How can I have ADHD when I don’t bounce off the
> 12/14/2005 9:27:27 AM


The image that comes to mind for most people when you mention Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD or ADD, is one of person who is full of energy, constantly moving or fidgeting; the Energizer bunny.  While this is true for some people who had ADHD, not all have the hyperactive component.  However, it is often this nonstop activity that more easily brings the focus upon a person, leading to a greater likelihood of identifying the ADHD. 


 Many of those without the hyperactive component go for a long time without being identified, sometimes well into adulthood.  These “quiet” ADHD persons may be labeled as “day-dreamers” or “absent-minded,” never knowing that there maybe something more to it.


 But what does having ADHD really mean?  Well, it means a lot of things to a lot of different people.  While there are several behaviors that people with ADHD exhibit, not every persons exhibit the same behaviors, and those who do may not do so to the same extent. 


 In the simplest terms possible, people with ADHD have greater trouble with delayed rewards.  If they are doing something that have little to no immediate reward vale, they will become bored and lose interest, leading them to seek out another activity.  They are able to continue with activities that they find interesting or fun because they are being immediately rewarded (fun = stimulation of reward center in brain).  Hence people often find it difficult to understand why a person who can spend hours on something that might be considered a hobby can’t apply that same focus to every other aspect of their life.  It is this inconsistent level of performance that often leads to the belief that that person is just plain “lazy.”

 This can come across as:

  1. difficulty sustaining attention
  2. difficulty controlling impulses
  3. excessive behaviors
  4. difficulty following instructions
  5. doing work inconsistently

 There is a physical component to ADHD, a chemical imbalance in the brain which leads to these tendencies that often emerges in early childhood, before age 7.  Difficulties related to brain chemistry is often difficult to diagnose because, short of taking a slice of brain matter from the person, there are often no physical tests which can show that there is an imbalance, we can only identify it by the resulting symptoms.  However, this physical component is what differentiates a person with ADHD from someone who might be “lazy.”


 Also, a person is considered to have ADHD only when their resulting behaviors have a significant negative impact on a person’s ability to function at work, in school, or with other people.    


 Keep in mind that ADHD is often a chronic condition, meaning that it is something that one will manage throughout one’s life, but it is manageable with various treatment options for you to choose which one is right for you and your ADHD.


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