Did you know?
43 facts about ADHD. 

01. Research shows that people with ADHD have difficulty sticking to healthy routines such as ensuring a healthy diet, regular exercise or sleep patterns. Maintaining these routines requires special effort for people with ADHD.
02. ADHD is a chemical issue in the management systems of the brain. It often appears to be a willpower problem, but it’s not. The cause of ADHD is related to chemicals manufactured, released, and reloaded at the level of synapses. Persons with ADHD tend not to release enough of these essential chemicals, or to release and reload them too quickly. ADHD medication helps to smooth out this process.
03. Adult’s with ADHD often struggle with: – Chronic boredom; – Lateness; – Forgetfulness; – Orientation; – Following instructions; – Remembering information; – Concentrating; – Organisaition; – Completion of tasks.
04. Rates of comorbid bipolar disorder in adults with ADHD are estimated between 5.1% and 47.1%. Approximately 20% to 50% of adults with ADHD have major depressive disorder. Approximately half of individuals with ADHD have some type of anxiety disorder. More than 50% of adults with ADHD also suffer from personality disorders. Research shows that 25% – 40% of adults with substance abuse disorder also have ADHD. People with ADHD are at least 1.5 times more likely to develop substance abuse disorder.
05. Adult ADHD symptoms include: – Impulsiveness; – Disorganisation and problems prioritizing; – Poor time management; – Poor focus; – Trouble multitasking; – Excessive activity or restlessness; – Poor planning; – Low frustration tolerance; – Frequent mood swings; – Problems following through / completing tasks; – Mood dysregulation or “hot temper”; – Trouble coping with stress.
06. People with ADHD often also have other neuro- developmental conditions such as: – Autistic spectrum disorder; – Tic disorder; – Tourette’s syndrome; – Dyslexia; – Dyspraxia; – Sensory processing disorder.
07. The brain of someone with ADHD is physically different to those without ADHD. In children, the frontal lobe — which controls impulses, organisation and focus — may mature more slowly.
08. Hyperfocus (over-absorption in an activity) is a trait of ADHD. Hyperfocus is a brain mechanism of coping with distractors. While it can be beneficial if channeled into productive activity, it can also be detrimental to work and relationships.
09. Up to 30% of children and up to 40% of adults with ADHD have a co-existing anxiety disorder. Up to 70% of those with ADHD will be treated for depression at some point in their lives. Those with ADHD suffer from sleep-disorders up to three times as often as those without it.
10. ADHD is not benign. It is associated with: – Academic underachievement; – Difficulty obtaining and maintaining employment; – Underachievement in work, productivity, and earning power; – Learning difficulties; – Difficulties generating / maintaining relationships; – Overeating / obesity issues; – Criminality issues; – Continuing substance use; – Family breakdown; – Admissions to A&E; – Fatal road accidents; – Poor mental health.
11. Living with ADHD can impact a person’s mental health to the extent that they develop co-existing disorders. Often co-existing mental health disorders can have a more debilitating affect on the person’s wellbeing than the ADHD itself. When ADHD goes undiagnosed, the lack of support and understanding for a person’s challenging behaviour can negatively impact their self-esteem. This in turn can lead to anxiety disorders, depression and anger issues. A person with ADHD is more likely to experience a traumatic event as a result of impulsive behaviour.
12. Hyperactivity and restlessness are not common symptoms of adult ADHD. Common symptoms in adults include difficulty concentrating and maintaining focus, disorganisation, forgetfulness, impulsivity and emotional dysregulation.
13. A person with ADHD may exhibit unusual or disruptive behaviour. This in turn may negatively impact their self-esteem, causing them to withdraw from important events, activities and people in their life. This withdrawal can cause their mood to spiral down further leading to depression.
14. People with ADHD often also exhibit Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). A child with ADHD may exhibit difficulty with compromise and accepting responsibility, a tendency to blame others, disobedience, resentment and oversensitivity to correction.
15. Young people with ADHD are five times more likely to go to prison than their typically developing peers. Adults with ADHD are ten times more likely to be incarcerated than their peers.
