ADHD Awareness

Those with ADHD constantly struggle with their minds running a million miles a second.

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Those with ADHD constantly struggle with their minds running a million miles a second.

Madeline Del Rio, Co-editor in Chief

According to the CDC, a 2016 study found that 6.1 million children were presently diagnosed with ADHD! The Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders, especially in childhood, and increased awareness is crucial to aiding the diagnosed and combating stigma.

What is ADHD? While many children struggle with focusing and behaving at times, individuals with this disorder do not simply mature from these behaviors, and the continuing symptoms can be severe. The CDC lists some of the many effects of ADHD, including excessive daydreaming, often losing or forgetting things, not being able to sit still, talking too much, making “careless mistakes” or taking “unnecessary risks”, and being challenged by “resisting temptation” and “getting along with others”. These burdensome symptoms can cause students to unfortunately struggle in school, at home, and in building and maintaining relationships. As one grows older, the symptoms become worse.

Though there are no confirmed causes and risk factors of ADHD, scientists hypothesize that genetics, brain injury, exposure to environmental harm during pregnancy or youth, alcohol and tobacco used during pregnancy, premature delivery, and low birth weight, are possible contributors to this distressing disorder.

The Archives of Disease in Childhood proves that the effects of ADHD can be intense by informing that, “Young people with ADHD are at an increased risk of academic failure, dropping out of school or college, teenage pregnancy, and criminal behavior. Driving poses an additional risk.” 

The article goes on to explain that those with ADHD struggle with low self esteem. They must combat a learning delay as a lack of motivation persists, and poor social skills as those with this disorder often experience school exclusion. These individuals are more likely to become involved in crime and aggression, and substance abuse due to poor mental health.

While the effects of ADHD change as one grows older, they often do not go away, despite the opposing myth. The article claims that, “As many as 60% of individuals with ADHD symptoms in childhood continue to have difficulties in adult life.” Ultimately, this disorder is more than just a challenge in focusing, for it causes obstacles in various areas of a victim’s life and often leads to devastating trouble.

An anonymous student at Saugus High with ADHD expressed the difficulties that come with the disorder. “I feel like a lot of people think ADHD just means it’s harder to focus, but it’s so much more than that. I constantly have to fight distraction, my disorganization, forgetfulness, and anxiety. My mind is always moving a million miles a second, making it sometimes impossible to slow down and listen to important directions or school lectures. This morning was honestly a perfect example of even the little struggles. I was supposed to meet my friend after I grabbed a coffee from Starbucks, and I called to tell her I was going to be late because I couldn’t find my phone, which I was calling her with. Then, I drove off with my coffee on the top of my car. I know it sounds like I’m just stupid, and I’m constantly frustrating and embarrassing myself. But the truth is, it’s sometimes impossible to stop my mind from drifting and stay on task. It’s frustrating.”

When the individual was asked how others treat him/her, the individual replied, “I guess it depends on who I’m with. My good friends understand my struggles, and though they’ll joke around about it, I don’t really feel judged by them. But the majority of people act like I’m a burden on them. I feel so annoying when I forget something or lose focus and they get frustrated with me. I want to explain that I really am trying, but sometimes I can’t help it. A lot of people are condescending, belittling me, and I feel pathetic. I wish people could be more patient and understanding.”

Unfortunately, there is no cure for ADHD. However, there are treatments that can manage and improve the disorder. These include behavioral therapy and a variety of medications. To manage symptoms and stay healthy, individuals are encouraged by the CDC to develop healthy eating habits, participate in daily physical activity, limit the amount of daily screen time, and attain a healthy amount of sleep each night. Seek urgent help from a psychologist, psychiatrist, or pediatrician if concerns of ADHD exist.

Essentially, ADHD is a very common disorder that can have devastating effects. Instead of excluding or pushing away victims, society must aid and support them as their struggles can be improved by the kindness and patience of others.