Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic condition that affects focus, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. What many don’t know is how ADHD and addiction can intersect. Many are undiagnosed with ADHD and aren’t aware of the resources that can help them thrive in life. ADHD awareness month works to educate those with ADHD and their loved ones about the condition and how it affects their lives.
The Beginning of ADHD Awareness
The US Senate instated ADHD Awareness Day on the third Wednesday of September in 2004. The day soon became a week-long celebration and then later a month-long celebration for the ADHD community. The awareness month became a chance for the community and health care professionals to educate the public about ADHD, a disorder that often gets misrepresented by the media.
Today, ADHD Awareness Month serves as a tool to dispel myths and promote scientifically proven treatment for children and their families who might also have ADHD due to its genetic factors. Despite the common belief that ADHD is overdiagnosed, many people fall through the cracks of ADHD diagnosis. Knowing what ADHD is and how it manifests in children and adults can help them receive the proper treatment they need.
What You Might Not Know About ADHD
There are plenty of stereotypes that come to mind when talking about ADHD, but the condition is much more complicated than that. Undiagnosed ADHD can become an enormous burden in someone’s life.
Those with ADHD might have trouble with focusing, impulse control, or remembering to do tasks. They might struggle with time management, organization, regulating emotions, and paying attention to conversations or during school.
It might be difficult for someone with ADHD to complete homework or housework. They might focus too much on something like video games or sports, even if they have more important responsibilities left to the wayside. Many often confuse ADHD symptoms with laziness or carelessness. This tends to come from how the symptoms are perceived.
ADHD and Substance Use Disorder
Those with substance use disorders (SUDs) and those with ADHD often intersect. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), in a study of cannabis use disorders, it was found that 38% of the adolescents studied had ADHD.
Other studies have also shown that a large percentage of people — both young adults and adults — seeking treatment for substance use had ADHD.
ADHD symptoms, like lack of impulse control, can contribute to substance use. Many of those with ADHD also use substances to cope with secondary mental disorders that can occur as a result of ADHD, such as depression and anxiety. An ADHD diagnosis can help a person connect the dots that might be missing in their addiction treatment.
ADHD symptoms present challenges to the recovery process. Forming habits, sticking with schedules, and controlling impulses can be more difficult than for someone who doesn’t have ADHD. This doesn’t mean a patient with ADHD is a lost cause; however, it does mean that a new approach to recovery is needed.
Discovering New Perspectives
The 2021 theme for ADHD Awareness Month is “Reframing ADHD: Discovering New Perspectives.” The goal of the theme is to offer the viewpoint of both ADHD experts and those who are currently living with ADHD. A lack of understanding of ADHD leads to the stigmas and myths you might hear about.
Learning firsthand about the facts and hearing about the experiences of those who deal with the symptoms of ADHD daily can help you and others understand the importance of ADHD research and community accommodation.
Through the education aspect of ADHD Awareness Month, those who are affected by ADHD and might not know it can seek an assessment, get the appropriate treatment, and share resources with those who also need it.
How to Get Involved
Unfortunately, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, many events are currently canceled or have been changed. Normally, walks for ADHD awareness are held during this month. One organization that is sponsoring ADHD Awareness Month this year, called CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), suggests starting a virtual walk on social media. You can organize participants on social media and record the amount you walked for ADHD.
Another way to participate virtually is to host a virtual fundraiser for ADHD. This can be done through social media by asking your friends or followers for donations to a cause that promotes ADHD research or education. You can also host an online meeting where money is raised for a charity.
ADHD awareness helps those who might need the resources for diagnosis. There is much that still needs to be learned about ADHD, especially in how it affects adults, women, and people of color. There is limited knowledge about the effects of ADHD, but through awareness and education, the hope is that light can be shined on these dark spots where information seems to be missing. If you think you might have ADHD, it’s time to seek a formal assessment and get the treatment you need. ADHD treatment tends to be a mixture of medication in addition to life coaching that focuses on symptom management. If you feel that you are falling short in treatment because you struggled to form habits and maintain a schedule, then consider seeking an evaluation. Cornerstone Healing Center considers every aspect of your mental health when approaching your personalized treatment plan. If you would like to learn more about ADHD, contact us at (800) 643-2108.