Having ADHD has many advantages.
People who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may struggle to focus on the smaller details of life but, if it’s something that they are interested in, their passion shines through as a wonderful capacity to hyper-focus on the subject of interest. This passion can enhance creativity, topic-related productivity, and contagious enthusiasm/inspiration! Additionally, with the right frame of mind, ADHD can help a person remain determined and push through set-backs.
But with these strengths comes challenges too.
- One area of challenge is executive functioning skills, such as task management, prioritization, time management, and working through long-term planning for big projects. These things can be more difficult than average to master, and it often requires more specific structure and instruction to gain these skills. Short-term memory is often a weak area for folks with ADHD, so a person can be more forgetful and need to rely more heavily on lists, habits, and reminders. School and work performance can suffer greatly when executive functioning challenges aren’t addressed.
- Impulsivity is often, though not always, a factor that people with ADHD have to contend with. Blurting things that can be hurtful or being more reactive to a given situation than others might be has social repercussions in a person’s life. Regretful decisions like buying things that aren’t really needed/are too extravagant can create financial difficulties. Sometimes, impulsivity can come out as risky behavior like a child running into the street without looking or an adult engaging in road rage because someone accidentally cut them off.
- Additionally, ADHD can affect social relationships. This is because having ADHD can make it harder to stay tuned-in to other people’s body language and facial expressions, so they are more likely to misread things like when someone is feeling annoyed or uncomfortable. Of course, everyone has the capacity to be annoying or make someone uncomfortable but, if a person is tuned into how others are responding to them, the person is often able to quickly adjust what they are doing or apologize for their actions rather than allowing the problem to escalate. Other times, relationships can be affected when the person with ADHD hasn’t yet mastered the supportive skills to bolster their struggles with executive functioning skills. Because of this, people can get frustrated with things like chronic lateness, and unreliability.
The good news is that ADHD is very treatable. There are supportive strategies that kids, teens, and adults can learn (or be supported with until their brains are developed enough to learn) that help a person feel and be successful with tasks that require executive functioning skills. And, there are insights and tips that help to enhance social relationships, making it easier to work well in groups, building positive friendships, and strengthen romantic partnerships. Yes, sometimes medication can make coping with ADHD easier as well, but, with or without it, I think learning about the helpful strategies and insights go a long way. And, this is critical because, when left unaddressed/untreated, secondary problems, such as anxiety, depression, anger issues, and substance abuse, are more likely to arise.
Late Diagnosis: One important thing to note about ADHD is that there is both a hyperactivity component and an attentional component. It is possible for someone to have issues with just hyperactivity or just attention, or to have both. People who have the hyperactivity component tend to be identified at a younger age (often early elementary school years is when a formal diagnosis takes place) compared to people with just attentional struggles. This is more often diagnosed in the teens years and early twenty’s, and sometimes the adult years, as schoolwork, life, and job demands ramp up. Because girls are less likely to have the hyperactivity component, they are more likely to be diagnosed later in their developmental years than boys.
Contact me today to start learning more about how to maximize the strenghts and minimize the challenges of your ADHD brain!