So…What is ADHD, Anyway?

Maybe you’ve begun to wonder if your difficulty concentrating is related to ADHD. Or perhaps you’re concerned that your child is having trouble in school because they have ADHD, and you don’t know how to get them the help they need. But what is ADHD, and what does it mean for those with it? There are lots of assumptions and misconceptions floating around about ADHD. It’s important to gain a clear understanding of this disorder so that people struggling with ADHD can get a diagnosis and find the support they need to manage their symptoms in a healthy way. Here’s what it really means to have ADHD.

Inattentive Presentation

ADHD is a relatively common neurodevelopment disorder, but there are several different presentations of this condition. With the predominantly inattentive presentation, people will often find it difficult to stay organized and finish tasks on time—or finish tasks and projects at all. They might have trouble paying attention, even when it comes to subjects they’re interested in. Often, they come across as distracted or forgetful. Whether at work, school, or home, they may have difficulty following instructions.

Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation

Another form of ADHD is known as hyperactive-impulsive presentation. Someone with the hyperactive-impulsive form of ADHD will often feel fidgeting and restless. Sitting still can become genuinely uncomfortable. They feel like they need to move around constantly, even if they’re in a situation where it would be distracting. They might talk when they’re supposed to be quiet—not because they’re trying to be rude, but because they feel like they can’t help themselves. People with this form of ADHD are more likely to make reckless and impulsive decisions in their personal lives.

It’s also possible for someone to exhibit symptoms of both types of ADHD. This is generally known as a “combined presentation.”

Initial Symptoms

Many people begin exhibiting symptoms of ADHD as children. They might struggle to pay attention in class or sit quietly while their teacher is talking. Children with ADHD often have trouble finishing their homework, turning in assignments on time, and keeping track of their assignments. They may have certain creative or athletic interests that keep them engaged, but they still struggle to follow through on their commitments. Behavioral problems can also plague children with ADHD. They might not want to take turns, or they might make careless and unnecessary mistakes.

Managing Symptoms

While a healthy lifestyle is not a “cure” for ADHD, many people with this condition find that keeping up with certain healthy habits does help keep their symptoms under control. Parents of children with ADHD will often sign their children up for sports so that they have a productive outlet for their energy. Eating a nutritious diet, getting plenty of sleep, and limiting your screen time can all help alleviate your symptoms.

Seeking Treatment

Managing your symptoms with lifestyle choices is definitely a smart idea, but it isn’t a substitute for professional treatment. Many people with ADHD greatly benefit from seeking professional help for their condition. The right therapist can walk you through executive function strategies so that you can stay organized and motivated in your daily life. While medication is not the right choice for everyone with ADHD, a qualified therapist can assess whether or not you might be a good candidate for medication and help you figure out a regimen that addresses your symptoms.

Trying to parent a child with ADHD can feel exhausting. Parent Child Interaction Therapy can help parents manage ADHD symptoms and get more of the focused behavior that their child may be struggling to maintain. This type of therapy can also help parents stay regulated and calm in the midst of chaos.

If you think you or your partner may have ADHD and that may be contributing to the conflict and frustrations in your relationship, couples counseling can help you navigate the different ways that the ADHD brain works. A good couple’s counselor can show you how to interact with each other, resulting in more closeness and connection in your relationship.

Do you suspect that your child is struggling with ADHD, or that you might be dealing with this condition as an adult? Working with a therapist can help. Reach out to us today to discuss your options for scheduling your first session in parenting therapy or individual counseling.