Is someone you love a little hard to love sometimes because their hyperactivity and forgetfulness drive you nuts?

You might be dealing with someone with ADHD.  Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder is characterized by significant inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity (that’s what the H stands for), or a combination of these things. You may be thinking this describes about half the people you know.  Key word here is significant.  This means that the symptoms actually inhibit functioning in some way.  The LifeWorks litmus test for ADHD kids: how often does your kid forget to zip his fly?   If the answer is, “Oh my gosh! ALL the time!” keep reading.

Do you, or does someone you love, experience…

  • poor internal supervision?
  • short attention span?
  • easily distracted?
  • impulse control problems?
  • difficulty learning from past errors?
  • lack of forethought?
  • procrastination?
  • hyperactivity?

The symptoms of ADHD fall into three groups:

  • lack of attention (inattentiveness)
  • hyperactivity
  • impulsive behavior (impulsivity)

Some children with ADHD primarily have the inattentive type. Others may have a combination of types. Those with the inattentive type are less disruptive and are more likely to not be diagnosed with ADHD.

Inattentive symptoms

  • fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork
  • has difficulty keeping attention during tasks or play
  • does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
  • does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace
  • has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
  • avoids or dislikes tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork)
  • often loses toys, assignments, pencils, books, or tools needed for tasks or activities
  • is easily distracted
  • is often forgetful in daily activities

Hyperactivity symptoms:

  • fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
  • leaves seat when remaining seated is expected
  • funs about or climbs in inappropriate situations
  • has difficulty playing quietly
  • is often “on the go,” acts as if “driven by a motor,” talks excessively

Impulsivity symptoms:

  • blurts out answers before questions have been completed
  • has difficulty awaiting turn
  • interrupts or intrudes on others (butts into conversations or games)

People with ADHD are at risk for developing other issues over time, including alcohol and drug abuse or addiction, anger management and behavioral problems, and mood disorders. This diagnosis can be overused and abused (like all the rest of them), but the fact remains that ADHD is a legitimate disorder caused by a neurological dysfunction in the prefrontal cortex of the brain.

Do you often…

  • feel frustrated?
  • feel exasperated?
  • start, but never finish projects?
  • find your attention wandering off at the slightest distraction?
  • allow yourself to be ruled by disorganization?
  • feel like the Peanuts character, Pigpen, surrounded by a little cloud of chaos?
  • feel moody and conflicted?

A person with ADHD must learn effective ways to cope with these differences. Effective therapy includes traditional approaches such as psychotherapy and medication management. LifeWorks counselors work closely with physicians to develop and implement an individualized treatment plan for each case.

Here at LifeWorks, we think it is important to look at the whole person.  And that hyperactivity in your kid is a veneer which covers a really terrific person.  We can help you crack the shell. ADHD counseling can help.

Recommended reading on ADHD

Change Your Brain, Change Your Life: The Breakthrough Program for Conquering Anxiety, Depression, Obsessiveness, Anger, and Impulsiveness by Daniel G. Amen

Healing ADD: The Breakthrough Program That Allows You to See and Heal the 6 Types of ADD by Daniel G. Amen

Driven To Distraction : Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood by Edward M. Hallowell, John J. Ratey

Resources:

ABCs of ADD/ADHD
Screening Information on ADD/ADHD
Living Well with ADHD