According to the National Institute of Mental Health, there will be at least one child with ADD or ADHD in every school classroom in the country. These children struggle with special learning and behavioral issues. They also grow up into adults, continuing to struggle with ADD and ADHD.
Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity (ADHD) is hard to miss in children. It is the child who can’t sit still, can’t wait his or her turn, is in constant motion, is running and climbing inappropriately, can’t wait to talk, talks too loud, acts first and thinks second.
Children with ADHD often have difficulty with their minds to keep up with their bodies. They have so much trouble with impulse control that they are often in trouble, and often confused about why. It takes a toll on self-esteem when a nice person is trying hard, but is unable to control behaviors, sit still or follow directions. Being disruptive makes kids stand out and become targeted as the kid who always has someone mad at them and displeased with them.
ADD is Attention Deficit Disorder without the hyperactivity. These children are often not diagnosed, perhaps throughout their entire lives, because ADD is less disruptive and more silent than ADHD. Undiagnosed ADD sufferers often have terrible self-esteem due to not understanding why they have so much trouble completing projects and learning.
People with ADHD and ADD both have the cardinal feature of inattention. It is hard to keep their mind on any one thing. It’s hard to follow directions. Details are ignored and careless mistakes are often made. The person with Attention Deficit Disorder appears forgetful, distracted and disorganized.
In adulthood, ADD and ADHD often results in procrastination, pressured speech that jumps from topic to topic, incompletions (never finishing one task before moving on to the next) and poor self-image (even when high achieving) due to the belief that so much more could be accomplished if only the person was not so disorganized.
ADD and ADHD reduces productivity, interferes with relationships and can often cause depression and anxiety problems. It is painful to have such a lack of control over your education, career and impulses. People with ADD and ADHD get much negative feedback from others and become very frustrated, which can lead to depression and anxiety problems.
Counseling for ADD and ADHD involves learning strategies to control impulses and improve the ability to attend to selected information. Much of all good counseling involves learning to appreciate and master an individual’s gifts. ADD/ADHD can be gifts because people with these disorders can be driven, high energy, flexible, lively, enthusiastic and extremely creative. Some people with ADD/ADHD are quite intelligent and gifted. People with this disorder can be lots of fun to be around!
Learning how to appreciate your “gift” of ADD/ADHD, and overcome the ways it interferes with your life is the task of good counseling.