October is ADHD Awareness month and for people without Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder it can be difficult to grasp what it feels like for those who do. Individuals with ADHD may hear people flippantly say, “Everyone is a little bit ADHD” or dismiss their experience without compassion. However, contrary to popular misconception, ADHD is not a new term nor a medical fad. The medical condition was first mentioned in 1902 by British pediatrician Sir George Still who described “an abnormal defect of moral control in children.” He noticed that some children were unable to control their behavior the way a typical child would but were still intelligent.
Originally, ADHD was known as hyperkinetic impulse disorder. It wasn’t until the late 1960s that the American Psychiatric Association (APA) formally recognized ADHD as a mental disorder.
What Is ADHD?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition that affects children and young adults and can continue into adulthood. Symptoms include difficulty remaining still for long periods of time, limited attention spans, and high activity levels. You may notice that these are generally common behaviors in young children; however, the difference with children who have ADHD is that their hyperactivity and inattention are noticeably greater than that of their peers. This can lead to distress and/or problems functioning at home, school, or with friends and family.
ADHD is diagnosed as one of three types:
- Inattentive type
- Hyperactive/impulsive type
- Combined type
Although some research indicates that genetics may play a factor in ADHD, scientists have yet to discover the specific cause of this mental disorder.
What Are the Effects of ADHD?
Many adults and young adults with ADHD do not realize they have the disorder, which can put them at a higher risk for developing other issues such as depression or anxiety. Often someone with undiagnosed ADHD will turn to substance use to self-medicate in an attempt to calm themselves or control feelings of anxiety or depression. Addiction and other compulsive habits are more likely in adults with undiagnosed ADHD than individuals in the general population are.
Potential symptoms of ADHD include:
- Chronic lateness and forgetfulness
- Low self-esteem
- Employment problems
- Difficulty controlling anger
- Substance abuse or addiction
- Poor organization skills
- Low frustration tolerance
- Chronic boredom
- Difficulty concentrating when reading
- Mood swings
- Relationship problems
Attaining the right diagnosis and the proper treatment can transform your life.
ADHD Help at The Meadows
The Claudia Black Young Adult Center, a specialized treatment program of The Meadows, utilizes the Test of Variables of Attention (T.O.V.A) in the assessment protocol of its young adult patients. Essentially, T.O.V.A. is a computerized test of attention that assists in screening, diagnosis, and treatment monitoring of attention disorders, such as ADHD.
T.O.V.A. complements the work of the multidisciplinary treatment team at the Claudia Black Young Adult Center. The T.O.V.A. report often accompanies a history of substance use disorders, relational trauma, anxiety disorders, and mood dysregulation. The symptoms of ADHD may at times be directly due to a substance withdrawal syndrome, the consequences of trauma or a mood disorder itself. The presence of such comorbidity complicates the diagnostic process and necessitates a careful consideration of the specifics unique to each individual’s clinical presentation.
Using the T.O.V.A assessment raises the high standard of service and outcomes at the Claudia Black Young Adult Center.
At The Meadows family of treatment programs, we work closely with patients to tailor treatment to best fit their unique needs. This highly specialized focus is one of the many reasons why we have successfully treated thousands of patients for over 40 years. To learn more about The Meadows or the Claudia Black Young Adult Center, please call 855-333-6075.