Racing Minds

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Racing Minds [ADHD]

Summary:
– 3 to 5% of Australian adults are diagnosed with ADHD as a result of:
– reading/writing difficulties
– concentration issues
– doing 2 things at once
– stigma: belief people should be over it once they are an adult [often described as immature]
– dr Caroline Stevens [Clinical Psychologist] – ADHD appears in several ways when person is a child:
– running around room
– cannot sit still
– very impulsive (no interest beyond a few minutes)
– “handful” – shouting/climbing
– unaware of dangers of roads/malls
– cannot complete the simplest of tasks
OR
– like a wallflower
– zoned out
AS AN ADULT
– chronic disorganisation
– problems with procrastination
– problems with the law because of impulsive behaviour (speeding, drug offences)
– people can seem chaotic & “fly-off the handle”

– she notes some people do not believe ADHD exists because original research showed people grew out of ADHD by adolescence
– this was supported by the fact that hyperactivity begins to dampen down
– instead the person is left with restlessness, fidgetiness, racing mind experience

– late 1970s research showed
– hyperactivity dampens down
BUT
– Inattentiveness, boredom, disorganisation & procrastination continues

By definition, ADHD is a developmental condition
– I.e. it begins in childhood (it does not start in adulthood)
– however, the symptoms of impairment do not reveal themselves until adulthood when the cognitive load increases
– this is why adults often do not present themselves until the first year if university
– note: adults often realise they had anxiety as a child (fast-mind, not a book-worm, very angry child, multi-tasking)

ADHD is linked to:
– premature birth
– high lead levels in the blood
– smoking during pregnancy
– genetic component
– mild neurological component

Consistent engagement can be a particular challenge
– engagement system in the brain
[PFC – executive function & keeping long-term goals in mind]
– boredom issues are more pronounced in people with ADHD
– as a result, they need to try harder, organise themselves more & avoid last minute pressure deadlines
– often a feeling of not being able to keep on top of things

Best treatment: medication & strategies to manage behaviour
– self-help skills
– personal coping skills
– time management / use of diary / keep keys in same pace / impulse control / manage stress
– diet
– exercise
– analyse self at the end of each day

– rates of diagnosis: 4x higher in boys than girls

[note: ADHD IS on the extreme of the attention continuum – none of us are perfectly able to sustain attention]

Source: ABCRN All in the Mind | Podcast date: 17 July 2013

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