What is ADHD?

ADHD is a chronic condition that begins in childhood and often persists into adulthood. It is a misunderstood condition because the symptoms can vary widely. The symptoms of ADHD manifest sometimes in opposite ways in different people. For example, one of the most common symptoms is difficulty modulating attention. People with ADHD may struggle to pay attention, but they can also have a hard time stopping an activity that interests them and transitioning to something else. This is called hyperfocus.

ADHD Education

Ways that ADHD can affect you:

  • Difficulty with decision making: This can show up as impulsive behavior. People with ADHD tend to be impatient and make decisions quickly, but you may compensate for this tendency by NOT making decisions. Instead, you may feel confused and avoid decision making or defer to other people to make them for you.
  • Hyperactivity: This is the classic symptom that most people think of when they think of ADHD: the boy in school who was always disruptive and couldn’t sit still. While hyperactivity can be a component of ADHD, it isn’t always present. Many people with ADHD only experience inattentiveness, but not hyperactivity. Many people (often girls, but not always) are overlooked for ADHD because they aren’t disruptive. They are often labeled as an “airhead,” or “spacey” instead.
ADHD Education
  • Mood disruption: ADHD can be exhausting to deal with. After a full day of exertion in order to operate in our modern world, a person with ADHD can be left feeling angry, irritable, anxious or depressed. Sadly these negative feelings are often turned inward: “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I manage my life the way other people do?” This can result in low self-esteem.
  • Learning: ADHD can sometimes accompany learning disabilities, but not always. People with ADHD are often very bright and creative. Their minds can operate so quickly that they can come up with an answer without being able to explain how they got there. Often, they have used their quick wit to mask their ADHD throughout the school years. At some point though, most people with ADHD come to a point that they can no longer “wing it” well enough. They are constantly on edge because they are afraid that one day they will be revealed and people will discover that they have been “faking it” all along.

What ADHD is not

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about ADHD and where it comes from. So let’s clear a few of those up.

ADHD is not:

  • Only a kid’s problem
  • Caused by bad parenting
  • A hyper kid who just needs disciplined
  • Laziness
  • An Excuse
  • Defiance
  • Stupidity
  • A moral failing
  • Caused by eating too much sugar
  • A diagnosis that dooms you to failure