What is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a brain-based disorder that affects a person’s ability to focus. Despite its common association with hyperactive young boys, ADHD can affect anyone, regardless of gender or age. Although ADHD can have negative impacts on a person’s life, it can also be managed with therapy or medication.

What You Should Know

The exact cause of ADHD is unknown, but genetic factors may play a role. The chances of being diagnosed with ADHD are higher if your parent or sibling has it. Brain injury, premature delivery, and prenatal exposure to drugs, tobacco, or alcohol may also contribute.

Signs of ADHD include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Disorganization
  • Trouble staying on task
  • Fidgeting/Restlessness
  • Excessive talking or talking rapidly
  • Interrupting
  • Procrastinating

Typical ADHD symptom lists are based on studies of boys, so ADHD may show up differently in adults or females.

There are a few types of ADHD, including what used to be called “ADD” but is now called Inattentive Type ADHD.

ADHD, combined type

Stereotypical ADHD looks like this. Hyperactivity and distraction symptoms are both present in people with combined type ADHD. They might struggle to focus their thoughts and still their bodies.

ADHD, impulsive/hyperactive type

This is the least common type of ADHD diagnosis. Those who experience impulsive/hyperactive ADHD have fewer concentration problems than people with other types, but they have trouble with impulse control. They might move and talk very fast and have difficulty waiting and resting.

ADHD, inattentive and distractible type.

People with inattentive type ADHD are often forgetful and easily distracted. They might lose objects frequently and have trouble listening.

Why It Matters

Children with ADHD are more likely to struggle in school than their peers, and adults with the disorder may struggle with workplace performance and anxiety or depression.

ADHD can, however, be an asset when managed properly. People with ADHD tend to be highly creative, out-of-the-box thinkers. When they have the negative aspects of their symptoms under control, they can be incredibly productive and make connections at astonishing speeds. Some of the world’s most successful people- like Bill Gates and Walt Disney- have had ADHD.

There are lifestyle changes that can help those with ADHD manage symptoms while leveraging the “superpowers” that come with ADHD:

  • Try yoga. Some studies have found a regular yoga practice can be helpful in reducing ADHD’s negative symptoms.
  • Get mindful. Learning and practicing mindfulness skills can also significantly improve attention in adults with ADHD.
  • Exercise regularly. People with ADHD have lower levels of dopamine in their brain than others. Exercise releases helpful neurotransmitters like dopamine into the brain, boosting concentration and focus.
  • Help yourself. There are a lot of resources available online, like routine planners and schedulers, that can help those with ADHD manage their life.

If you’re still seeing ADHD impact your life negatively after trying the above, you’ll probably need more intervention to address the issue. You should see a mental health professional who may suggest one of the following treatments:

  • Therapy. Brains like to form patterns experts call “nueropathways” – that’s why it can be so hard to get “unstuck”. Using scientifically proven methods, mental health therapists can help your brain lay new neural pathways that promote healthy brain function.
  • Medications. Several medications are available to treat ADHD, and they all work differently in the brain. You may need some time to figure out what medication works best for you.

Learn More

You can find more information about yoga, mindfulness and exercise in Sokya’s resource library. You can also grab a few resources to help you set routines and prioritize tasks when your ADHD is making it hard be productive.

More than 50% of Americans struggle with mental health.

Headlight is now collaborating with health plans and companies to make therapy more accessible and affordable. Speak to a Care Coordinator today.