Dr Edward Hallowell explains ADHD “It’s not a deficit of anything, it’s an abundance…It’s not a disorder of anything, it’s a trait.”

The diagnosis of ADHD falls under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition: DSM-5 is categorised by three specific subtypes and defined by the presence of excessive symptoms of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity. The symptoms are measured on children aged between 6 and 12 years.

DSM-5 classification of the into 3 subtypes:

  • inattentive – easily distracted, difficulty focusing particularly on one task. (historically referred to as ADD)
  • impulsive and hyperactive – fidgeting, in constant motion
  • combined – inattentive, impulsive, and hyperactive – the most common

“A person with ADHD has the power of a Ferrari engine but with bicycle brakes. Strengthen the brakes and you have a champion”

Dr Ned Hallowell

About ADHD

  • “ADHD has a unique brain wiring which requires engaged interest with a clear, purposeful intention to order, activate and access attention so an individual can manage the brain’s executive functioning.’  (ADDCA definition) 
  • ADHD is a common neurological condition which affects approximately 5% of adults and up to 11% of children and adolescence. ADHD impacts the parts of the brain that helps us plan, sustain our attention, organise, manage time, and execute tasks.
  • ADHD if managed is a gift, a superpower with many benefits. Strengths such as creativity, originality, innovation, quick thinking, intuition, calm in a crisis, fun to be around, ability to hyper focus, quick to get on task when interested and motivated, inventive, often risk averse, less resistant to change are just some advantages.
  • Brain imaging, fMRI scans and clinical research show that ADHD is more of a developmental delay and or impairment of the brains self-management system. Contrary to belief, it is a behaviour disorder, a mental illness or learning difficulty.
  • ADHD is often more difficult to pick up in girls, teenagers and adults as symptoms are less well known, such as being disruptive or outwardly hyperactive.  Sadly, there is much misdiagnosis and misunderstanding. Hyperactivity only occurs in 25% of children and 5% of adults and as we mature ADHD presentations alter. It is believed to ADHD affects up to 1 in 20 people.
  • It is thought ADHD is more of a deficit of channelled attention as is in some cases such as doing things which are interesting, there is no issue with attention.  Where there is novelty, a challenge, sense of urgency or passion getting on task and focusing attention is often unproblematic issue.  Understanding what is important, rewards and consequences however can be more difficult.
  • ADHD challenges are varied and can interfere with day to day, education and working life. Examples of ADHD behaviour when it can cause problems are:  getting on task; task completion and keeping time; flexibility; transitions; future thinking; sustained attention; hard to manage emotions, easily angered or upset;  feeling things more intensely, hypersensitivity;  excessive fidgeting; easily distracted; easily bored; act or speaking without thinking; forgetful; difficulty making decisions; awareness of self and others; poor working memory; rejection sensitivity; negative thoughts and rumination;  perfectionism and overwhelm. Coaching can help with creating strategies to manage ADHD symptoms.
  • ADHD is invisible with an interest led nervous system. To the outside world it can be difficult to understand, but when there is interest and motivation, it is easy to get on task.  Often mislabelled as lazy, when interest is lacking, getting motivated can feel unconquerable.  By aligning your strengths and learning to manage your lovely brain, much of this can be overcome.
  • Research carried out on university students who received coaching were found to have better executive functioning skills and self-motivation. They have more positive thoughts, are responsible for their actions, achieve their goals, are more emotionally regulated, manage stress, have improved learning strategies, such as with time management and concentration. As well as better self-awareness, self-esteem and self-efficacy. Group coaching equally has similar benefits.
  • There are many familiar famous faces we know who are extraordinary, in all fields. Steve Jobs; Bill Gates; Elon Musk; Simone Biles; Michael Phelps;  Emma Watson, Ryan Reynolds, Ryan Gosling;  Justin Timberlake; Erin Brockervich; Greta Thunberg is just to name a few.

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