Fact #1: ADHD IS REAL
Nearly every mainstream medical, psychological, and educational organization in the United States long ago concluded that Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a real, brain-based medical disorder
Fact #2: ADHD IS A COMMON, NON-DISCRIMINATORY DISORDER
ADHD is a non-discriminatory disorder affecting people of every age, gender, IQ and religious and socio-economic background.
In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the percentage of children in the United States who have ever been diagnosed with ADHD is now 9.5%. Boys are diagnosed two to three times more often than girls.
Among adults, the Harvard/NIMH National Comorbidity Survey Replication found 4.4% of adults, ages 18-44 in the United States, experience symptoms and some disability.
Trisha lives in Ashland, KY with her husband Brian and their three children. She is Corporate Secretary for the family business and hosts a monthly ADHD Family Support Group. She enjoys reading, cooking, spending time with her family and studying the latest developments in ADHD research.
Fact #3: DIAGNOSING ADHD IS A COMPLEX PROCESS
In order for a diagnosis of ADHD to be considered, the person must exhibit a large number of symptoms, demonstrate significant problems with daily life in several major areas (work, school, friends) and have had the symptoms for a minimum of six months.
To complicate the diagnostic process, many of the symptoms look like extreme forms of normal behavior. Additionally, a number of other conditions resemble ADHD. Therefore, other possible causes of the symptoms must be taken into consideration before reaching a diagnosis of ADHD.
What makes ADHD different from other conditions is that the symptoms are excessive, pervasive, and persistent. That is, the behaviors are more extreme, show up in multiple settings and continue to show up throughout life.
No single test will confirm that a person has ADHD. Instead, diagnosticians rely on a variety of tools. The most important tool is information about the person and his or her behavior and environment. If the person meets the criteria, they will be diagnosed with the disorder.
Fact #4: OTHER MENTAL HEALTH CONDITIONS FREQUENTLY CO-EXIST
Up to 30%of children and 25-40% of adults with ADHD have a co-existing anxiety disorder. Experts claim that up to 70% of those with ADHD will be treated for depression at some point in their lives. Sleep disorders affect people with ADHD two to three times more often than those without it.
Fact #5: ADHD IS NOT BENIGN
When undiagnosed and untreated, ADHD contributes to:
• Problems in school
• Problems at work, lost productivity and reduced earning power
• Problems with relationships
• More driving citations and accidents
• Problems with overeating and obesity
• Problems with the law
According to Dr. Joseph Biederman, Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, ADHD may be one of the costliest medical conditions in the United States. He states that “Evaluating, diagnosing and treating this condition may not only improve the quality of life, but may save billions of dollars every year”.
Fact #6: ADHD IS NOBODY’S FAULT
ADHD is not caused by moral failure, poor parenting, family problems, poor teachers or schools, too much TV, food allergies or excess sugar. Research shows that ADHD is both highly genetic (with the majority of cases having a genetic component), and a brain-based disorder (with the symptoms of ADHD linked to many specific brain areas).
The factors that appear to increase a child’s likelihood of having the disorder include gender, family history, prenatal risks, environmental toxins and physical differences in the brain.
Fact #7: ADHD TREATMENT IS MULTI-FACETED
Currently, available treatments focus on reducing the symptoms of ADHD and improve functioning. These include medication, various types of psychotherapy, behavioral interventions, education and/or training, and educational support.
Information courtesy adhdawarenessweek.org