Sample our March Newsletter: Radical Acceptance Meets Executive Functions – I’m so tired of beating myself up. I also know that I not alone in feeling this shame and self-loathing. Loving yourself is a basic need of the human spirit, but we’re talking about living with ADHD. It gets complicated.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood disorders and often continues through adolescence and adulthood. ADHD involves under activity in the frontal cortex of the brain, which is responsible for the regulation of attention, impulse and motor control. ADHD also affects the complex reward system in the brain. Due to this lack of regulation, ADHD affects the ability to plan, to organize space and time, to carry out tasks, and to control one’s emotions.
(Note: You do not have to have hyperactivity to be diagnosed with ADHD. There are three presentations of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – 5th edition (DSM-5TM)(Link works) (PDF )(1)
- Predominantly inattentive
- Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive
- Combined inattentive-hyperactive-impulsive.
ADHD is increasingly recognized as a developmental disorder where self-regulation, or Executive Function – the ability to govern one’s thoughts and actions – is delayed and underdeveloped even in maturity. Actually, Attention Dysregulation describes ADHD better than the term Attention Deficit. (Link works) The Executive Functions coordinate the many complicated actions within the brain. These actions, or functions, involve working memory, planning, motivation, initiation, complex problem-solving, self-monitoring, and other abilities. They all involve controlling one’s behavior and emotions as well as directing future actions. When these functions don’t work well together, behaving appropriately or getting things done is a hit and miss proposition. Executive Functions (EFs) work together as if they are the conductor of an orchestra. A conductor’s job is to get all the various instruments to work together to produce beautiful music. (1)(2)
Could it be ADHD?
Screening Tests – A collection of printed and online ADHD tests for children and adults.
When you first suspect ADHD is the problem, suddenly, an odd collection of personal quirks and failures; poor organization, problems remembering, failing to get tasks started, or following through, even changeable emotions, has a name. Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder is a well-researched condition that improves vastly with treatment. Because the hallmark of ADHD is variability, symptoms of ADHD are often judged as a willful lack of concern, a failure to grow up and take responsibility for one’s actions. But these frustrating behaviors may signal a different operating system in the brain, where actions are driven not by importance but by being interested, challenged, or finding the task novel or imminently urgent. (3)
ADHD is a chronic and impairing, but treatable disorder. Once you understand the ADHD brain, change is possible. Parents, children, adults, and their relationships all benefit from knowing as much as possible and acting on that knowledge. Medication, using external reminders, creating structure and routine, practicing basic self-care, and seeking support are all viable treatment options to improve daily functioning. Letting go of learned shame and working to accept and control the impact of ADHD on your life can bring tremendous relief and healing. Help for ADHD is more available than ever before if only you can find it. We’ve compiled a selection of resources to guide you.
What can you do?
It’s frustrating not to know where to go for the education, support, and treatment providers you may need. Effective treatment may require services and ideas from different sources both medical and practical. It would be ideal if you could contact a local person or agency with all your questions, but that is not the reality that most of us experience. Find Treatment and Support for an introduction to ADHD and sources to find the help you need.
Learning about ADHD, realizing how it impacts each individual, and finding what you need for yourself or your family is invaluable. Because ADHD is often accompanied by learning disabilities, behavior disorders or mental illnesses, (AKA as comorbidities) it is important to get professional help. You can make the difference. By understanding the disorder, you can accept what you cannot change while taking the necessary steps to get effective treatment. Make the effort. You have nothing to lose but ignorance and everything to gain. Here’s to a better life for you and your loved ones.
Living with ADHD – Articles and Resource collections – Topics include: What is ADHD? Children with ADHD – Help for the home or at school. Adults with ADHD – Time management, productivity and other help for your personal and home life or at work. You’ll also find some favorite videos and our Newsletters.
- ADHD in Audio and Video – You don’t have to like to read to educate yourself about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Today, information abounds on the internet, but myths mingle with fact and deciding which is true is an everyday challenge.
- For the novice, Help Guide has ADHD Sections for both children and adults with good basic information. (Link works)
- The National Resource Center on ADHD offers extensive basic information and you can even contact one of their librarians for help. Click on Understanding ADHD in the menu. (A project of CHADD.)
- ADDitude Magazine (Link works) – ADDitude is arguably the best site for overall coverage of family and personal concerns, although articles are short and you may want to see other recommended articles for more information. (Or subscribe to their magazine!)
Understanding isn’t easy
ADHD is a complex and multi-faceted disorder deserving of attention on both a public and personal level.
- Our companion site, ADD freeSources on Pinterest, has thousands of articles, images, and other comments on over 80 boards. Most of them concern ADHD and related topics.
- ADD freeSources on Facebook is a way to access fifty of the Boards from the Pinterest page without joining Pinterest. Daily posts keep an interesting stream of information coming.
Browsing ADD freeSources on Pinterest is interesting and provides a steady stream of up to date information and encouragement as does our Facebook page. This site isn’t as much fun. It’s straightforward and full of resources not always addressed on other sites. Understand it will take some time to find the help and support you’ll need to address the many pieces of the ADHD puzzle.
As always, life is a work in progress. Please stay with us as the site evolves.
Disclaimer: This website should not be misinterpreted as medical advice. You should only accept information about ADHD as “professional” when it comes from a licensed medical practitioner. If you have difficulty functioning in your daily life, we recommend that you seek evaluation and treatment from an experienced and reputable provider.
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(1)American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. 2013.
(2) Executive Function… What is this anyway? By Chris Zeigler Dendy Harvested 11/26/2015 http://www.chrisdendy.com/executive.htm
(3) The Brown Model of ADHD by Dr. Thomas Brown Harvested 12/12/2016 https://www.brownadhdclinic.com/the-brown-model-of-add-adhd
(4) Adult and teen ADHD – How do I know I have ADHD? By William Dodson, M.D. Harvested 11/26/2015 http://www.dodsonadhdcenter.com/adult-and-teen-adh/
- 1st photo credit – “Image courtesy of Luigi/FreeDigitalPhotos.net” – Modified on Canva
- 2nd photo credit – “Image courtesy of Idea go/FreeDigitalPhoto.net”
- 3rd photo credit – “Microphone – Image courtesy of SalvatoreVuomo/FreeDigitalPhotos.net”
“Director’s chair – Image courtesy of renjith krishnan/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net”
Poster created on Canva
- 4th photo credit – “Image courtesy of franky242/FreeDigitalPhotos.net” – Modified on Canva.com
Just a few of our Pinterest Boards – Note: Click on the Board’s Title or “Follow on Pinterest” to link. If you click on the Board itself, you may just get an individual Pin.
If you’re not on Pinterest, you can access 50 of ADD freeSources’ Boards on Facebook. Look for the Pinterest tab on the left.