About a Disability: ADHD

This week I wanted to talk a little about Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). When I talk to Goodwill’s program participants- that have ADHD- I feel that this is a disability that is often misunderstood, especially in children but in adults as well. When people think of ADHD people often think of a very hyper person that simply doesn’t want to or know how to behave or calm down. I have known many people with ADHD and this is a common stereotype.

The reality is that ADHD causes significant difficulties of inattention or hyperactivity and impulsiveness or a combination of the two and makes it very difficult to concentrate or focus. It is estimated that between two and five percent of adults live with ADHD. It is difficult to diagnose ADHD because the symptoms can be difficult to differentiate from other disorders, increasing the likelihood that the diagnosis of ADHD will be missed.

Myth: ADHD is simply a label for behavior problems; children with ADHD just refuse to sit still and are unwilling to listen to teachers or parents.

Fact: Many with ADHD have few behavior problems; chronic inattention symptoms cause more severe and longer-lasting problems for learning and relationships for those with ADHD.

Myth: ADHD is a simple problem of being hyperactive or not listening when someone is talking to you.

Fact: ADHD is a complex disorder that involves impairments in focus, organization, motivation, emotional modulation, memory, and other functions of the brain’s management system.

Myth: Someone can’t have ADHD and also have depression, anxiety, or other psychiatric problems.

Fact: A person with ADHD is six times more likely to have another psychiatric or learning disorder than most other people. ADHD usually overlaps with other disorders.

Myth: Unless you have been diagnosed with ADHD as a child, you can’t have it as an adult.

Fact: Many adults have struggled all their lives with unrecognized ADHD impairments. They haven’t received help because they assumed that their chronic difficulties, like depression or anxiety, were caused by other impairments.

Myth: Medications for ADHD are likely to cause longer-term problems with substance abuse or other health concerns.

Fact: The risks when using appropriate medications to treat ADHD are minimal, whereas the risks when not using medication to treat ADHD are significant. The medications used for ADHD are among the best researched for any disorder.

Myth: ADHD doesn’t really cause much damage to a person’s life.

Fact: Untreated or inadequately treated ADHD syndrome often severely impairs leaning, family life, education, work life, social interactions, and driving safely. Most of those with ADHD who receive adequate treatment, however, function quite well.

Now that you know a little more about ADHD, a disability that is more common than most people realize, I’ll give you something else to think about. Have you ever wondered just how many people around you might have a disability; people you never even thought about? If anything, this realization should make people recognize that having a disability doesn’t change a person; it just gives them a little something extra that they have in their lives to live with.

Famous people with ADHD include:
1. Michael Phelps-Most decorated Olympian
2. Eliza Coupe-Actress
3. Ryan Gosling-Actor
4. Trudie Styler-Actress and filmmaker
5. Jim Carrey-Actor
6. Justin Timberlake-Singer
7. Will Smith-Actor
8. Ty Pennington-Television host
9. Solange Knowles-Singer
10. Michelle Rodriguez-Actress
11. Howie Mandel-Television host
12. Terry Bradshaw-Former NFL Quarterback
13. Pete Rose-Major league Baseball player
14. Robin Williams-Actor

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