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ADHD: the basics and what you need to know

What is ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is a mental health disorder that can cause above-normal levels of hyperactive and impulsive behaviors. 

A person with ADHD may experience the following symptoms: 

  • Difficulty sitting still
  • Trouble focusing 
  • Difficulty regulating impulsive behaviour
  • Trouble with organization
  • Inability to follow instructions
  • Forgetting daily tasks
  • Interrupting conversations 
  • High levels of hyperactivity, including constant fidgeting 
  • Poor performance at work or school
  • Making careless mistakes 

ADHD can also be linked with other mental health disorders like anxiety and depression

Many cases of ADHD are diagnosed in childhood and carry into adulthood. Adult diagnosis isn’t uncommon, though this can be harder to catch than childhood ADHD due to the symptoms not being so obvious. For example, adults may struggle less with hyperactivity, but the symptoms are present in behaviours like an inability to pay attention, impulsivity, and restlessness. 

How it differs in men and women 

Research shows that ADHD symptoms can present differently in men than in women. While men tend to externalize their symptoms with hyperactivity and noticeable physical irritability, women internalize their symptoms with feelings of low self esteem and an inability to focus. Women’s less externally obvious symptoms mean they can often go undiagnosed and struggle in silence. This internalized struggle puts women and girls at risk for depression, anxiety, and eating disorders  — which can be especially difficult for young girls to navigate. That’s why it’s so important to reach out for help if you feel like you’re struggling, and to offer support to friends and family if you’ve noticed changes in behaviour. 

Getting help 

Treatment plans for ADHD are often similar in children and adults. However, we always recommend speaking to a doctor or mental health professional for a full diagnosis. From there, you can work with your doctor to establish a treatment plan that’s right for you. In many cases, a treatment plan includes managing symptoms with medication, counselling, and treating other present mental health conditions that affect ADHD. 

If you’re struggling with ADHD, you are not alone. It’s possible to live a life where it isn’t running the show. Speaking with a specialized counsellor can help you understand how to live with ADHD and manage symptoms long-term. In as little as 5 minutes, Wellin5 matches you with a counsellor who meets your specific needs. 

Get the help you deserve