ADD, Attention Deficit & ADHD, Attention deficit Hyperactive Disorder
Learn How to Turn Your ADD & ADHD Into an Asset
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© 2021 Richard Chandler, MA, LPC, Masters in Psychotherapy, Licensed Professional Counselor
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Living life with Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder may be very frustrating for you. Perhaps you have the inattentive kind (commonly referred to as ADD). You may have the hyperactive type (usually called ADHD). With either one, you may experience a good deal of spacing out, forgetfulness, and lack of focus.
Whether officially diagnosed or not, you may have aspects of ADD ADHD. Or perhaps you are the parent, sibling, coworker, or the mate of a person with this condition. Know that there are strategies that can improve the life of a person with ADD and ADHD.
A common approach in counseling is to identify all of the ways that the disorder is hindering your life. In counseling therapy with me, we instead emphasize your ADD and ADHD influenced advantages.
Those advantages include the ability to hyper-focus on subjects that interest you. Another advantage is the increased capacity to engage successfully with entrepreneurial and artistic pursuits. We will explore how to amplify the strengths and benefits of your kind of brain, while at the same time, minimizing the difficulties.
How ADD & ADHD Can Impact Middle School, High School or College
Those with ADD and ADHD who are in middle school, high school, or college often find that their schoolwork suffers from forgetting essential aspects of assignments, including how to structure them and when they are due. Commonly, these students frequently lose their completed work or don’t turn assignments in on time.
Not clearly understanding the requirements for the assignment is another common difficulty that students with attention-deficit commonly experience. The above issues often result in low grades, and even failing ones, despite demonstrating an understanding of the material or performing well on tests.
Teachers and parents can find themselves at a loss in their efforts to help students with Attention Deficit Disorder. All too often, a student relies on others to be his or her memory system, which is not only impractical; it leads to resentment. And students can and do get very discouraged, often internalizing a perception that they are stupid. But some strategies can and do help. Many use technology, which a student is more likely to embrace.
Risks for Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder
As an adult with ADD/ADHD, job security is at a higher risk. The same student struggle with organization, focus, and time management usually continues into work life. Employers are less likely to tolerate unsatisfactory work performance than schools. Losing a job can be very discouraging, stressful, and financially devastating. So getting control over the negative ramifications of attention-deficit is vital for adults.
In addition to school or work challenges, persons with ADD and ADHD also tend to have relationship difficulties. They may hear continual criticism from their husband, wife, or romantic partner who experiences a constant strain from the fallout of inattentiveness, forgetting, and distraction.
How Insufficient Executive Functioning Affects People with ADD & ADHD
The following is a summary of executive functions that people with an attention-deficit struggle to successfully do in their school, work, and personal lives. In writing this summary, I referenced an article in ADDitude Magazine written by the ADHD Editorial Board, overseen and edited by Russell Barkey, Ph.D., and reviewed by Michele Novotni, Ph.D. Executive functioning includes the mental and emotional processes needed to achieve objectives successfully. People with ADD and ADHD struggle in these ways:
- They often feel overwhelmed with comprehending how to successfully move a project forward, leading to procrastinating rather than launching into the complex task or project.
- They find it difficult to clearly understand how to prepare and organize the various aspects of a more complex project, including how to plan the order of activities needed to complete the project and organize the information required to move the project to successful completion.
- They often struggle with assigning a structure to more involved tasks by breaking the entire complex task into manageable smaller sub-tasks and planning the most optimal order of completing the sub-tasks, one at a time. Therefore, the complex task can get stalled before completion.
- They may not be able to accurately allocate a reasonable amount of time to complete the project, most often underestimating the amount of time needed.
- Underlying frustration with their capacity to complete tasks and projects contributes to avoiding responsibilities.
- Impulsiveness is contributed to by a difficulty in clearly visualizing the likely effects of a decision. Their choices are often not thought out well enough in advance of making a decision.
The difficulties discussed above can and do improve with counseling and consulting. I focus on helping my ADD and ADHD clients improve their “executive functioning” by teaching them to develop their protocols for planning, organization, and getting work accomplished on time.
To support their improvement with their “executive functioning,” I sometimes invite my clients’ mates into sessions to help support the changes and to understand that new ways of functioning do take time. Improving relationships between romantic partners and family members is very helpful for everyone connected with my clients.
The Strengths of People with ADD & ADHD are Emphasized and Expanded Upon through Online or Telephone Counseling
On the other hand, often the most creative ‘right brained’ people, including those who work as artists and entrepreneurs, can and do live rewarding and successful lives by learning to utilize the positive attributes of attention deficit disorder while employing attention deficit strategies to manage disorganization and short-term memory issues. My work can really help with successful strategies that contribute significantly to easing the stress for you or a loved one with ADD/ADHD.