Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders are common (1 in 15 in our community), seriously disabling, and eminently treatable mental disorders. Usually evident in childhood, but often overlooked, if untreated most with ADD and ADHD will struggle lifelong with the condition.
Those with ADD/ADHD struggle to apply themselves in a creative way to a balanced range of activities, and often loose interest, motivation, and attention, and become bored and easily distracted when involved in activities beyond very limited areas they are passionate about. Many describe themselves as prone to 'daydreaming', many feel agitated, restless, unable to switch off the mind and overwealmed by too many thoughts. Some find themselves overactive and always busy, and overtalkative. Uninspiring teachers of uninspiring subjects often observe the teenager with ADD/ADHD would do better academically "if only they applied themselves", while inspiring teachers in a subject the student is passionate about report teenagers producing "excellent work".
Those with ADD/ADHD are prone to low self esteem, loss of faith in others, may lapse into alcohol and drugs in an effort to soothe their agitated states of mind, may become seriously depressed, and often experience relationship difficulties. They may also be high achievers in an area of passion, such as sport or career, and become excessively devoted to such activity, to the neglect of a creatively balanced life.
The cause of ADD/ADHD is not known, however the condition often runs in families, so is thought to often have a genetic basis.
A mental health expert, usually a Psychiatrist or Clinical Psychologist trained in the assessment and diagnosis of ADD/ADHD is required for a definite diagnosis, or to definitely exclude the diagnosis.
Lifelong treatment is very likely to be very helpful, and a combination of medicine and therapy is usually recommended.
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