ADHD: A Definition That You Can Use And Actually Understand

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD as it is commonly referred to, just might be one of the most controversial medical conditions of modern times. Hotly debated, and highly contested, this condition is said to affect approximately 7-10% of school-aged children across the world.

It’s Not Just For Kids Anymore

For a long time, it was wildly believed and accepted that ADHD was a problem that only affected children. However, we now understand that this is a condition that does not simply disappear or that is outgrown as we get older.

Whether you accept this condition to be real or not, there is no arguing that millions of people around the globe are affected by the symptoms often associated with ADHD.

The Hallmark Symptoms

ADHD is well-known today in our society by an individual’s difficulty with attention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. But these symptoms can easily misguide and mislead people who are new to ADHD or by those who are simply trying to understand.

While these symptoms are the more visible and popular behaviors observed, people with ADHD tend to struggle with feelings of chronic overwhelm, having strong emotional reactions, and struggling with working memory issues. On top of that, many demonstrate above average intelligence and as a result of that tend to have high expectations, difficulty managing multiple ideas, and the tendency to try and make things perfect.

The Science Of ADHD

Part of what makes ADHD such a difficult condition to diagnose is that we don’t really have an objective diagnostic measure like with so many other health and medical conditions. There are no scans or blood tests that undeniably confirm who has ADHD and who does not.

What Caues ADHD?

ADHD is a neurobiological condition that is primarily caused by chemical imbalances in the brain.

For a long time, the scientific community could not identify the exact cause for ADHD. And while there was research to strongly suggest a genetic influence, this lack of evidence only fueled the controversy of it’s existence.

And while we are still not 100% certain about the causes of ADHD, we do know that it is a highly genetic condition that is passed down among families. In fact, 77% of the time someone has ADHD, it is due to their genes.

What about the other 23%?

Unfortunately we just don’t know… While we understand that ADHD affects the brain and how certain processes occur, there is still a great deal that we don’t understand. And that is not entirely unacceptable or unexpected. Are we to assume that we are capable of fully understanding the intricacies of the most complex organ in the body?

The Bottom Line

AKA – What you really need to know.

ADHD is a real medical condition that is characterized by differences. That’s it! While there are people who believe ADHD automatically means you must struggle in life…this is simply inaccurate. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence to show that people with ADHD are just as capable of success as the next person.

While there will be people who suggest that ADHD offers no positive traits… I would caution you to be careful about what you believe and accept as truth. It is certainly important to review the scientific literature, but at the same time it is important to fully recognize the limited scope of research designed by man.
 

Dr. Stern is a behavior specialist and Internationally recognized ADHD expert.  He is the author of Help Your Child [With ADHD] Succeed, a “How to” blueprint for parents in search of a strength based approach to helping their children succeed.  Dr. Stern offers in-home, on demand virtual coaching and consulting.