Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Awareness Month
ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) is a serious health concern . The mission of ADHD Awareness Month is to educate the public about ADHD by sharing information based on the evidence of science and peer-reviewed research.
The theme this year is Setting the Record Straight – if we raise awareness of ADHD and spread the word, then life can be better for everyone, especially those with ADHD and their family and friends.
What is ADHD?
The Young Minds website defines ADHD as “having lots of energy and finding it difficult to concentrate. It can be hard to control your speech and actions”. Children with ADHD may also have difficulty controlling their impulses and paying attention. All this can be very disruptive both at home and at school.
ADHD is often difficult to spot, as being a ‘naturally’ energetic child may not manifest itself into anything other than being full of ‘controlled’ energy. ADHD can be spotted in babies as young as 18 months, but becomes more obvious between the ages of 3 and 7 and is the most common behavioral disorder among children. On average, more boys than girls are diagnosed, with one of the early signs being unable to concentrate.
ADHD can also manifest itself in adults who may have trouble managing time, being organised, setting goals, and holding down a job. They may also have problems with relationships, self-esteem, and addiction.
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) has similar symptoms to ADHD, however these manifest themselves primarily in difficulty concentrating and less hyperactivity.
Child Symptoms of ADHD
Symptoms of ADHD in children include:
- Is easily distracted and doesn’t appear to listen
- Doesn’t follow directions or finish tasks
- Doesn’t pay attention and makes careless mistakes
- Forgets about daily activities and has problems organising daily tasks
- Doesn’t like to do things that require sitting still and will often squirm or fidget when forced to sit
- Has trouble playing quietly and will talk excessively
- Is always moving, such as running or climbing on things; always ‘on the go’
- Has trouble waiting for his or her turn
- Blurts out answers and interrupts others
For ADHD symptoms in adults, please see the WebMD website.
If you experience one or more of these symptoms, it doesn’t mean you’re definitely affected by ADHD. It’s important to talk to your GP to get a full diagnosis.
What Causes ADHD?
The exact causes of ADHD are unknown, but there is general agreement from researchers around the world that all of the following could be contributing factors:
- A brain injury or disorder affecting the frontal lobe
- Exposure to toxins such as lead in a child’s early development
- Changes in the brain and chemical imbalances within the brain
- During pregnancy, smoking, drinking, infections and poor nutrition can affect a baby’s brain development
- ADHD can be known to run in the family.
- Medication – called stimulants, these medications can help control hyperactive and impulsive behaviour as well as increasing the attention span.
- Therapy – these focus on changing behaviour and can include special education, behavioral modification, psycho-therapy and social skills training.
- Support groups – meeting up with and talking to other individuals who have ADHD or as a parent carer, can often open up possible solutions that have worked for other people that you can try.
How Can MyLiferaft support people with ADHD?
MyLiferaft gives you several ways to help with the management of ADHD, whether you are a parent carer supporting your child or an individual living with ADHD; for example:
Keep track of moods, behaviour and medication using our Trackers so you can spot trends in frequency and potential triggers.
- Use the Appointments section to help you manage your diary when booking meetings with teachers, GP’s and health care professionals.
- You can agree and document an education/behaviour support plan using the Goals Consistency is important in achieving results so sharing Goals with everyone involved means everyone responds in the same way which can help achieve the outcomes you are seeking.
- You can Share information 24/7 to those within the care circle and they can add Comments giving details of the day’s activities, what has gone well/not so well, what specific environments may have impacted behaviour that day i.e. school, a loud supermarket, going into an underground car park etc.
- You can download and use the Reports in MyLiferaft to help with creating a pathway to an official diagnosis.
As well as the websites list below, we have an extensive list of ADHD resources on our website which is available to you to access. If you have a website you have found useful that does not appear in the list, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can share it with other people.
Additional Note: please note that MyLiferaft is an online solution to help manage your health, care and well-being. The information in this blog has been adapted from several of the websites listed in the Resources paragraph. For further help and advice on ADHD, please refer to your GP.