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I don’t understand ADHD! Help me understand my student’s diagnosis? 

ADHD, or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, is a neurodevelopmental condition affecting people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities. Unfortunately, a lot of people say they have it, but do they? ADHD can be seen as an excuse for not trying; however, for those affected by it, they might not get the very things they need: understanding, empathy, and support. Our goal is to break down common myths about ADHD, shed light on the stigma attached to it, explore influences that continue the stigmatization of mental health and mental health therapy, and identify practical steps society can take to reduce mental health stigmas. Parents; this one is for you.

Misunderstanding ADHD

  • ADHD is an excuse for laziness or lack of discipline: One common misconception is that individuals with ADHD are lazy or undisciplined. The opposite is often true. Usually someone with ADHD is actually working very hard with little sustainable success. In reality, ADHD is a neurobiological condition showing up as difficulties with sustained attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. These symptoms affect the persons ability to function well a1t home, school, work and in relationships.
  • ADHD only affects children: While ADHD is often diagnosed in childhood, it can persist into adolescence and adulthood. Many individuals go undiagnosed or receive a diagnosis later in life when the challenges of ADHD impact their lives beyond their ability to cope. ADHD is not limited to childhood and can significantly impact various aspects of an individual’s life across the lifespan.
  • ADHD is over-diagnosed and overmedicated: While concerns about over-diagnosis and overmedication exist, it is essential to recognize that ADHD is a legitimate condition with real challenges. Qualified professionals can help make the right diagnosis and navigate the right individualized treatment options. With the right support in place, people with ADHD can have significantly improved functioning in life.

Stigmas Attached to ADHD

  • Misunderstanding and Judgments: Stigma surrounding ADHD often involves misconceptions, judgments, and stereotypes. Often people with ADHD may be labeled as lazy, unintelligent, or disruptive. This stigmatization can contribute to feelings of shame, being left out of social situations, and reduce opportunities for those with ADHD. Diminished Capabilities: Individuals with ADHD often face skepticism regarding their abilities. Their struggles with attention, organization, and impulsivity may lead others to doubt their competence, hindering their self-esteem and opportunities for growth.
  • Medication Stigma: Using medication, such as stimulants, in managing ADHD can attract stigma. Misconceptions and fears about medication may lead to judgment and misconstrued notions of dependence or misuse from self or others.

Why are There Stigmas for ADHD and Other Mental Health diagnosis?

  • Lack of Awareness and Education: Limited understanding and awareness about mental health conditions contribute to stigma. Misinformation and a lack of accurate knowledge perpetuate misconceptions and stereotypes, further marginalizing individuals with ADHD and other mental health challenges.
  • Pop-Culture and Norms: Stigma towards mental health issues often stems from pop-culture attitudes and norms. Cultural expectations, biases, and the pressure to conform to specific standards of productivity and behavior can contribute to the stigmatization of conditions like ADHD.
  • Fear and Insecurity: Fear, both by individuals with ADHD and those without the condition, can fuel stigma and keep those individuals from getting the support they need. Fear of being judged or misunderstood, as well as fear of disclosing one’s struggles, can prevent open conversations and understanding.
three persons sitting on the stairs talking with each other
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Parents: Supporting your Student’s ADHD Diagnosis

  • Educate Yourself: Start by learning about ADHD, its symptoms, and how it can affect your child. Understanding the condition will help you empathize with their struggles and challenges.
  • Open Communication: Create a safe space for your child to express their feelings and experiences. Encourage them to share their thoughts on how ADHD affects them and what support they might need.
  • Seek Professional Guidance: Consult with a healthcare professional or therapist who specializes in ADHD. They can provide valuable insights, assessment, and strategies for managing ADHD symptoms in your child.

When “Sarah”‘s son, “Alex”, began to exhibit signs of ADHD, she knew that understanding and support were key. She was overwhelmed at navigating a new medical diagnosis, relieved that there was a diagnosis for why Alex was not performing well in school, and a desire to pursue every path possible at understanding and advocating for her son. She started a pursuit of patience and education, researching ADHD extensively and attending counseling sessions with Alex. By investing time in learning about his condition, Sarah gained insight into his unique challenges and strengths. She discovered strategies to help him stay organized and focused in school and at home. Most importantly, her unwavering support made Alex feel understood and less alone in his struggles. Together, they navigated the complexities of ADHD, fostering a sense of empowerment and resilience in Alex that would serve him well in his academic journey.

Are you ready to take the first step on your Pursuit towards helping your student understand their ADHD diagnosis? We invite you to book your free 20-minute consultation with one of our skilled therapists, Kayla Ivory who is our resident expert on ADHD. Don’t wait; it’s time to invest in your family. Simply click “Book Now”  to start your Pursuit towards personal growth and positive change today.

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