What is ADHD?
ADHD is a condition that is often misunderstood.
The term ADHD is short for attention deficit hyperactive disorder.
The term ‘disorder’ is misleading. Those with ADHD are not ‘disordered’, they are ‘different’ and have very special talents and gifts, and challenges. There is no such thing as a ‘normal’ brain. Every person is unique. We need to celebrate the unique strengths of each individual and value the contribution that they can make to the world. When channelled in the right way, ADHD is a real strength.
In adults, ADHD is characterised by the inability to organise behaviour over time and prepare for the future. It is the inability to regulate emotions and gain self-control, to prioritise, make decisions and get tasks done in a timely fashion.
If you have ADHD you will experience challenges with your executive functions, including impulsivity, hyperactivity, attention deficit and distractibility. Inconsistency in performance lies at the heart of ADHD.
ADHD does not affect your intelligence levels. Your creativity and inner resources far outweigh your ADHD deficits. You are probably highly intuitive, creative and resourceful. The world needs you and your unique strengths!
Your ADHD is separate from who you are and from your innate value as a person. No one can take your core value and inherent goodness away from you. The difference between just having ADHD traits, which we all do, and getting diagnosed with ADHD is F.I.D. This stands for Frequency, Intensity and Duration.
Knowledge and acceptance of your ADHD will bring empowerment and growth.
ADHD can be clearly seen in brain scans. This means that there are parts of the ADHD brain that looks different to those who don't have ADHD. ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition whereby some parts of the brain remain partially undeveloped and are smaller in size than neuro-typical brains.
Your brain development impacts your behaviour. If ADHD is a developmental delay, your brain age (in the area of your ADHD deficits) may be far younger than that of your peers, commonly up to ten years or more behind. Conversely, in your areas of strength, your brain age may be more developed than that of your peers. You may be living with a confusing mix of great strengths and deficits.
ADHD is genetic. If you have a parent with ADHD, you are eight times more likely to have it. The good news is that ADHD is one of the most treatable mental health conditions. However it is one of the most crippling mental health conditions when undiagnosed, and untreated. A client who suffered from a broken back, told me many times that his ADHD was far more crippling than his physical disability.
ADHD is still surrounded by huge stigma. It is a worldwide condition. Around 5% of adults around the world have ADHD. As of 2018, about 1.5 million adults in the UK are thought to have ADHD, but only 120,000 are diagnosed. Surveys of children between the ages of 5 and 15 years found that 3.62% of boys and 0.85% of girls had ADHD. In simple terms, this is three boys to one girl has ADHD. The tragic reality is that many more girls have ADHD than was previously thought.
The signs of ADHD in girls are often missed. They could be anxiety, depression, disorganisation, daydreaming, low self-esteem, withdrawn. These symptoms get worse over time if not treated. Many women get misdiagnosed with anxiety and depression when they really have ADHD.
Many female clients are on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds and are not feeling better! The ADHD condition needs to be addressed before addressing the other conditions.
Treatment for ADHD is "pills and skills" to improve life skills.
ADHD diagnosis and treatment in the UK is shocking. Many areas have a two-year waiting list for assessment and treatment. I am working with National ADHD organisations and charities to improve ADHD treatment in the UK and have access to a large number of expert psychiatrists who can help you get diagnosed and treated in a very short time (two to three weeks).
Do you have ADHD? Do you suspect you might have ADHD? Are you living with a loved one who may have ADHD? Don't suffer in silence, there is help out there.
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