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It Is Not Laziness, It is Just This Thing Called ADHD

Explore and begin your journey toward understanding ADHD—where solutions and support await amidst life's challenges. Uncover effective coping methods and support networks.
April 8, 2024    |    40 Views
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The world of ADHD

Everybody can get distracted, but what is the degree of being distracted you’re experiencing? Imagine sitting in a bustling café, trying to focus on your work, but your mind keeps wandering off to a dozen different places. Your phone buzzes with notifications, your thoughts jump from one topic to another like a pinball machine on overdrive, and suddenly, you realize an hour has passed, and your to-do list remains untouched. You feel like you have so many things on your plate and you try to do everything, just to end up completing none. Welcome to the world of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder – ADHD, where everyday tasks can feel like navigating a maze without a map.

Problems paying attention, excessive activity, and impulsivity are hallmarks of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a neurodevelopmental condition.  It is not deadly, or inherently life threatening, mind you; but ADHD can certainly present challenges and increase the risk of certain behaviors or conditions that can interfere with a person’s activities, relationship or in their community participation.

Symptoms

The degree and severity of symptoms can also vary from person to person. Not every adult with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) will exhibit every symptom that is detailed here, but these are commonly shared traits experienced by adults with ADHD:

  • Impulsiveness: Struggling with impulsivity, acting without fully considering the consequences of their actions. This can manifest in impulsive decision-making, blurting out thoughts without filtering, or engaging in risky behaviors without thinking ahead.

  • Disorganization and Problems Prioritizing: Difficulty with organization and prioritization is a hallmark symptom of adult ADHD. Individuals may struggle to keep track of tasks, appointments, and responsibilities, leading to disorganized environments and missed deadlines.

  • Poor Time Management Skills: Adults with ADHD often have trouble managing their time effectively. They may underestimate how long tasks will take, struggle to set and stick to schedules, and have difficulty allocating time appropriately to different activities.

  • Struggling Focusing on a Task: Maintaining focus and concentration on tasks can be challenging for adults with ADHD. They may become easily distracted by external stimuli or internal thoughts, leading to difficulty completing tasks and following through on projects.

  • Trouble Multitasking: Despite the common belief that individuals with ADHD excel at multitasking, many actually struggle with it. Instead of efficiently juggling multiple tasks, they may become overwhelmed and find it difficult to prioritize or complete any of them effectively.

 

  • Excessive Activity or Restlessness: Hyperactivity is often associated with ADHD, although it may present differently in adults compared to children. Adults with ADHD may experience inner restlessness, an inability to relax, or a constant need to be doing something.

  • Poor Planning: Planning ahead and organizing tasks can be challenging for adults with ADHD. They may have difficulty breaking tasks down into manageable steps, anticipating obstacles, or developing long-term goals and strategies.

  • Low Frustration Tolerance: Adults with ADHD may have a low tolerance for frustration and may become easily overwhelmed or emotionally dysregulated in response to setbacks or challenges. This can lead to difficulties coping with stress and regulating emotions.

Demystifying ADHD

Many have the misconception that ADHD is just a lack of discipline or laziness, when in actuality, it is often not simply a matter of willpower or character flaws to those suffering from this neurodevelopmental disorder. ADHD persists into adulthood, and many adults  remain undiagnosed or even misdiagnosed, contributing to misconceptions about the disorder. While there may be instances of misdiagnosis, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is a real medical illness that impacts people of all ages and backgrounds.

Types of ADHD

There are three main types of ADHD:

  • Type I- Inattentive
  • Type II- Hyperactive-impulsive
  • Type III- Combined

ADHD Type 1 - Predominantly Inattentive Presentation (ADHD-PI):

Individuals with this subtype primarily struggle with inattention. They may have difficulty sustaining attention on tasks, often seem forgetful or disorganized, and may have trouble following instructions or completing tasks.

