ADHD: October is ADHD Awareness Month

    September 29, 2013

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects millions of children and adults. While many people are familiar with the term ADHD, there are many misconceptions tied to this learning disability. Several ADHD groups hope to educate people on these misconceptions during October, which is ADHD Awareness Month.

It’s not uncommon to hear people scoff at ADHD and call it an excuse for poor parenting. Even though ADHD is recognized by “nearly every mainstream medical, psychological, and educational organization in the United States…[and] these organizations also concluded that children and adults with ADHD benefit from appropriate treatment,” some people remain convinced that ADHD isn’t a real disorder. They assert that ADHD is simply bad parenting and lack of discipline:

Because of the misconceptions surrounding ADHD and the fact that the numbers of children and adults with ADHD are increasing, several ADHD groups have joined together to make October ADHD Awareness month. These groups include ACO, ADDA, CHADD and ADDitude. The ADHD Awareness Month Coalition has put together a list of a few things everyone should know about the disorder, including:

ADHD is a non-discriminatory disorder affecting people of every age, gender, IQ, religious and socio-economic background. In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the percentage of children in the United States who have ever been diagnosed with ADHD is now 9.5%. Boys are diagnosed two to three times as often as girls.

In order for a diagnosis of ADHD to be considered, the person must exhibit a large number of symptoms…for a minimum of six months.

Up to 30% of children and 25-40% of adults with ADHD have a co-existing anxiety disorder. Experts claim that up to 70% of those with ADHD will be treated for depression at some point in their lives.

When the ADHD is undiagnosed and untreated, ADHD contributes to problems succeeding in school and successfully graduating.

ADHD is NOT caused by moral failure, poor parenting, family problems, poor teachers or schools, too much TV, food allergies, or excess sugar. Instead, research shows that ADHD is both highly genetic (with the majority of ADHD cases having a genetic component), and a brain-based disorder (with the symptoms of ADHD linked to many specific brain areas).

Do you have ADHD or know someone who does? Share your experience below.

For any parents, teachers or other caregivers who suspect a child in their care may have ADHD, the NIH has put together a list of symptoms. It’s important to note that the presence of a few of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean the child has ADHD, but consulting the child’s pediatrician for an evaluation would be a good ideas.

ADHD Symptoms:

Symptoms of inattention:

Struggle to follow instructions
Be easily distracted, miss details, forget things
Become bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless they are doing something enjoyable
Have trouble completing or turning in homework assignments, often losing things
Not seem to listen when spoken to
Daydream, become easily confused

Symptoms of hyperactivity:

Fidget and squirm in their seats
Talk nonstop
Dash around, touching or playing with anything and everything in sight
Have trouble sitting still
Be constantly in motion
Have difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities.

Image via ADHDAwarenessMonth