Why ADHD Awareness Month Matters
There are a lot of misconceptions about attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and ADHD Awareness Month (held every year in October) is an opportunity to set the record straight and better understand both the disorder and the ripple effects it can have on someone’s daily life.
As with any mental disorder, the more awareness we can raise about ADHD the more we can do to create a society where those who struggle with it can feel welcome and cared for. And considering that ADHD is a condition that affects roughly 5% of all U.S. adults, it’s clear that these efforts are worth it.
In honor of ADHD Awareness Month 2022, we’re taking a look at the realities of life with ADHD, as well as the importance of raising awareness when it comes to helping people get the support they need.
Living with ADHD: What the Disorder Looks Like
ADHD is the most prevalent mental disorder among children, with many going on to experience symptoms throughout their adult life as well.
Typical behaviors associated with ADHD include impulsivity, difficulty concentrating or staying on task, excessive talking or movement, and difficulties following directions. In many cases, these symptoms change as an individual ages and may become milder or shift in some way. For example, an individual who struggled with hyperactivity as a child may turn into an adult who has trouble staying on task or prioritizing their responsibilities.
ADHD may present in one of three ways:
- Hyperactive and impulsive type ADHD: characterized by excessive energy and a seeming inability to sit still.
- Inattentive type ADHD: formerly referred to as attention deficit disorder (ADD) and characterized by difficulties with focus and following directions.
- Combined type ADHD: includes six or more symptoms from both of the above types.
With any type of ADHD, individuals may have trouble maintaining relationships and their day-to-day responsibilities. They may also struggle with time management and core memory, both of which can have a significant impact on school or work.
Symptoms and Signs of ADHD
ADHD can present in different ways in different people. But there is a set list of symptoms, five or more of which must be present for an ADHD diagnosis. These include:
- Excessive fidgeting
- Mood swings
- Limited attention span
- Trouble following directions
- Difficulties with time management
- Difficulties with core memory
Treatment Options for ADHD
The most common treatment methods for ADHD are psychotherapy and medication. Because ADHD may be present alongside another mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety, it is important for treatment to be individualized and overseen by a mental health care professional.
Untreated ADHD can have serious ripple effects on an individual’s personal life and on their mental health. Fortunately, ADHD Awareness Month and similar efforts can be instrumental in helping people identify possible ADHD in themselves or a loved one, and can help more people get the support and treatment they need.
Effects of Untreated ADHD on Mental Health
It goes without saying that all individuals in need of mental health care should have access to it. This is as true for ADHD as it is for other mental health conditions, in part because the behaviors of ADHD can often have a negative impact on someone’s self-confidence or ability to cope with daily stressors.
Those with untreated ADHD may fall into the trap of simply thinking they are incompetent or less smart than their peers. Over time, this can lead to major issues with self-esteem and serious mental health struggles, especially if the root cause of their symptoms isn’t adequately identified.
Untreated ADHD-related behaviors also pose another danger, which is the danger of self-diagnosis. While it is certainly true that platforms like TikTok and Instagram have helped reduce the stigma around conditions like ADHD and autism, they have also led to a stark rise in self-diagnosing, many times oversimplifying the disorders and making people believe they can treat their problems on their own.
A better alternative to self-diagnosing? Talk to a certified professional if you believe you are presenting with symptoms of ADHD. Not only will you get an accurate assessment, but you’ll also get yourself on the path to treatment. A mental health professional can provide you with appropriate tips for managing ADHD and a sustained treatment protocol – both of which are more helpful than going it alone.
Your Mental Health Resource
In terms of ADHD coping mechanisms, adults and children both benefit from increased awareness of what ADHD looks like and what can be done to treat it. And at Synergy Health Programs, we’re proud to serve as a resource for a better understanding of ADHD and other mental health disorders.
Browse our site for additional mental health information and assistance, and contact us today to learn about our comprehensive mental health services.