ADHD can be a chronic condition evident by persistent inattention, hyperactivity, and sometimes impulsivity. Creative, energetic and driven people may have the same symptoms but it can become a problem. ADHD begins in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. As many as 2 out of every 3 children with ADHD continue to have symptoms as adults.
There is thought to be two different types of ADHD- inattentive ADHD and hyperactive-impulsive ADHD. Some people will only identify with one but it is more common that people with ADHD have a mix of both types.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is thought to be a condition in which a person has trouble paying attention and focusing on tasks, tends to act without thinking, and has trouble sitting still. It may begin in early childhood and can continue into adulthood. Without treatment, ADHD can cause problems at home, at school, at work, and with relationships. In the past, ADHD was called attention deficit disorder (ADD).
The exact cause is not clear, but ADHD is thought to run in families.
The two types of ADHD symptoms include:
- Poor impulse control.
- Trouble paying attention. People with ADHD are easily distracted. They have a hard time focusing on any one task.
- Trouble sitting still for even a short time. This is called hyperactivity. Children with ADHD may squirm, fidget, or run around at the wrong times. Teens and adults often feel restless and fidgety. They aren't able to enjoy reading or other quiet activities.
- Acting before thinking. People with ADHD may talk too loud, laugh too loud, or become angrier than the situation calls for. Children may not be able to wait for their turn or to share. This makes it hard for them to play with other children. Teens and adults may make quick decisions that have a long-term impact on their lives. They may spend too much money or change jobs often.
Tips for parents of children with ADHD
Unfortunately, there isn’t one answer that will fit everyone. The only thing to do is do the best you can. If it works for you, your child and your family in a non-punitive and non-damaging way then give it a go. The ideal way forward is to work with the child you have. Is your child a night owl? If so, then trying to get them to go to bed at 9 pm won’t work for anyone. Do they thrive in chaos? Chances are developing a strict routine and trying to adhere to it will cause more problems that it will fix. Try to pick your battles. Work towards a goal by working with the personality and character of your child. Recognise that, often, the way you will want to work will not fit with the child you have. Go easy on yourself – you are doing the best you can.
- Airplane rules apply here! When flying in an airplane you are always advised to put on your oxygen mask before helping anyone else. The same goes for parenting a child with ADHD. It is vital to keep yourself fit and healthy: eat right, exercise and ty to find a way to reduce your stress. When you are taking good care of yourself, you will be better able to take good care of your child.2.
- Routine: Find a routine that works best for you and your family and stick to it. Remember that sometimes no routine can be the answer. Work with the personality of the child you have.
- Be sure to praise your child as often as possible, but keep it real. We all thrive under positive reinforcement.
- Keep your child as active as possible. Children with ADHD often have vast amounts of energy and need a way to siphon off that energy in a positive and constructive way. Is your child a sportsman? Try and find a sport that your child will enjoy and be successful in and encourage them to participate. Perhaps they would prefer another way to use their energy try an art class or picking up a musical instrument.
- Good Nutrition. Help your child maintain a healthy balance diet. Try to avoid processed sugar, fatty foods and caffeine. Encourage your child to drink plenty of water and eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and protein.
- you may want to talk to a family therapist without your child present. Work with the therapist to make a plan that works for you and your family. Be prepared to change and adapt. At some point the family therapist may wish to include all members of your family in order for everyone to have a say in the plan.
Tips for adults with ADHD
- Develop a daily routine and stick to it!
- Create spaces for important items such as keys, phone or wallet and always place these items in the same spot.
- Try to get organised. Make lists to help you order your thoughts. Break big tasks down into smaller manageable steps.
- Become a clock watcher. Time management is often a skill that is lacking in adults with ADHD. Improve your time management skills by setting alarms and reminders to help your with daily tasks.
- Develop coping strategy tools.
- Develop a healthy lifestyle. Eat properly, incorporating as much fresh fruit, vegetables and protein into your meals. Drink plenty of water and try to avoid processed sugar, fatty foods, caffeine and alcohol. Don’t do drugs. Get plenty of exercise AND rest.
Charities & Support Groups
National charities and support groups for this issue:
Provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities
We provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.
Parents Helpline 0808 802 5544 Monday - Friday 9.30am - 4pm
Charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people.