16. Anxiety may be experienced by a child as worry or fear when coping with symptoms of ADHD. This anxiety — manifested in emotional, psychological and physical symptoms — can be the source of panic when it occurs without stimulus.
17. Someone with ADHD is often able to concentrate on activities they enjoy. However, no matter how hard they try, they will have difficulty maintaining focus on a task they find boring or repetitive.
18. Someone with ADHD is six times more likely to suffer from another psychiatric or learning disorder, such as major depression or an anxiety disorder.
19. ADHD is consistently under-diagnosed, and under-treated, in women. Men are three times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than women.
20. No two adults with ADHD are alike; as they will have developed different coping mechanisms.
21. Untreated, ADHD is extremely expensive in terms of: – Cost of mental health services for adults with mental health or substance abuse disorders that have stemmed from undiagnosed ADHD in youth. – The impact of academic attainment. – The impact on parents who are unable to work so that they can be available to care for a child with ADHD. – The disproportionate number of young offenders who reach the judicial system. – Academic underachievement and economic inactivity.
22. One in four children with ADHD will have a parent who also has ADHD. Siblings of those with ADHD are also more likely to have ADHD themselves.
23. Studies have found employees with ADHD are 60% more likely to be fired, and three times more likely than their co-workers to quit without warning.
24. ADHD is not a damaged or defective nervous system. It is a nervous system that works well using its own set of rules. The ADHD brain has been described as an “interest-based nervous system”. The interests are specifically tailored to the individual, and are determined by what is happening at that particular moment. A person with ADHD can can only do what is novel, interesting, challenging or urgent to them personally. The ADHD brain seeks high-stimulation situations, stronger incentives, and more immediate rewards, which trigger a quick and intense release of dopamine and with it a rush of motivation.
25. Studies suggest that ADHD symptoms are not correlated in any way to IQ. However, it’s almost certain that people with an ADHD nervous system use their IQs in different ways than do neurotypical people. By the time most people with the condition reach secondary level education, they are able to tackle problems that stump everyone else, and can jump to solutions that no one else saw.
26. The vast majority of adults with an ADHD nervous system are not overtly hyperactive. They are hyperactive internally.
27. Persons with ADHD do not have a shortage of attention. Rather, they pay too much attention to everything. Most people with unmedicated ADHD have four or five things going on in their minds at once. The hallmark of the ADHD nervous system is not attention deficit, but inconsistent attention.
28. People with ADHD primarily get in the zone by being interested in, or intrigued by, what they are doing. This is what William Dodson calls the “interest-based nervous system”. Judgmental friends and family see this as being unreliable or self-serving. If friends or family say, “You can do the things you like,” they are describing the essence of the ADHD nervous system.
29. Emotional disruptions are the most impairing aspects of ADHD at any age.
30. 100% of people with ADHD experience Rejection-Sensitive Dysphoria. This means they are more sensitive than their neurotypical peers to rejection, teasing, criticism, or their own perception that they have failed or fallen-short.   The emotional response to the perception of failure is catastro-phic for those with the condition. The term “dysphoria” means “difficult to bear,” and most people with ADHD report that they “can hardly stand it.” They are not wimps; disapproval hurts them much more than it hurts neurotypical people.
31. As a result of Rejection-Sensitive Dysphoria, people with ADHD are neurologically hardwired to believe that when they experience or fear that someone might withdraw their love, approval or respect, they experience it in a catastrophically painful, emotional fashion. Consequently, they can have severe downturns in their life that are totally unpredictable. Persons with ADHD tend to respond to this symptom in two ways: – Becoming people pleasers, disregarding completely what they themselves need, resulting in a lack of self-identity; – Stop trying altogether unless they’re assured in advance of complete, immediate success. These people become known as “slackers” and their lack of effort is seen as a motivational issue, when in fact it is a way to avoid the pain of possible failure in front of somebody else.
