- Interrupt conversations
- Feel you cannot stop your thoughts
- Underachieve at work, school
- Have difficulty planning
- Do you drink, smoke, overeat?
- Have difficulty sitting still
- Leave your belongings behind
- Are overly sensitive to criticism
- Are seen as a chatterbox
- Chaotic with your things and with your thoughts
- Overpromise and under deliver?
- Double book appointments
- Have difficulty sleeping
- Get bored easily
- Spend a lot of time looking for things
- Get easily upset
Anyone can have some of these symptoms. The question is how many and to what degree does it impact your life?
ADHD is a neurological disorder. It often runs in families. There are several different types: the inattentive type, the hyperactive type, and the impulsive type. There are also gradations of the symptoms meaning the symptoms can be managed in several ways including exercise, systems to organize one’s life at home and work, natural sleep aids, mindfulness meditation, and medication when the symptoms interfere significantly in at least two areas of one’s life. Areas that are often affected are included in executive functioning in organizing, prioritizing, focusing, regulating alertness, managing frustration, and modulating emotions. (Dr. Russell Barkly).
Both Dr. Ned Hallowell and Dr. Russell Barkley have been instrumental in producing research and providing clinical expertise in many areas related to ADHD.
In my practice, I evaluate what has brought the client in, the impact of symptoms on work, family, and relationships. I then perform testing with the DIVA test developed by Sandra Kooij which is a useful tool in aiding to properly diagnose symptoms and educate the client at the same time about what aspects of ADHD are translated into everyday life. The test is also useful as it has been translated into multiple languages including French and Spanish.
Once the testing is completed and scored, I will discuss with the client the options available which include: discussing any feelings the client has regarding the diagnosis and whether it would be appropriate to invite a family member or partner in for some guidance and psycho-education regarding the impact of ADHD. We will also discuss, if appropriate, what medical treatments are available and how they work. What are the pro’s and con’s of using medication? If medication is warranted or the client would like to know more about the possibilities, I work with specialists who are able to provide this information as well as to prescribe. Last but not least, I offer parenting strategies and tools which may be very appropriate especially in families that can use more structure and ways to manage intensity at home.
I see many couples where one or both partners have ADHD but are unaware of the impact that their different kinds of behaviors have on their marriages, Once identified, they have more understanding of each other and are able to develop a completely new way of relating to each other. It can mean the difference between thriving in their marriage or being in a highly conflictual one.
I have been working with adults and adolescents with ADHD for 25 years.
Parenting children/adolescents with ADHD can be particularly challenging as traditional practices will not work. We often energize negativity rather than setting clear expectations, while remembering to reward positive behavior, better choices, and achievement, no matter how little.
- Are you setting clear and consistent expectations?
- Are the communication channels fluid between you and your children?
- Do you spend quality time with your child?
- Do you feel drained by the energy used to parent your child?
- What behavior gets rewarded?
Why bother getting diagnosed? Once people are diagnosed, there is typically a feeling of sadness or anger for the years they have spent feeling misunderstood. Most people are incredibly relieved to know why they react or perform in certain ways and once they are properly versed in ADHD, they can then build systems which allow them to thrive and capitalize on their many strengths, some of which include:
- Incredible creativity
- Out of the box thinking
- Ability to take action in a crisis
- Ability to hyper focus
- Exciting people to be with
- Willing and able to take on new challenges
- High achievers