ADHD or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is one of the most common mental health issues affecting children today. It’s normal for children to have trouble regulating their behavior and staying focused from time to time, especially when they are very young. However, for those with ADHD, the behaviors continue as they grow older and cause difficulties at home, school, and relationships.

Approximately 6 million children aged 2-17 years old in the United States have received a diagnosis of ADHD, and boys are more than twice as likely as girls to receive an ADHD diagnosis. Yet, despite its prevalence, there is a considerable amount of misinformation and stigma surrounding ADHD. ADHD Awareness Month, sponsored by the Attention Deficit Disorder Association and observed every October, strives to shed light on the latest research, bring more awareness of the condition, and improve the lives of those affected by ADHD.

mental health

Causes and symptoms of ADHD

The exact causes for ADHD are unknown, but current research shows that genetics plays an important role. Along with genetics, scientists are exploring other possible causes and risk factors such as:

  • Low birth weight

  • Traumatic brain injury

  • Exposure to toxins in the environment such as lead

  • Tobacco and substance use during pregnancy

  • Premature delivery

Children with ADHD show behaviors that result from inner dysregulation. Behaviors such as inability to focus, emotional dysregulation, impulsivity, the inability to keep still, and difficulty getting along with others are just a few of the common symptoms of ADHD. These behaviors often happen, range in severity, and disrupt the ability to function at home, at school, and out in the community.

Misconceptions About ADHD and Mental Health

There are many misconceptions about ADHD, and the most common is that it is a result of poor parenting. Kids with ADHD are often labeled as problem children who lack discipline, when in fact, their condition is not something they can easily control. ADHD is a well-documented neurological disorder where the brain develops and functions differently. People who live with ADHD can learn how to manage their symptoms over time through therapy, behavior modification, medication, or a combination of all three. Each person is different, so a technique that works for one person may not work for another.

Another myth about ADHD is that it is overdiagnosed. The fact is that we have gotten better at recognizing symptoms and making a diagnosis. Doctors don’t just diagnose any child with behavior issues with ADHD; the symptoms have to be severe enough to cause significant impairment in functioning and be long-term in nature. In addition, doctors will usually run multiple tests to rule out other causes before diagnosing ADHD.

How to raise awareness

The most important thing you can do to raise awareness about ADHD is to educate yourself about it. This is especially important if you have someone with ADHD in your life. Making an effort to learn about and understand the behaviors of someone you care about is one of the meaningful ways of support.

Talking about ADHD is also a great way to raise awareness. If you or someone close to you has been diagnosed with ADHD, don’t be afraid to share your experience. It can open the door to some great conversation.

ADHD associations across the country strive to bring the latest treatments to those who live with attention deficit disorders and sponsor groups for kids and adults with ADHD. Find a group near you and learn what you can do to support their efforts.

There are many adults today living with undiagnosed ADHD. Do you:

  • Have difficulty paying attention to tasks?

  • Fail to follow through on things at home or in the workplace?

  • Have poor time management skills and often fail to meet deadlines?

  • Frequently have trouble waiting in line?

  • Have difficulty staying still for an extended time, as in meetings or restaurants?

  • Frequently make impulsive choices or decisions without thinking things through?

If you’ve experienced these symptoms over a long time, you may have a form of ADHD. Being aware of the symptoms can empower you to seek a diagnosis for yourself and get treatment.

Serene Health offers a wide range of behavioral health and mental health services. If you or a loved one has been experiencing symptoms of ADHD and would like to explore a diagnosis and treatment options, give us a call at 844-737-3638 or visit us at www.serenehealth.com to schedule an appointment.