Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobehavioral disorder characterised by difficulty concentrating, paying attention, and controlling one’s impulses. Those with ADHD often experience challenges in school or work, as well as difficulty staying organised and maintaining healthy relationships.
The number of ADHD patients, which affects people of all ages, has been increasing in recent years as doctors are now better able to diagnose the disorder, and also because people are more aware of its symptoms.
Diagnosis in children early on improves their outcomes, while adults who never had the chance to be diagnosed as kids are now able to be identified as having ADHD as well.
If you suspect you have ADHD but have never been diagnosed, here are symptoms and behaviours you may be experiencing:
- trouble focusing, whether it’s on tasks at work or everyday things you need to get done at home;
- hyperactivity, where you find it difficult to sit still and may talk or move around excessively;
- impulsivity, when you struggle to think before acting and make decisions or carry out actions without considering the consequences;
- difficulty paying attention, which can cause problems with completing tasks and understanding instructions;
- difficulty remembering things or staying organised, which can lead to problems at work or school;
- often being overwhelmed by tasks or feeling like you’re not able to keep up.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s worth speaking to a psychologist to help you determine whether or not you have ADHD. These professionals can provide the support and guidance you need to manage your symptoms and lead a more fulfilling life.
While medication is an important part of treating ADHD, psychology can play a key role in helping people manage their disorder. Here are some of the ways psychologists are able to help.
Firstly, psychologists are trained to diagnose people with ADHD, and can evaluate an individual’s symptoms and assess whether they fit the criteria.
Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT)
CBT has been used for years to help people with a range of issues. It has been found to be especially beneficial for those with ADHD.
In brief, CBT helps people recognise how their thoughts affect their behaviour, and provides strategies for managing their symptoms. As such, psychologists may use CBT to help people with ADHD better understand their thoughts and how they act/react.
Behavioural therapy can help people with ADHD develop practical strategies for managing their symptoms – for example, setting goals and breaking them down into small, achievable steps.
It can also help people with ADHD learn how to self-monitor their behaviour, identify triggers for their symptoms, and develop strategies to manage those triggers.
Experts can also provide psychoeducation to help individuals and their families better understand the disorder. This includes information about how ADHD affects functioning, available therapies and treatments, and management tips.
Psychologists may use talking therapies such as counselling or psychotherapy to help those with ADHD. Talking therapies can help individuals process their feelings and emotions related to the disorder, and can help people develop better coping strategies and self-care practices.
Supporting family members of ADHD sufferers
Psychologists can also provide support for family members of people with ADHD. This could include helping them to understand the disorder and how it affects their loved one, teaching them strategies for managing their family member’s symptoms, and providing guidance on how to create a supportive and nurturing environment.