It is common knowledge that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is a mental disorder identified most typically among children, but teens and adults are not strangers to this condition.
There is no better way to understand a person with ADHD than stepping into their world and seeing things through their eyes.
ADHD cannot be diagnosed through a specific test but through a series of procedures that may include physical exam, aptitude and personality evaluations, and neurological assessment among others. It is often recognized based on symptoms exhibited. Kathleen Smith, LPC, says, “ADHD influences the parts of the brain that help us with what is known as “executive functioning.” This includes problem-solving, planning for the future, evaluating behaviors, regulating emotions, and controlling our impulses.”
Most children are hyperactive by nature, but when they have frequent inability to pay attention, often forget things, get easily distracted and are impulsive, they may be showing signs of this disorder.
If a child, either your own or someone else’s, performs poorly at school because he appears to be having difficulty learning and remembering and is unable to focus, do not disregard and conclude that the child is merely slow. If a child fidgets a lot, is impatient and has a hard time waiting for his or her turn, gets frustrated easily and acts before thinking, it may not be pure misbehavior. Think twice and consider having the child seen by a specialist.
Teens and adults with ADHD may present similar signs. They may also experience frequent mood swings, anxiety and depression, are incapable of being organized, restless, often procrastinate, and have low self-esteem.
On the side, Michael Karson, Ph.D. stresses that “the reason ADHD is so commonly diagnosed when school starts is because, until school starts, there are not too many demands on children.”
Dealing with ADHD
Have you ever dealt with a hyperactive child who is difficult to control? Getting them to sit still and listen is a Herculean task on its own that you often find yourself on the brink of tearing your hair out. Or have you ever dealt with a teenager with massive attention issues, have trouble staying organized, and often gets distracted from tasks that make you want to throw in the towel and give up? Well, you are most likely not alone.
Not knowing about and, even more so, not understanding ADHD, can often lead to frustration. Before you know it, you are tiptoeing around anxiety yourself. So how exactly do you deal with an ADHD person?
Dr. Perpetua Neo, a psychologist who believes she has always had ADHD, said, “When I watch others struggle because their lifestyles and mindsets are fraught with ideas that their ADHD traits handicap them, are crippled via the effects of pharmaceutical medications, or when I see them blame themselves relentlessly, it is painful to watch. It reminds me of where I could have ended up.”
Patience is the key. Without it, you may find yourself threading through deep waters and finding the situation more difficult than it is.
When dealing with younger children, engage them in an activity that will grab their attention and teach them to focus for a short period, making it longer as you proceed. Observe how they interact with others and reward them for every good behavior they exhibit.
Teenagers with ADHD may be a challenge. Just remember that no amount of screaming or threatening will do any good. Be calm and try putting yourself in their shoes. Imagine how they may hate having their faults rubbed in their faces. Try pointing out the positive things they do and praise them or reward them for it.
Dealing with ADHD isn’t a one-sided affair. Keep in mind that you may not be the only one struggling. Those who are stuck with the disorder may be struggling to cope as well.
Having someone in your life that has ADHD, or even if you have ADHD yourself, doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the world. Understanding ADHD may help you deal with it in a less stressful way.