October is ADHD Awareness Month
By: Lauren Buckly, Masters Level Intern
October is considered ADHD Awareness month, which has inspired ADHD as my topic for this blog. I want to start off with identifying ADHD and how it may present. ADHD is identified in the DSM-5-TR as “A persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development” (American Psychiatric Association, 2022). It can be categorized within inattention, hyperactivity, or combined. As for predominant inattention, symptoms can include difficulty with the following: giving close attention to details, making careless mistakes, sustaining attention, listening when spoken to directly, following through on instructions, organizing tasks, engaging in tasks that requires sustained mental effort, losing objects, distraction by environmental factors, and forgetfulness (American Psychiatric Association, 2022). For predominant hyperactivity, symptoms can include difficulty with the following: fidgeting, leaving one’s seat, running or climbing into situations where it is inappropriate, playing or engaging in activities quietly, frequently being “on the go”, talking excessively, blurting out answers, waiting one’s turn, and interrupting or intruding (American Psychiatric Association, 2022). If both inattention and hyperactivity symptomology are experienced, it may be considered a combined presentation. It is important to mention that these symptoms may present differently throughout various populations. Referring to a mental health professional to assess the context and severity of symptomatology is required to properly inform a diagnosis.
Addressing the stigma associated with ADHD is significant as it can limit understanding of those that present with the disorder. This includes acknowledging misconceptions, beliefs, and uncertainties around possessing ADHD. Asking questions and understanding ADHD through reliable resources can help advocate for and promote education toward awareness and credible information. This process can be facilitated through educational workshops, support groups, professional testing, and more. Further, seeking research that is evidenced based, well-supported, and reliable helps inform best practice.
Living with ADHD may be challenging as it can impact the quality of one’s relationships, functioning, academics, self-esteem, and more. Helping loved ones with ADHD may be facilitated through ongoing support, counseling, educational services, medical intervention, or more. It is also important to understand contextual and multicultural factors within supporting individuals that present with ADHD. Integrating inclusion, cultural sensitivity, respect, and unconditional positive regard is imperative in not only serving populations with ADHD but within multiple conditions and symptoms that individuals may present with. As a future professional counselor, I aim to further my knowledge around ADHD by expanding my experience with the population, engaging in research, and attending educational workshops. I look forward to the continued process of learning about how I can best serve the population within the variety of clients I treat.
American Psychiatric Association (2022). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5-TR. American Psychiatric Association.