ADHD is the abbreviation for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This is a disorder found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-V), which is the manual all psychologists use to diagnose disorders. Years ago, ADHD used to be two separate disorders; there was ADD, which was for distractibility and inattention, and ADHD, which was for hyperactivity. But over time, changes were made to the DSM, and now it all falls under the ADHD umbrella. Now, there are three different types of ADHD. There is ADHD – Inattentive Type (which is for inattention and distractibility), ADHD – Hyperactivity Type (which is for hyperactivity), and ADHD – Mixed Type (for individuals who have symptoms of both).
A common reason that people either come to therapy or visit a psychiatrist is with the belief that they have ADHD. Many people experience problems with things like not being able to pay attention, having their mind wander, not being able to sit still, among other things. Many times when these issues come up, people automatically think that this disorder fits whatever they are experiencing. This blog entry is to diffuse some of the myths surrounding ADHD, and to have people question whether or not they really have ADHD, or might be experiencing something else.
First of all, it is important to know that ADHD is an actual neurological disorder. People who truly have ADHD have differences in brain chemistry compared to people who don’t. It is not something that is developed over time; most people who have ADHD experience these difficulties before age 7. It’s very common for people with ADHD to take medication to help “even out” their brain chemistry to help them with their symptoms.
Secondly, it is important to know that many of the symptoms of ADHD are also implicated in other psychological problems. Problems with attention and concentration can also align with symptoms of depression, anxiety, or even just a large amount of stress going on in someone’s life. If someone is experiencing some of the symptoms associated with ADHD, it is important to question whether or not problems with distraction, concentration, etc. are really part of a neurological issue, or if it might be because of other problems going on. Currently, ADHD is one of the most misdiagnosed disorders out there, largely due to people’s beliefs that they have it when really don’t. For parents especially, it is really important to fully evaluate their child’s symptoms, and to seek a professional opinion if necessary. If a parent is considering medication for their child, it is really important to have a full understanding of what is actually going on before making the choice to put them on medication.
If you are experiencing problems with inattention, getting easily distracted, being fidgety and hyperactive, and it is really impacting your life, you should consider consulting a professional. Whether it is ADHD or not, it is something that would benefit from being addressed.
Written By: Jessica Garcia
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