals may display the combined type where they will have mixed symptoms of both inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity. Regardless the type of presentation an individual with ADHD might display; all these symptoms can be troublesome because they can lead to social impairment and impact occupational functioning as an individual becomes older.
There are some common misconceptions about ADHD and it is unfortunate because individuals who have ADHD might get treated differently because of them. Some people believe people with ADHD have no control over themselves, are unable to concentrate, need more discipline as it is just an excuse for them to get out of things, and some even believe that ADHD is not real mental health disorder. These myths about ADHD are false as people with this disorder do have real difficulty controlling themselves but not all the time, and there are chemical differences in the brain for individuals who do have the disorder. There are many studies provided in various journal articles and textbooks that support the existence and issues of ADHD; therefore, it is very important that everyone becomes aware of them so those who do have the condition are not treated differently from others in society. It is important to know that ADHD can be treated and does not mean an individual with the disorder will not have a successful or healthy life. People with ADHD can actually be very smart, skilled, and resourceful people. Treatment options include various psychotherapies that focus on behavior management and the use of many different medications. The good thing is that those living with ADHD can learn to manage their symptoms and can gain better control of themselves, as long as they receive treatment and if their issues are caught sooner rather than later. This is why it is important to spread awareness of ADHD as this disorder is very common, especially in children. If you suspect your child or you may be suffering from symptoms of ADHD; do not be afraid to reach out to a mental health facility that can provide psychological testing and screening for this disorder, and do not be afraid to reach out to us here at Inner Courage Counseling if you need further information. I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to read my post for this month and hope we can all spread awareness of ADHD for the month of October. Please take care!