Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
An attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a medical condition affecting a person’s ability to concentrate and stay on task. People with ADHD may have trouble staying focused, difficulty controlling behavior, and can be fidgety, restless, and overactive. The inability to focus is a main symptom of ADHD. Being easily distracted can be problematic in the classroom, on the job, and in relationships. It can cause numerous driving difficulties, including speeding, accidents, and even the loss of a driver’s license. For those with substance use disorders and ADHD, these issues and their consequences are even more complex. Check out the following signs and symptoms in the three primary categories of ADHD.
In the following lists, mark items with an A (always) or O (often) to show rate of occurrence.
____ Difficulty sustaining attention or completing tasks without being monitored
____ Skip from one activity (or topic) to another
____ Easily distracted by other things happening nearby
____ Does not appear to be listening or following a conversation, daydreams
____ Poor attention to instructions or directions
____ Fails to pay attention to details, makes careless mistakes, rushes
____ Avoids tasks that require sustained mental or physical effort, easily bored, needs reminders
____ Difficulty organizing tasks and belongings
____ Forgetful, loses things, easily frustrated
____ Fidgets with hands and feet, squirms in seat, grabs or touches excessively
____ Difficulty sitting still or remaining seated
____ Runs or climbs too much (children), or feels restless (adolescents and adults)
____ Louder than others, makes noises
____ Always active, “on the go” or seems to be “driven by a motor”
____ Talks excessively, excitable, easily upset
____ Blurts out answers, ignores consequences
____ Difficulty waiting or following a routine
____ Interrupts or intrudes on others
____ Talks too much
____ Has trouble resisting temptation
Help is Available
Medication can be helpful in the treatment of ADHD, however other behavioral interventions may make medication unnecessary or be an appropriate adjunct to it. It may be helpful to look at your behavior in comparison to an objective, positive friend or coach who has good organizational and social skills. Friends can serve as role models for appropriate behavior. It is also important to learn positive internal dialogue, such as, “I stayed on task” or “I did what I said I would do.” It is best to work on one area at a time, stating the task out loud, and talking quietly through it can help you stay on track. Tomorrow I’ll present some specific ADHD tools you can use to improve your focus, concentration, and attention.
Recovery is a Journey. Enjoy the Ride!