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What is ADHD?

ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

It is a neurobiological disorder that mostly affects the frontal lobe part of the brain where the executive functions take place. So no worries, you're not crazy. It has three primary common symptoms - inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. These can show up differently in people to varying degrees. Even though everyone can have moments of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity, for those with ADHD it is constant and persistent to the point that it interferes with their life. You can have predominantly inattentive presentation, predominantly hyperactive - impulsive presentation, or combined presentation where both traits are present. However each person with ADHD has a their own unique combination of traits. These traits can be mild to severe, depending on the situation. ADHD can be confusing because symptoms depend on the particular task at hand, circumstances, and the environment; it is inconsistent. If you know someone with ADHD that means you know one person who has ADHD. Everyone who has ADHD has a different experience of what it is like.

 

One of the reasons ADHD people have such a hard time is because of their underperforming executive function. These executive functions are a set of cognitive processes or skills that allow people to plan, organize, make decisions, pay attention, regulate behaviour, manage time, switch focus, remember details, avoid doing or saying the wrong thing, prioritizing, getting started on tasks, etc. As you can see, if you fall short in some of these things it is going to complicate your life and make it more difficult. These are symptoms of ADHD and are entirely involuntary; these actions or inactions are not on purpose. This is why ADHD is so hard to understand. If you are unaware of what ADHD is and how it can affect a persons life it might just look like they are lazy and don't care about anything. Most ADHD people are not aware of how their symptoms impact their life. It can be very demoralizing to know what you want to accomplish and how to do it, but aren't able to follow through.

 

People punishing themselves for a problem they have no control over isn’t helpful and can be counter productive. If you have ADHD you need to acknowledge that you think differently. Finding out how things actually work for you and your ADHD brain will help you find what you need to be successful. A person can learn to use their executive functions more effectively by training the brain. This can be successful but takes patience and time. An ADHD person needs to repeat things multiple times until it becomes a habit. 

 

Research has found that the best treatment for ADHD is the multimodal approach. These approaches can include:  

- Educating oneself and family about ADHD and how it can be affecting your life.

- The use of medication to stimulate the frontal lobe so that there can be better use of the executive functions.

- Putting good health practices into place in regards to exercise, food and sleep. Having poor health practices can make symptoms worse.

- The use of therapy to help deal with how it has affected your life and relationships.

- Working with a Coach to help find out how your ADHD is affecting your life and finding strategies to help manage ADHD symptoms.

If you suspect you have ADHD and would like a diagnosis or medication for treatment please speak to your health professional. 

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