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What is ADHD? Understanding and Living With the Condition

What is ADHD? Understanding and Living With the Condition

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition that affects people’s behaviour. It is characterised by a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behaviour.

As the name suggests, symptoms generally show themselves in two ways: problems with attention and concentration (the AD bit of ADHD) and hyperactivity problems. Some people may only be affected by just one of these factors, but many people are affected by both.

So, what does that mean? Well, Attention Deficit means people with ADHD struggle to concentrate on things. This can make everyday activities difficult, such as paying attention in classes or at work. Even enjoyable activities like watching a film or reading a good book can be challenging.

The other side of the ADHD coin., the H, for hyperactivity results in excessive physical movement, difficulty sitting still, acting without thinking, and excessive talking and interrupting.

To people without ADHD, this can sometimes come across as careless, or in the case of children, ‘naughty’. But the truth is it’s usually neither, and approaching situations with this in mind can be one of the best and kindest things you can do for someone with ADHD.

Living with ADHD

Living with ADHD can be challenging, but some strategies can help:

First of all, it’s even more important for people with ADHD to have a healthy lifestyle. A balanced diet, exercise, and a regular sleep pattern can help manage the symptoms.

Some behaviour changes can also be helpful. These include reducing screen time (something we could probably all do with nowadays) and practising mindfulness and positive self-talk. Finding an active hobby you love can also help burn off a little excess energy too, while also being good for you.

Organisation can often seem like the enemy if you have ADHD. However, using tools like planners, calendars, and to-do lists can help keep you organised and establish a routine. Other strategies include breaking things down into small, manageable steps and setting reminders for things (again, always good advice!).

Finally, remember you don’t have to handle things alone. Ask for help from family and friends. Everyone has things that they are good at and things that they aren’t. There’s no shame in asking for help with things ADHD makes you struggle with. Not only will it make your life easier, it will probably make things easier for them too!

Employers may also be more understanding if you talk to them. For example, you may be able to take more regular breaks, create a distraction-free workplace, or get your employer’s help to split workloads into smaller, more manageable tasks.

Living with someone with ADHD

You can, of course, help with all the things we’ve listed here. However, perhaps the best thing you can do is be kind, patient and understanding. ADHD can be infuriating for everyone – try to remember that your loved one isn’t doing these things to annoy you. In fact, it’s even more frustrating to them!

Still, by creating a calm, structured environment, helping with organisation, and above all, listening to them and being understanding, you can make both of your lives infinitely easier.

Treatments for ADHD

Alongside coping strategies and a little patience, there are some effective treatments to help manage the symptoms of ADHD. Primarily, these come in the form of medications that help improve concentration, focus, and memory, reducing impulsiveness and can even help sleep patterns.

Therapy, especially cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), has also been shown to help people manage emotions and provide strategies for doing tasks.

When to See a Doctor

A diagnosis can be beneficial when it comes to managing the symptoms of ADHD, and various treatments are available. If you think that you or a loved one may have ADHD, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a medical professional. You can book a GP appointment online or in person to get a diagnosis and talk through the available treatments.