October is ADHD Awareness Month!
We’ve all heard the term ADHD, but what does the term really mean? Let’s take a look and dispute some popular myths.
ADHD is not due to laziness, lack of motivation, poor parenting, disobedience, or selfishness. ADHD is a medical disorder that affects how the brain functions and develops.
Attention: Contrary to popular belief, the ADHD brain does not have trouble paying attention! The trouble occurs because the ADHD brain pays attention to everything! There is a deficit in the ability to inhibit distracting stimuli in the environment.
Deficit: The ADHD brain has a deficit in inhibitors. Stimulant drugs, such as Ritalin and Adderall, stimulate the inhibitors, thus the brain is able to function better.
Hyperactivity: There is a deficit in inhibiting motor activity. There is also a deficit in the ability to inhibit emotional responses. Instead of talking about emotions and feelings, they are acted out. The brain has difficulty controlling impulses. ADHD can also be described as OTM
On The Mind = Out The Mouth
Disorder: ADHD is not a disorder of behavior, it is a disorder of the brain (neurological). Research shows that frontal lobe, basal ganglia, caudate nucleus, cerebellum, as well as other areas of the brain, play a significant role in ADHD because they are involved in complex processes that regulate behavior (Teeter, 1998). These higher order processes are referred to as executive functions. Executive functions include such processes as inhibition, working memory, planning, self-monitoring, verbal regulation, motor control, maintaining and changing mental set and emotional regulation. According to a current model of ADHD developed by Dr. Russell Barkley, problems in response inhibition is the core deficit in ADHD. This has a cascading effect on the other executive functions listed above (Barkley, 1997).
Symptoms of ADHD
A person with ADHD may have some or all of the following symptoms:
Difficulty paying attention to details and tendency to make careless mistakes in school or other activities; producing work that is often messy and careless
Easily distracted by irrelevant stimuli and frequently interrupting ongoing tasks to attend to trivial noises or events that are usually ignored by others
Inability to sustain attention on tasks or activities
Difficulty finishing schoolwork or paperwork or performing tasks that require concentration
Frequent shifts from one uncompleted activity to another
Disorganized work habits
Forgetfulness in daily activities (for example, missing appointments, forgetting to bring lunch)
Failure to complete tasks such as homework or chores
Frequent shifts in conversation, not listening to others, not keeping one's mind on conversations, and not following details or rules of activities in social situations
Fidgeting, squirming when seated
Getting up frequently to walk or run around
Running or climbing excessively when it's inappropriate (in teens this may appear as restlessness)
Having difficulty playing quietly or engaging in quiet leisure activities
Always being 'on the go'
Often talking excessively
There are a variety of treatment options available today for ADHD, including traditional and nontraditional medicine. You are no longer limited to stimulant based medication. Research has shown holistic methods to be an effective treatment alternative. Get informed!