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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurological disorder that is more complex than professionals and advocates have previously believed. According to research, untreated ADHD can result in family and relationship issues, unemployment, depression, anxiety, and drug and alcohol abuse In addition to attention difficulties, ADHD frequently causes challenges with self-regulation, including mood and emotional control. Though this is not part of the diagnostic criteria, it so often co-exists with ADHD and such difficulties immensely benefits from treatment as emotion regulation is an important factor in overall well-being.

The Myth of ADHD

“The changes we’re seeing right now is a correction to the myth that ADHD was merely an academic disorder that affected hyperactive young boys,” - Dr. Patricia Quinn (Paediatrician). Dr. Quinn states that "we must change our perception of ADHD as a persistent condition that often continues into adulthood and impacts individuals in significant ways in various aspects of their lives, such as work and personal relationships". Similar to how even mild or perceived criticism and rejection can have a negative impact on an individual with ADHD, the slightest gestures of support and acknowledgment can do wonders to inspire and motivate such individuals. Frequently, individuals with ADHD develop coping mechanisms to conceal or control their symptoms, making it challenging for others to recognize their neurological struggles, especially for those who are not visibly hyperactive, such as females or those with the Inattentive subtype of ADHD.

The Reality

Individuals with ADHD have to invest much more cognitive effort than the average person to complete smaller tasks such as meeting deadlines or responding to emails. As a result, they are actually exerting more effort than neurotypical individuals (those without developmental disorders). According to Terry Malten, a medical professional with ADHD, it is typical for adults with undiagnosed ADHD to develop coping strategies, seek out compatible jobs and environments, and form relationships that aid in concealing their ADHD symptoms. A breakdown often occurs in response to significant changes in lifestyle or educational demands.

Mental Health advocates often recognize ADHD as a blessing and a curse. Individuals with ADHD can often find a way to maximize the "gifts", to minimize the downsides and challenges of this disorder. A few key parts to this include:

  • A support system to provide encouragement and affirmation

  • Identifying your talents and a job that caters to them

  • Positive, stable emotional connections, especially with partners who complement your ADHD symptoms

  • A creative outlet, even if it’s just a hobby

Ultimately, the more we clarify the nature of ADHD, the better we can acknowledge an individuals strengths and challenges. Overall, it is important to recognize that coping strategies can differ depending on the individual’s unique areas of difficulty, age, goals, and unique areas of strength.

NU Psychology specializes in the treatment of ADHD. We provide assessments and offer individualized treatment plans to support those who are impacted by ADHD and the associated symptoms.

NU Psychology and ADHD

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