ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My father had it, my brothers had it, and now my sons have it. It has been crazy, it has been enlightening, and, in the end, it has been wonderful.
Many speculate that ADHD isn’t even a disorder. Does ADHD really exist or is it just a bunch of hype?
What is ADHD?
ADHD, sometimes confused with ADD, or Attention Deficit Disorder, currently affects over 5.4 million children or 8.4% of the population. The symptoms of ADHD include an inability to stay focused or pay attention, forgetfulness, being fidgety, and often include spontaneity.
Yup that pretty much sums up my life. My childhood was filled with surprises and lots of energy.
What causes ADHD?
No one knows exactly what causes ADHD, but certain things are known to play a role. ADHD does run in families. When a parent has ADHD, a child has more than a 50% likelihood of having it. If an older sibling has it, there is a more than a 30% likelihood.
Treatment for ADHD
Currently ADHD can’t be prevented or cured, but you can treat the symptoms. My father refused treatment and his symptoms ruled his life. When my first son was diagnosed, I chose a different route.
I knew that our life wouldn’t look like other people’s lives and that’s okay. There were times when my son would break out in dance for no apparent reason. He learned math through stories about Ninja Turtles rather than with pencil and paper. At every family gathering, he referred to his Aunt Doris as “Darla” because he couldn’t remember names. She eventually just went with it.
With a little trial and error, we found what worked for him, and it wasn’t medication. Some changes in our environment (like organization) and our approach to life (like routines) made living with ADHD manageable and even enjoyable.
Does ADHD really exist?
Well, one thing’s for sure. The symptoms of ADHD really exist for millions of children and adults out there. There are treatments and they do help. That was nearly 15 years ago. Today, my son is a wonderful young man. He is loved by everyone and has taught us all so much about living a full and happy life; with or without ADHD.