October is National ADHD Awareness month. I recently gave an hour and a half presentation at the Everett Library about ADHD. The highlights are noted below
“It’s so much easier to suggest solutions when you don’t know too much about the problem.” — Malcolm Forbes
What is ADHD?
“A complex syndrome of developmental impairments of executive functions, the self-management system of the brain, a system of mostly unconscious operations.” (Dr. Thomas Brown).
It is neurological, not a matter of willpower.
How many people have it?
During their lifetimes, 12.9% of men will be diagnosed with the attention disorder. Just 4.9% of women will be diagnosed. Today, about 4% of American adults over the age of 18 deal with ADHD on a daily basis. (healthline.com)
It is highly genetic. Only height has a stronger genetic predictability.
(University of Maryland psychologist Andrea Chronis)
What are some of the traits of ADHD?
The Big three: Inattention. Hyperactivity. Impulsivity
But wait there’s more: Organizationally challenged; Chronically late; Trouble prioritizing; Challenged socially; Poor listening skills; Addictive personality (shopping, substance abuse, etc.); and lots, lots more.
Will medication help?
Medication helps 70%-80% of the time. According to drugs.com, as of October 2nd, there were 48 ADHD medications listed. Success is a joint effort between therapists, MDs and the client to get the correct medication in the correct dose to help maintain focus.
What can be done to manage ADHD?
Work collaboratively with physicians, therapists, family/friends, coaches, professional organizers, etc.
-Thought management: write things down where you can find them
-Time management: routinely use a planner and a timing device (timetimer.com)
-Get organized: less stuff, less to think about
-Embrace a “to do” list: keep it simple and current
-Voice recordings: leave yourself or others messages if you can’t write it down
-Clocks, clocks, and more clocks
How do I know if I have it?
There are several on-line tests that may provide some clarity; however, a true diagnosis should be done with a trained medical/mental health provider.
How can I learn more about it?
CHADD.org (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder)
My favorite books are by:
Ari Tuckman, PsyD; Thomas Brown, PhD; Sari Solden, MS, LMFT; Edward Hallowell, M.D.; John Ratey, M.D.; Daniel G. Amen, M.D.; Judith Kolberg
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I am not a doctor or mental health provider; however, the majority of my organizing and coaching clients have ADHD and I’ve spent years researching the condition to ensure their success.
National Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Area Chapter President
Institute for Challenging Disorganization, Six Certificates of Education