by Ashlee Barber
Imagine trying to do something tedious like a homework assignment while all of your senses are busy doing something entirely different like listening to the radio, the television, a jackhammer being used, and hearing hundreds of voices simultaneously without any break or relief. All of these may be disregarded with the proper mindset, according to society. Individuals with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are unable to block these distractions from their minds, ultimately making simple tasks all the more difficult.
Most individuals think of rowdy kids who can’t sit still when they think of ADHD. But the fact is that symptoms of ADHD linger into adulthood, producing difficulties to succeed in today’s fast-paced, hustle-bustle world. ADHD behaviors are not simply caused by lack of discipline or are figments of people’s imagination; it is a permanent disorder which occurs from birth or the first months of the developmental stage of an individual. Society demands individuals work in an efficient manner; those who are suffering with ADHD are struggling to catch up with the pace because of their deficiency.
People suffering from ADHD spends most of their day in their heads, which can seem filled to the brim with tens of thousands of often unrelated thoughts ranging from random observations about color of the carpet to musings on the truth of consciousness. All of these thoughts together speed through the mind at an outrageous rate; they can be crippling, debilitating, and completely freeze someone in his or her tracks. The thoughts worth further consideration often do not receive the time they deserve and are pushed out by the new incongruous or tangential ideas.
An individual only requires at least six symptoms from one of the lists below to be considered ADD or ADHD. You need at least six of the inattentive symptoms, and at least six of the hyperactive/impulsive symptoms to be considered the combined-type ADHD. The symptoms are:
All individuals may show some of these behaviors at various times, however individuals with ADHD exhibit these behaviors more frequently and are more severe and disruptive whether at home, school, or in social settings. These symptoms persist into adulthood and can cause numerous impairments in social, academic, and occupational functioning.
Through the eyes of an individual who has ADHD, it’s like having a different brain altogether, not just a mood that comes and goes. It’s a constant battle. Sometimes it seems as though a thought will get “stuck” and completely block the single processor the brain possesses. Even kicking him or her in the shin will have little chance of breaking him or her out of this crippling grasp. This can last anywhere from a few seconds to hours and hours, often manifesting outwardly as depression, distraction, detachment, and even rudeness. It is difficult to imagine how the brain operates this way. Pondering this can become one of the aforementioned blocking thoughts, adding feelings of intense remorse, embarrassment, and disappointment in oneself.
Most individuals are not aware of, nor believe in, this immense struggle that occurs on a daily basis. But if you recognize any of these symptoms, see the Disability Resources office on your campus. SPC has programs that can help you!