Symptoms may include:

  • Struggles to focus on specifics and occasionally making errors due to oversight

  • Challenges maintaining concentration during tasks or leisure pursuits

  • Frequently losing or misplacing items necessary for tasks

  • Avoidance or reluctance to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort

  • Frequent lapses in memory for routine tasks or activities

ADHD Type 2 - Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation (ADHD-PH):

This subtype is characterized by hyperactivity and impulsivity without significant inattention. Individuals with this subtype may be constantly on the move, have difficulty sitting still, and act without thinking about the consequences.

Symptoms may include:

  • Restlessness or squirming while seated

  • Frequently getting up from their seat when expected to stay seated

  • Engaging in excessive running or climbing in unsuitable contexts

  • Struggling to participate in calm or quiet recreational activities

  • Showing a tendency to constantly move or behave as if propelled by energy

  • Blurting out answers before questions have been completed

  • Speaking out prematurely without allowing questions to be finished

  • Finding it challenging to wait their turn

ADHD Type 3 - Combined Presentation (ADHD-C):

In this subtype of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), symptoms of both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity coexist, making it the most common form of the disorder.

People that fall under this subtype often struggle with symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity, which can make it difficult for them to perform normally in different situations.

Symptoms may include a mix of those listed for ADHD-PI and ADHD-PH, exhibiting both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive behaviors.

Coping Strategies and Treatment Options

Being diagnosed with ADHD is not the end of the world, and it doesn’t make you fundamentally different from others, just a bit more challenged. Fortunately, for adults with ADHD, there are various treatment options available. These commonly include medications such as stimulants, behavioral therapy, counseling, educational interventions, and skill-building programs. Combining these approaches often yields the most successful outcomes.

Making lifestyle adjustments and implementing accommodations can also help individuals with ADHD better manage their symptoms and daily routines which may include :

  • Establishing a structured daily routine or schedule to help organize tasks and activities.

  • Breaking tasks down into smaller, more manageable steps to reduce overwhelm.

  • Creating a clutter-free and organized environment to minimize distractions.

  • Using tools such as planners, calendars, and reminder apps to stay organized and on track.

  • Implementing strategies for improving sleep hygiene, nutrition, and exercise, which can positively impact ADHD symptoms.

Conclusion

In navigating the world of ADHD, it’s essential to recognize that the diagnosis doesn’t define you; it’s just one aspect of who you are. Fortunately, there are numerous resources and treatment options available to help manage the challenges associated with ADHD. From medication management and behavioral therapy to lifestyle adjustments and support networks, there’s a wealth of strategies to explore. By incorporating these approaches into your life, you can develop effective coping strategies and treatment plans tailored to your unique needs and circumstances, empowering you to thrive in the face of ADHD. You are not alone on this journey—reach out, connect with others, and embrace the support and guidance available to you. 

References

Adult ADHD It’s Time to Pay Attention ADHD, https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?ref=watch_permalink&v=707612133289058 [video]

Smith, Melinda. “Adult ADHD: Symptoms, Treatment, and Self-Help Tips.” HelpGuide.org, https://www.helpguide.org/articles/add-adhd/adhd-attention-deficit-disorder-in-adults.htm. Accessed 19 March 2024.

Smith, Melinda, and Jake McBride. “Tips for Managing Adult ADHD.” HelpGuide.org, 5 February 2024, https://www.helpguide.org/articles/add-adhd/managing-adult-adhd-attention-deficit-disorder.htm. Accessed 19 March 2024.

Brown, Thomas E. “Attention Deficit Disorder: The Unfocused Mind in Children and Adults.” Yale School of Medicine, https://medicine.yale.edu/news/yale-medicine-magazine/article/attention-deficit-disorder-the-unfocused-mind-in-children/. Accessed 19 March 2024.

Three Malaysians share their experience living with ADHD, Healthcare Asia Daily News, https://www.healthcareasia.org/2022/three-malaysians-share-their-experience-living-with-adhd/. Accessed 19 March 2024.