Text Box: ADHD– More than Bouncing off the Walls

ADHD is a disorder that is surrounded by myths and misconceptions.  The reality is that ADHD impacts both males and females throughout their lifespan.   ADHD is characterized by difficulties with executive functioning or organization within the brain.  Executive functioning controls inhibition, shifting between or initiating tasks, emotional control, working memory, planning, organization of ideas and tasks, as well as self-monitoring performance.  
	An ADHD diagnosis begins with looking at observable behaviors, while treatment for ADHD requires an understanding of the thoughts and emotions behind or as a result of the behaviors.  This is particularly difficult when the observable behaviors are so overwhelming to parents, teachers, and loved ones.  ADHD is a lot more than not being able to stay in your seat, talking too much, interrupting, or impulsive actions.  ADHD is a battle.  It is trying to make the choice that everyone thinks you should be able to make and handling the frustration when it is not that simple.  It is wondering how many mistakes you will make and if you will be able to compensate for them.  It is worrying that your hard work is not enough.  To those around the person with ADHD may wonder or even ask, why is that so hard.  The child and adult may try to defend themselves that they are not lazy, stupid, selfish, or not willing to try harder.   
One battle of ADHD is the inconsistency.  This is a frustration to both the individual and those around them.  For the parent of an ADHD child the frustration comes with the question, but last week you did great, this week what is the problem.  Each person has factors that influence their ability to be successful.  With the ADHD child or adult, these factors have a much more pervasive influence.  Lack of sleep, changes in diet, unfamiliar settings, sensory stimuli and other stressors all may have an influence that may seem disproportionate to others.  This is particularly difficult for the young child who may not be able to recognize or articulate why yesterday they could do something that today seems to be an insurmountable obstacle.  For adults with ADHD the awareness of this inconsistency can be extremely frustrating.  Knowing that in one situation, everything went smoothly, but not being able to identify why the same situation at another point was not so successful.  
	These battles lead to the secondary characteristics related to ADHD, which can be even more problematic than the primary characteristics.  These secondary symptoms may include depression, low self-esteem, poor social interaction, isolation, anger, stealing, or drug use. These symptoms are difficult to identify as well as treat.  
Many people will be quick to point out hyperactive behaviors and point to the ADHD child, but they fail to see the child (or adult) behind the ADHD. A child that wants to please and even excel. The child who has a big heart.  It is hard to look past the trail of dirt across the carpet to see the gesture of picking a flower for mom or see the helpful heart when “fixing something” causes more damage.  For many children finding areas of success is hard and can be compared to a marathon.  For the ADHD child, it’s an obstacle course, some parts harder than others, but often filled with surprises.  Some of these surprises allow for great creative bursts and an opportunity to celebrate success. 
Treatment for ADHD can help the child or adult be better equipped for the obstacles they face.  Treatment does not equal medication, nor does it stop at medication. Comprehensive treatment can help build confidence, address primary and secondary symptoms and develop skills and coping strategies to promote success.  Treatment should also include an understanding of the disorder and identification of support systems for those with ADHD and their families. Most importantly, treatment should be designed with the specific needs of the individual and their family in mind.
Text Box: April Thought of the Month

April 2009

Issue 5

Carolina Center for Counseling

& Behavioral Interventions, LLC

Contact Information

304 A North East Main Street

  Simpsonville, SC 29681    


Phone: 864 - 963 - 4028

Fax: 877-201-4878


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