Sometimes, a medical diagnosis gives a lot of relief.
For years, Hanif aged 36 was criticized. Naughty, lazy, messy, insincere, forgetful were some of the politer words used on him. No one could tell him why he is so…and Hanif suffered, which led to depressed mood, fits of rage and difficulty in close relationships.
For years it was difficult for Hanif to complete his homework, finish a project, attend a lecture or follow a presentation; he kept blaming himself for all the difficulties he was facing and creating for his loved ones.
A chance visit to a psychologist led to the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).
Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD is a part of Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).It can have a combined presentation or predominantly one or the other.
ADHD is a neurobiological disorder.It is characterized by high level of impulsivity, inattention and hyperactivity. Although individuals with ADHD can be very successful in life, without appropriate identification and management, it can have serious consequences.
Knowledge is power, and once Hanif knew why he had so many organizational difficulties he was ready to deal with it. When he was no longer blamed for his shortcomings and he found a reason for his impulsive behavior pattern he was less depressed and more optimistic about his future.
Until recent years, it was believed that children outgrew ADHD in adolescence. This is because hyperactivity often diminishes during the teen years. However, it is now known that many symptoms like inattention, restlessness, poor planning and impulsivity continue into adulthood.
Usually, in a clinical set up they might present with problems of secondary depression and low self-esteem related to their impaired performance, difficulty in maintaining jobs and marital instability. Due to their propensity towards impulsive behavior pattern traffic accidents and violations are more frequent in adults in ADHD. Further, obesity rate is higher in this group due to difficulty in delaying gratification. They are more likely to develop antisocial personality disorder and incidences are higher for alcoholand/or drug abuse.
The procedures for determining whether a person has ADHD are very specific. In children, the symptoms must be more frequent or severe than his or her peer group. In adults, the symptoms must be present since childhood and affect one’s ability to function adequately in daily life. These behaviors must create significant difficulty in at least two areas of life, such as social, academic or work.
Occurrence rate of ADHD in adults are not as well determined as rates for children, but fall in the 4% to 5% range.
The following coping techniques might help an individual with ADHD to reach their optimal potential:
To improve organizational skills:
• Taking step-by-step approaches to work.
• Using tools like time organizers or watches with alarms.
• Preparing visual schedules.
• Having written directions with verbal instructions.
• Participating in activities and pursue careers that play to strengths, rather than weaknesses
To improve time management:
• Creating checklists and “to do” lists.
• Breaking long assignments into parts and assigning time frames for completing each part.
• Using calendars and organizers to keep track of long-term assignments, due dates, and activities.
To better manage space:
• Organizing work space.
• Minimizing clutter.
• Scheduling a weekly time to organize the work space.
Medication plays a big part in ADHD management. However, a multi pronged approach is most beneficial. Thus with pharmacotherapy, individual supportive therapy and cognitive therapy are suggested. Social skills training might be of help to some individuals.
Other than these, developing a network of support system helps adults with ADHD to live a fulfilling life.