Attenion Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - a term many of us are familiar with, but the condition of which isn't as understood as it should be. In this blog, we dive into the disorder, its causes, its symptoms, and most importantly, how to treat it.
No two human minds will ever develop the same way, but there are some patterns that we can see if we look closely enough. There are people who burst at the seams with ideas, those who learn quickly before getting bored of a topic, and those who cannot focus on essential tasks, even when they really want to.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been around in various forms throughout humanity’s existence. Despite this, it has been largely unacknowledged. For the first time, people all around the world are realizing what ADHD is and the role that it can play in a person’s life.
Driven by this change, more people are realizing they have ADHD, and they never even knew it.
Painting a Realistic Picture of ADHD
The term “ADHD” is not always easy to align with when you first hear it. Most people do not want to be associated with something that has “deficit” in the title, but the reality is that ADHD is not a shortcoming or missed opportunity. It simply means that your mind can sometimes work in different ways.
There are many prominent and incredible people with ADHD all around the world–Emma Watson, Channing Tatum, Ryan Gosling, Zooey Deschanel, and even Will Smith. That’s quite an exclusive club to be a part of!
When you have ADHD, it can sometimes leave you feeling like you are two different people. One minute, you may find yourself accomplishing more than you ever have before. An hour later, you may end up incapable of focusing on a much easier task. There are two sides to the ADHD coin, and the key is learning to live with both. Many things, including modern therapy, can assist with this.
ADHD brains are wired for novelty and engagement. This can make people who have ADHD natural visionaries, leaving them able to think outside of the box and come up with creative solutions. Of course, it also means that they can be prone to boredom when they are not properly engaged. In some instances, this may cause them to struggle with crucial tasks, leading to shame, as well as anxiety and depression.
The same mind that can come up with a revolutionary idea may struggle to show that same level of passion when it comes to getting the dishes done. In fact, sometimes, doing the dishes can feel impossible. It isn’t just about energy or rest–it is about the very functions at work inside the human brain. Executive functioning, in particular, plays a key role here.
People with ADHD often live in a very specific dichotomy–times when they feel like they can do everything and times when society makes them feel like they are incapable of anything.
The latter part of this split is even more difficult for those with ADHD because they often experience rejection sensitivity. Known for feeling emotions on a much deeper level, people with ADHD really struggle on those days when nothing is going right. For some, this can lead to anxiety, depression, and even trouble in relationships.
Critical Systems and Creative Outcomes
Life with ADHD can be bold and vibrant, thrilling and engaging. It can also be very frustrating, and when you have ADHD, filtering out negative emotions does not come easy. When you hear someone say they are struggling with their ADHD, it often comes down to one thing–executive functioning.
Executive functioning explains the processes in our minds that allow us to control our thoughts and behaviors. Executive dysfunction, which is a core element of ADHD, is defined as issues that arise with the cognitive process, ultimately impacting thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. Of course, the reality is a little more human in nature and a little less clinical.
When people experience executive dysfunction, they can end up with a wide range of outcomes. From struggling to do chores or meet deadlines to losing important items or being forgetful about eating or cleaning, it can impact people with ADHD differently depending on the person or the day.
Endless thoughts that are all racing to the front of your mind are a big part of this. You may find your mind naturally jumping from one idea to the next with little control, and this can make it very easy to get distracted and lose focus. When this happens, it is difficult to accomplish tasks driven by executive functioning.
Experiences as Unique as the Minds Behind Them
A large part of what previously made diagnosing ADHD so difficult is the reality that no two people with ADHD are truly alike. Every single mind is unique, and the ways that ADHD manifests can be as unique as the people themselves.
The way that ADHD presents itself can differ based on the individual, their habits, their environment, their gender or identity, and many other considerations too. This is highly at odds with media representation, which tends to show people with ADHD as energetic, outspoken, and forgetful. Can these be indicative of someone with ADHD? Absolutely–but it does not show the full picture.
There are some shared experiences that make it much easier for people to recognize ADHD in themselves and other people. Sensitivities, preferences, and habits can all be a point of connection for the ADHD community. It does not mean that you will automatically check every box that another person does. However, there is a sense of community that comes with it and a growing sense of understanding too!
Learning to Navigate Life With ADHD
The way that your mind operates can influence everything that you do. It impacts our relationships, our habits, our work, and our school performance. Above all else, it can influence our perception of ourselves. Taking care of your brain and getting the support you need can have a large, positive impact.
Modern therapy and medication can offer incredible levels of support for helping people with ADHD to better understand themselves and navigate any challenges. With therapy, you can feel more in control of your behavior and address any symptoms associated with depression and anxiety too.
A diagnosis is the first step to better understanding your mind and what is going on behind the scenes. If the team in your mind that is responsible for filtering out distractions is understaffed, a little extra support can go a long way!
If you have been struggling with ADHD, it is time to believe that things can be better and seek help. Working with a licensed therapist is an excellent place to start, and it can empower you to work with your ADHD, not against it.