What is ADHD?

Definition

ADHD, also referred to as ADD, stands for Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD). The core symptoms, as defined by the diagnostic manual used by mental health professionals, are excessive distractibility, impulsivity and restlessness. ADHD can occur without any signs of hyperactivity, causing more inattentiveness than hyperactivity and restlessness.

"The hallmark symptom of ADHD is the phenomenon called 'interested based performance.' That is, people with ADHD can perform at a very high level as long as they find the work interesting, challenging, and novel. The importance of the task does not help them engage with it or sustain their involvement all the way to the finished product. People with ADHD have a neurologically based procrastination and inability to engage with such tasks despite the clear intellectual understanding that deadlines have come and gone."

Approximately 5 to 8 percent of the American population has ADHD. Roughly 60 to 70 percent of the time it persists into adulthood.

Executive Functions

ADHD can be viewed essentially as a problem with executive functions. Executive functions comprise the management system of the brain. They include organizing, prioritizing, focusing, regulating alertness, sustaining effort, managing frustration, utilizing working memory, and more. Dr. Thomas Brown's executive functions model "describes how a child or adult with ADD/ADHD can focus very well on a few activities that intensely interest them, yet be unable to focus adequately on most other tasks of daily life. It explains how ADD/ADHD often looks like a weakness in willpower, but isn't."

You're in Good Company

Many experts in the mental health field recognize that ADHD is a collection of symptoms, not all of which are necessarily negative. Dr. Ned Hallowell, for example, says that creativity is "impulsivity gone right."

Galileo, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Frank Lloyd Wright, Thomas Jefferson and many other brilliant, history-changing individuals exhibited ADHD traits.

Many contemporary innovators have publicly identified themselves as having ADHD. David Neeleman, CEO and founder of JetBlue Airways, Paul Orfalea, founder of Kinko's, Clarence Page, two-time Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Charles Schwab and Robin Williams are part of this highly respected group. 2008 Olympic gold medalist, swimmer Michael Phelps, is one of many successful athletes with ADHD.

Not Sure?

In today's world there is extraordinary competition for our time and attention. Most people experience ADHD-like symptoms now and then. If ADHD characteristics interfere with daily functioning in a significant way, it is recommended that you seek an evaluation with a qualified medical professional. Coaches do not diagnose, but can give you referrals to professionals in your area who have training and experience in diagnosing ADHD.

Whether you've been diagnosed with ADHD, simply wonder if you have ADHD, or sometimes experience challenges with focus and attention, coaching with me can produce positive results. My general coach training, my specialized ADHD coach training, and years of experience working with individuals with attention inconsistencies, provides me with the insights and tools to help you design ways to improve your life.

Kay Grossman
Kay Grossman, M.A.
You may be interested in my other Web Site, www.FOCUSdammit.com. It targets successful, busy professionals who are looking for some Attention... Traction!
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