Attention Deficit Disorders run in the family. You probably hope ADD doesn’t run in your family, since ADHD is lifelong in most cases. There's more bad news: ADHD adversely affects relationships. It's really hard on marriages.
Yet there is encouraging news for anyone who has attention deficit disorder: you can get help for your ADD symptoms. You can deal with it if you know you have it, and you make a plan.
Chances are, if your child has ADD, someone else in the family has it, too. Symptoms may take years to show up in a child.
Quite often when I interview an ADD child, I can find evidence of ADD going back three or four generations in the family system. Many older family members with ADD symptoms may not have been diagnosed.
ADD/ADHD is a brain problem that impacts the lives of nearly 8% of school-aged children in the United States, according to government figures. Adults have it, too . . . at a rate of nearly 4.5% . . . and they too benefit from getting ADHD help.
Does ADD go away? Many of my clients believe ADD will go away . . . in time. This is partly true. As a person with ADD ages, he/she may learn how to cope with it better, and in some cases symptoms subside. Most kids carry their ADD symptoms into adulthood. So learning how best to deal with Attention Deficit Disorders is a smart move.
And the more you learn about ADD, the better. Accurate information will help you to cope with your ADD symptoms. Being in denial will not help.
Children and adults who have ADD or ADHD (ADHD is ADD plus hyperactivity) may manifest the following symptoms:
Let’s take the three hallmark criteria and examine them, one at a time.
Children and adults tend to be easily distracted, and have trouble following instructions. Instead of paying attention in class, children may be absorbed in their imaginations – or focusing on distracting stimuli in the classroom.
Those who are hyperactive (not all are) squirm in their seats, constantly move or fidget. Adults may feel restless, impatient or easily bored. Signs of hyperactivity are usually easy to spot during an interview, as the client may not be able to sit still or remain composed during the discussion. Some kids can’t seem to stay in their chairs.
Signs of impulsivity in adults are irritability, impatience and poor listening skills. Kids and adults with ADD may blurt out answers or interrupt others. Although they do not mean to be rude or disrespectful, they just have a hard time waiting their turn.
Diagnosis of ADD
You, as a parent, may have a good idea as to whether your child or teenage has ADD, but a healthcare professional is best given the job of diagnosis. An experienced therapist, psychiatrist or pediatrician can evaluate the Attention Deficit Disorders in an interview and give you questionnaires to help identify symptoms.
Why get diagnosed? Since those with ADD tend to be under-achievers, at least on some level, treatment can make a difference in helping them to gain greater control over their lives and to become more successful. Many clients are relieved to receive a diagnosis of ADD because it explains so why they behave the way they do.
Treating ADHD Or ADD
There is good news if you have one of the attention deficit disorders: treatment can help! Therapy can help you to understand just how the disorder impacts your life, such as ill-affecting your relationships, and assist you in handling ADD symptoms. It can increase your confidence and skill level, and make a difference in your achievement level.
Basic ADD Treatment Strategies
Listed below are the ways we treat ADD symptoms:
Education on ADD
Both the client and the family (or spouse) need to fully understand how ADD works and how they can minimize its harmful effects.
Therapy offers support and encouragement while targeting various aspects of a person’s environment, such as school or work, home life and relationships, and provide strategic relief in each area.
Children and adults benefit from coaching on how to adapt to symptoms or overcome their effects. Parents can learn new skills and approaches to parenting their ADD child. Teachers and significant others may benefit from coaching, too. Adults need support in the area of relationships, both personal and work-related, and can use help with working around their ADD symptoms on the job.
There are new medications useful for children and adults, including an ADHD patch (Daytrana). Medications such as Concerta, Ritalin and Adderal can help you manage the everyday problems of Attention Deficit Disorders. Your physician or psychiatrist can discuss medication with you in detail and go over your ever-increasing options.
Local support groups for attention deficit disorders can be an excellent source of information, encouragement and guidance. Learning from others who have similar problems can be a big help to a frustrated ADHDer.
There is no doubt Attention Deficit Disorders harm relationships, so couples need to learn how to adapt and to keep symptoms from overwhelming them. Taking certain precautions can improve your relationship substantially.
In many relationships, ADD is a hidden problem, and couples may not realize why it’s so hard to communicate, get along or work together. The disorder makes it hard to communicate, both on the sending and receiving end. Couples benefit form coaching on how to overcome the barriers caused by ADHD. Often ADHD symptoms are misunderstood as signs of not caring or irresponsibility, and can be very frustrating for the non-ADHD spouse.
Remember These ADHD Keys
If you suspect you or a loved one has one of the attention deficit disorders, it’s always wise to obtain a professional evaluation. Learn all you can about the disease, and check into local ADD support groups. Consider therapy and coaching to help you deal with your ADD symptoms. Medication can be a big help, too. Learning to deal with ADD symptoms can improve your relationships immensely. You can get a leg up on ADD, and help is right around the corner!
Read another ADHD article by Richard Hamon here . . . ADHD and Relationships
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