ADHD Awareness Month – October

What is ADHD Awareness Month?

October is the month in which ADHD is recognised as a disorder which needs bringing to the forefront of attention.

During the month of October, various resources and information are widely available to bring light to this topic.

The definition of ADHD is:

A lifelong, persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development across time and settings.

What is ADHD?

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder. It affects children and adults across the world.

ADHD is a genetic brain-based syndrome relating around brain functions and behaviours related to these functions.

In order to have a firm diagnosis of ADHD, a person suspected of ADHD must meet the following criteria, observed over a period of six months:

  • Often fails to give close attention to details
  • Often has issues with focusing attention on tasks
  • Appears to often not listen when spoken to directly
  • Often has difficulty organising themselves and/or tasks
  • Can frequently lose items
  • Is easily distracted a lot of the time
  • Can be often forgetful

What are the different types of ADHD?

Combined
Presentation


Both the criteria of inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity are demonstrated for the past 6 months.

Predominantly
Inattentive Presentation


Symptoms of inattention are presented the majority of the time, rather than hyperactivity-impulsivity.

Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation

Symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity are presented the majority of the time, rather than inattention tendencies.

Who has ADHD?

Data shows that approximately 5% of adults have ADHD, and occurs in both male and female cases.

What causes ADHD?

ADHD is caused by structural, chemical and connectivity issues in the brain of the affected individual. As mentioned before, these results in the brain patterns are typically borne from a result of genetics.

In addition to genetic factors, research suggests that imbalances of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter, plays a role in ADHD.

More about the connection between ADHD and Dopamine

The function of dopamine is to allow us to regulate emotional responses and take action to achieve specific rewards. Dopamine is responsible for feelings of pleasure and reward. There are studies which show that people with ADHD have different levels of dopamine.

What is the most effective treatment for ADHD?

With the research demonstrating a link between ADHD and low levels of dopamine, it is suggested that dopamine can be a useful treatment for ADHD.

The medication element of treatment handles the brain-based functions, whilst the therapy focuses on thought patterns and strategies for coping with ADHD on a regular basis. Many medication strategies work by increasing dopamine levels and stimulating focus. However, some people find unpleasant side effects an issue with medication treating ADHD, and can be more beneficial for people with the inattentive type of ADHD due to the amphetamine-tendencies of the medication.

CBT therapy is often sought as a highly effective form of therapy for ADHD, and a combination of different strategies is the best course of treatment for ADHD.

What alternative therapies are suggested for ADHD?

Foods which are rich in protein are used by the body to make neurotransmitters from the amino acids. Neurotransmitters are chemicals released by the brain cells, which communicate with each other. Protein is used to prevent blood sugar surges. These surges are known to increase hyperactivity and impulsivity.

Amino acids influence neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. Both these neurotransmitters play a major part in our wellbeing – dopamine regulates mood and muscle movement, and serotonin regulates mood, sleep and digestion.

ADHD and exercise

Regular exercise can control the symptoms of ADHD by providing motivation for mental tasks. Exercise also gives energy, and helps ease symptoms of confusion. When exercising, your brain produces dopamine, which, as we’ve already covered, is essential for regulating mood. These factors all help with attention and clear thinking behaviours.

What worsens ADHD?

There are some common triggers which can make ADHD symptoms worse.

These triggers include:

  • Stress and poor sleep
  • Overstimulation
  • Technology
  • Certain foods and additives

How can you get involved with ADHD Awareness Month?

If you wish to share your ADHD story, or perhaps an experience with a loved one with ADHD, you can!

What is the focus for ADHD Awareness Month this October?

For 2021, the main focus is going to be addressing these interesting topics:

  • ADHD relationships and communication
  • ADHD parenting
  • Diagnosis of children and adults with ADHD
  • ADHD and co-occurring conditions
  • ADHD treatment plans
  • ADHD experiences

Myths about ADHD

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