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Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (formerly known as attention deficit disorder or ADD) is a neurobehavioral condition characterised by core symptoms of inattentiveness, distractibility, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. ADHD is regarded to be the most common youth mental health issue, with estimates ranging from 5 to 11 percent in children. Adult ADHD is estimated to be less common, with 2 to 5% of people being diagnosed.
ADHD symptoms can wreak havoc on job, school, household activities, and relationships, and managing the illness can be difficult for both children and adults. Fortunately, there are therapies that have been demonstrated to be beneficial, and anyone affected by ADHD may acquire coping techniques to work around difficulties and utilise their strengths, as many successful people with ADHD have done.
Some children and adults with ADHD struggle to focus on school or work duties and may daydream often. Children with ADHD may become obnoxious, defiant, or have difficulty relating to their parents, peers, or teachers. Children with hyperactivity and impulsivity, in particular, frequently have behavioural issues that are challenging for adults to regulate.
Adults, on the other hand, are more likely to report feeling restless or fidgety; if they battle with impulsivity, they may make reckless judgments that have a negative impact on their lives. Executive functioning (making plans, emotional management, and decision-making) is frequently impaired in both children and adults. Many children and adults exhibit either hyperactive or inattentive signs of ADHD, but both sets of symptoms can coexist, resulting in what is known as combined type ADHD.
The majority of psychologists and psychiatrists think that ADHD exists. It runs in families (suggesting hereditary underpinnings), and neurological evidence has linked it to changes in brain growth and development. ADHD is also firmly linked to academic, employment, and relationship issues, and it responds to therapy, implying clinical validity. However, whether the condition is over-diagnosed and overtreated, or whether it reflects a collection of developed features that have become less adaptable in today’s society, is extensively contested.
The reasons of ADHD, like many other mental health diseases, are still being researched. Environmental variables, such as prenatal exposure to chemicals and early traumatic events, are thought to play a role. Because ADHD is a behavioural condition, acceptable behaviour expectations, particularly in youngsters, are likely to impact diagnosis in some circumstances.
Experts have disagreed on whether ADHD treatment should be predominantly behavioural (therapy, focus training, increased play, and more structure) or pharmaceutical. Several major studies have found that combining the two may be the most effective.
Strong research demonstrates that ADHD is caused by both hereditary and environmental factors. According to twin studies, identical twins are substantially more likely than fraternal twins to be diagnosed with ADHD or exhibit ADHD-like symptoms. There is no single gene that is assumed to be “responsible” for ADHD; rather, it is thought to be connected to multiple genetic variants, only some of which have been discovered.
Some scientists think that what we call ADHD is a “disease of civilization”—that is, an illness caused by a mismatch between humans’ evolutionary roots and our modern surroundings. High levels of energy, for example, may have been advantageous for a hunter-gatherer but are problematic in a modern classroom. Some prominent child development experts have observed that the recent increase in ADHD diagnoses has coincided with a greater emphasis (particularly in American schools) on rigorous standardised testing and reduced playtime, implying that at least some children diagnosed with ADHD have been placed in environments that exacerbate the evolutionary mismatch.
It’s all relative. ADHD can be legally classified as a disability under both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in specific situations. However, a diagnosis alone does not qualify you for legal protection. In addition to a formal diagnosis, the individual (and/or their parent, if in an academic context) must demonstrate that symptoms significantly impair functioning. If such limitations can be satisfactorily proved, the employer or institution must make reasonable modifications.
Though ADHD can and frequently does cause academic difficulties, it is not classified as a learning disability (such as dyslexia or dysgraphia). However, many children with ADHD—up to 50%, according to some estimates—also have a learning handicap. External symptoms of the illnesses can be identical, especially in youngsters.
Fidgetiness is a common symptom of ADHD, but the disorder is more than just a physical ailment. You may have ADHD if, in addition to continual fidgeting, you have strong sensations of distractibility that persist in numerous contexts, you frequently react impulsively, talk excessively, fail to follow through on assignments or manage your time, and/or make careless mistakes on critical projects. The first step toward receiving a diagnosis and beginning therapy is to request an evaluation from a healthcare provider.
Love, stability, and consistency benefit all children; children with ADHD require all three in abundance. Because ADHD symptoms and the resulting academic and social obstacles can be detrimental to a kid’s self-esteem, parents should take steps to discover an effective treatment, assist the child in identifying his strengths, and advocate for his needs as he learns to navigate the world on his own. Parents should also assist their kid in developing routines, identifying academic solutions that fit her individual needs, and learning the social skills required to create long-lasting connections.
There is no single method in which ADHD affects romantic relationships, and the illness frequently has both positive and bad consequences. For example, many couples discover that one partner’s ADHD (or both, in some situations) improves the relationship by making it more spontaneous or sexually rewarding. Distraction, disorganisation, and impulsivity, on the other hand, can cause frustrating misunderstandings between partners or even conflicts.
Regardless of their individual ADHD status, both partners should be open about any issues that ADHD brings to the relationship, while also making an effort to embrace its benefits whenever possible. Compassion for one’s spouse is essential for any ADHD relationship to work.
What is the next step?
If you or someone you love is considering individual therapy or counseling, please contact Omni Layne Counseling. We are a team of professionals who have the expertise to help.
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