32. If emotional pain is internalised, a common result of Rejection-Sensitive Dysphoria, a person may experience depression and loss of self-esteem in the short term. If emotions are externalised, pain can be expressed as rage at the person or situation that wounded them. For many years, Rejection-Sensitive Dysphoria has been the hallmark of what has been called atypical depression. The reason that it was not called “typical” depression is that it is not depression at all but the ADHD nervous system’s instantaneous response to the trigger of rejection.
33. Many people with ADHD can’t screen out sensory input. Sometimes this is related to only one sensory realm, such as hearing. In fact, the phenomenon is called hyperacusis (amplified hearing), even when the disruption comes from another of the five senses.
34. Persons with ADHD cannot interpret the value of “importance” in a task, only whether or not they are interested in it. People with ADHD are not motivated by subjects that someone else, or society, might deem to be important — this is known as secondary importance; i.e. something considered important by a family member or parent, teacher, boss, friend or partner.
35. Persons with ADHD cannot interpret the concepts of rewards and consequences. Research studies in behavioural management techniques fail to show any lasting benefit in those with ADHD.
36. A lot of people with ADHD have such problems with self-appraisal that they cannot tell when they are hungry, but will still exhibit difficult behaviour when are hungry.
37. Adults with ADHD are as impaired by sleep-deprivation caused by their ADHD as they are by the other symptoms of the disorder. A large percentage of adults with ADHD will report a burst of energy in the evenings. On average, adults with ADHD will often lie awake for two-hours longer than their neurotypical peers.
38. Neurotypical people use three different factors to decide what to do, how to get started on it, and to stick with it until it is completed: 1. The concept of importance (i.e. they think they should get it done); 2. The concept of secondary importance — they are motivated by the fact that their parents, teacher, boss, or someone they respect thinks the task is important to tackle and to complete; 3. The concept of rewards for doing a task and consequences / punishments for not doing it. A person with an ADHD nervous system has never been able to use the idea of importance or rewards to start or complete a task. They know what’s important, they like rewards, and they don’t like punishment. But for them, the things that motivate the rest of the world are merely irritants they cannot comprehend. Thus the inability to use importance and rewards as motivators has a lifelong impact on the lives of people with ADHD.
39. A common trait of persons with ADHD is omnipotential. This is the ability to do whatever a person sets their mind to, if they can become engaged in that objective.
40. Challenges to working memory in persons with ADHD makes it difficult hold and process information quickly in the moment.  As a result, the ADHD brain shows a tendency toward “counterproductive excessive thinking” or “overthinking”, i.e: revisiting the same ideas over and over again.   This overthinking can make it difficult for the individual to focus and attend to what is important, and may relate to:   – Emotionally charged thoughts, such as personal or professional relationship issues;   – A mission-critical work project;   – Or more mundane tasks, such as the need to plan a vacation.
41. ‘Overthinking’ has been described as “when your thoughts get caught in a loop, and you go over and over the same thoughts without feeling better or finding a resolution”.  Thoughts might get “stuck” on day-to-day worries, or on future events. Oftentimes, the focus is events that happened in the past. This rehashing of situations is associated with feelings of shame and regret and can contribute to increased self-consciousness and anxiety, low self-esteem, and depression.
42. Polarized Thinking, often also called All-Or-Nothing Thinking, is a cognitive-distortion and common marker of ADHD.   This is a common negative though process whereby every-thing — from one’s view of themself to their life experiences, reactions and emotional responses — is divided into black-or-whte choices.   This way of thinking can have profoundly negative effects on one’s self-esteem and is often related to anxiety, depression, and panic disorder.
43. Only one quarter of children and 5% of adults with ADHD exhibit the symptom of physical hyperactivity.  The vast majority of people with ADHD, instead, experience hyperactivity as an internal feeling of hyperarousal, i.e. they can’t turn off their whirring, overactive brains. This symptom often manifests as extreme emotions; a condition known as emotional hyperarousal.   This can make them appear overly sensitive and be off-putting to those around them; which, in turn, can do deep, long-term damage to their self-esteem.  Most clinicians are trained to recognize the intense emotions that come with mood disorders, yet they are wholly unfamiliar with the emotional symptoms of ADHD — particularly emotional hyperarousal.
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