Officially what is ADHD?
ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is a neurological disorder that impacts the parts of the brain that help us plan, focus on, and execute tasks. ADHD symptoms vary by sub-type — Predominantly inattentive, Predominantly hyperactive, or combined
- Predominantly Inattentive Presentation: It is hard for the individual to organize or finish a task, to pay attention to details, or to follow instructions or conversations. The person is easily distracted or forgets details of daily routines.
- Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation: The person fidgets and talks a lot. It is hard to sit still for long (e.g., for a meal or while doing homework). Smaller children may run, jump or climb constantly. The individual feels restless and has trouble with impulsivity. Someone who is impulsive may interrupt others a lot, grab things from people, or speak at inappropriate times. It is hard for the person to wait their turn or listen to directions. A person with impulsiveness may have more accidents and injuries than others.
- Combined Presentation: Symptoms of the above two types are equally present in the person.
Because symptoms can change over time, the presentation may change over time as well.
Through my research and experience with this population, I have learned a few interesting facts about the ADHD’s brain/body presentation:
- 1) ADHD individuals are not good time travelers ie they struggle with managing and planning future events as well as being on time for those commitments.
- 2) These brains do not create or hold onto serotonin at the same rate as non ADHD brains so they are always searching for that next hit of adrenaline.
- 3) To complete projects they usually struggle with either starting the project, getting lost in the middle of the project or completing the project.
- 4) ADHD individuals often struggle with reading and learn better with hands on projects.
- 5) Their partners or friends can feel like they are not a priority because of the ADHD’s inability to stay focussed. This is not a relationship issue, but a frontal lobe issue.
If you are interested in learning more, 2 great books are: ADHD 2.0 by Edward M. Hallowell M.D, John J. Ratey M.D and The ADHD Effect on Marriage by Melissa Orlov. Both are available on Audio.
Here is a fun comparison between the Hummingbird and someone with ADHD:
Imagine the colorful, energetic Hummingbird which is very much like the charismatic ADHD individual. Both are in constant motion/expending energy searching for nectar/adrenaline to nourish the body/system. For the Hummingbird there are so many flowers to choose from, she flits from flower to flower, searching for that sweet nectar. The ADHD individual can also be in constant motion, intrigued with so many interesting projects to begin. He/she mimics the Hummingbird bouncing from project to project taking in the excitement from starting each one.
As evening approaches though, the flowers close up. The Hummingbird must rest, waiting for morning when the flowers are available again. The ADHD body will also pull in their wings and rest, but for a different reason. This body usually gets overwhelmed with too many options and looses motivation to continue. When morning comes, the ADHD individual can either join the Hummingbird and start on another bouquet of flowers as the flowers/new projects start calling, or the ADHD individual can use the tools in their tool box to finish the project he/she has started.
While it can be fun to be the Hummingbird, living that lifestyle can be exhausting for you and for those around you. If you resonate with this story, click the “contact me” button and we can work on insights and skills to help you stay focussed and maintain rewarding relationships