October: ADHD Awareness Month
What does it look like?
Does my child have it?
By: Jessica Davis, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor
If you have ever noticed the following symptoms in your loved one, then they may be struggling with a neurological disorder known as ADHD (Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder). This disorder affects 1 out of every 15 kids and 1 out of every 24 adults.
- Inability to recognize other people’s needs
- Interrupts conversations or games
- Cannot wait their turn/impatient
- Anger outbursts
- Doesn’t seem to listen to directions
- Poor memory
- Poor listener
- Emotionally sensitive
- Physically sensitive (textures, food)
- Cannot sit still/fidgety
- Cannot play quietly
- Doesn’t finish tasks
- Avoids tasks that require sustained mental effort
- Makes careless mistakes
- Daydreams often
- Poor organization
- Easily forgetful
- Talks excessively
These symptoms must be displayed in at least two settings: home, school, or the community. It is also important to understand that having one or two of these symptoms doesn’t mean someone has ADHD. At least six of these symptoms have to be present to be diagnosed with ADHD.
Undiagnosed and untreated ADHD can lead to divorce, unplanned pregnancies, bankruptcy, addiction, dropping out of school, car accidents, getting fired from a job, suicide, and ER visits.
Early intervention is always best practice for a successful outcome. Children with this disorder are often scrutinized by parents, teachers, and peers. They are misunderstood and constantly blamed for things that are truly out of their control.
Quotes from some of my clients:
“My brain feels like a fish out of water.”
“I just gaze out on life.”
“I feel all wiggly inside.”
“It’s like my mind is all knotted up.”
“Imagine you’re in a room with 10 televisions and 10 radios going on all at the same time.”
Symptoms of this disorder can be managed through various means such as exercise, better nutrition, meditation, behavior therapy, and sometimes medication.
There are many positive aspects of this disorder that go unnoticed. Children and adults with this disorder are very good at multitasking, have a remarkable memory if it is something they enjoy, and have lots of energy! They will succeed at high pressure and creative fields such as police force, sales, military, fire and rescue, Hollywood, Wall Street, and sports.
Famous people who you may recognize that have been diagnosed with ADHD are: Adam Levine, Michael Jordan, Channing Tatum, Tim Howard, Justin Timberlake, Lisa Ling, Michael Phelps, Terry Bradshaw, will.i.am, Howie Mandel, and Ty Pennington.
If you or someone you know is struggling with ADHD my advice to you is to get educated. Don’t be afraid to get a “label.” A label is simply an answer. Once you get an answer then you can seek out more information to help your child succeed in life. Embrace the qualities your child is good at instead of focusing on what they are doing wrong because “everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole believing it is stupid.”