IS ADHD REAL?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Many of you have children and grandchildren who have been diagnosed with ADHD, and you’ve felt uneasy about treatment for it. I had it as a child and still have it, so I can tell you with all honesty that it is real.
The doctor told my parents I was ‘hyperkinetic,’ which was the medical term used before it was called ADHD. He also told them there was nothing they could do to slow me down — they’d just have to get used to it. So I was nicknamed jet propulsion, motor mouth, and toothpick. The doctor said I would outgrow it by the time I was 14 — I didn’t. I just learned to hide it better. So much of my concentration goes into trying to mask it.
What my doctor didn’t realize was that stimulant drugs started being used to treat ADHD. Weird how a drug that is used to speed up some people will slow down a hyperactive brain.
Researchers have come up with this ‘could be the cause’ list.
Chemical imbalance in the brain.
Brain injury or disorder.
There is clear evidence that symptoms of ADHD interfere with and reduce the quality of family, social, school, and work. The DSMMD* defines symptoms as inattentiveness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. At least six of symptoms from each category must be met to be diagnosed ADHD.
Doesn’t pay close attention to details.
Makes careless mistakes.
Has trouble staying focused on a task.
Doesn’t seem to listen when spoken to.
Is easily distracted.
Is often forgetful.
HYPERACTIVITY AND IMPULSIVENESS
Fidgets, squirms, taps with hands or feet.
Leaves seat when sitting is required.
Runs around or climbs at inappropriate times.
Unable to play quietly.
Is always be ‘on the go.’
Talks constantly — blurting out and interrupting others.
Has trouble waiting.
There are three types of ADHD: Predominantly Inattentive, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive, or Combination. I’ve never known anyone who didn’t have a Combination, so I don’t understand why they bother using the other two types.
Too many people think ADHD is made up. They often blame the parents for the child’s behavior: they don’t use discipline, they let their child watch too much TV or play video games, eat too much sugar, or that the child must have a bad home life or attend a bad school. AND the same people often say the parents don’t want to deal with the problems so they just medicate their child.
I can assure you it’s real having been through it myself and with both of my children. I can tell you too that discipline does not work to ‘fix it.’ The cause(s) of ADHD are not known. However, it cannot be prevented or cured.
Medication and therapy.
MY BRAIN, MY DESCRIPTION
As an adult, I still have 9 of the symptoms all of the time; as a child, I had 12. You need only 6 symptoms for a diagnosis. To this day, I still wave may arms all around in the air when I’m talking. My Apple Watch thinks I’ve been exercising! lol
I want to try to explain to you how the brain works so fast in someone who is hyper. You may have heard this explanation before. Someone with ADHD is talking, “In math today, we learned to — Oh look, there’s a squirrel?” [easily distracted, forgetful]
I have difficulty reading a book — my mind wanders as I read. The story I was reading ends up jumbled in my brain as part of what I read and part of the daydream; they are fused together to make a different story. [brain wiring, distraction] I always had trouble reading the Bible without jumbling up the material I had read. (Moses did not bring a kangaroo back with the tablets.) . My doctor prescribed Ritalin for me, and I was able to retain the material I had read without daydreams being fused into it.
My son was so impulsive, he would run across desks in the classroom (seriously.) When his doctor finally prescribed Ritalin, my son would literally stop being hyper at exactly 20 minutes. For example, he would be wildly rocking in a chair and at 20 minutes, the wild rocking would stop. He even learned that taking his medication at bedtime would help him fall asleep and sleep peacefully through the night.
My daughter was often frustrated when she has an intricate task. She would give up. When she started on Ritalin, she was able to see a task through, and she didn’t want to stop until the task was completed.
We were a houseful of hyperactive people bouncing off walls. Once we started on medication, things improved.
I hope that by reading this, it’s given you a better understanding of what it’s like to live life with ADHD. I also hope that you have a deeper appreciation for your friends and family members who are living with it and trying to cope with the disorder. It’s real.
*Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSMMD)