Clinically speaking, Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that presents in childhood, and persists into adulthood.
Let’s put it another way: ADHD is a condition that is caused by an inherited genetic brain difference. We usually notice it first in childhood, but because it impacts the brain’s overall development and functioning, ADHD will continue to affect the individual throughout their life with varying degrees of intensity.
Folks with ADHD have different brains.
One can Google “ADHD brain images” and find a whole library of pictures and articles detailing both the obvious and subtle differences in an ADHD brain from a neurotypical brain; hence why ADHD is referred to as a neurodivergent diagnosis. As a result of this documented brain difference, most notably in the prefrontal cortex, the seat of executive functioning in the brain, ADHD-ers will often experience struggles in areas related to time awareness, organization, task initiation, follow through, and completion, emotion regulation, working memory, overstimulation and burnout. Conversely, these same folks will often be highly creative, intuitive, emotionally attuned, engaging and charismatic.
Living with ADHD takes a toll. In addition to the structural brain difference, the current scholarship suggests that ADHD is a dopamine disorder. People with ADHD have a dopamine deficiency, and unfortunately there is not a single magic pill to fix this. As such, folks with ADHD will often engage in dopamine seeking endeavors through food, impulse spending, music, sex, dancing, scrolling, you name it. If it can give a little dopamine pick-me-up, ADHDers are game. The downside is that some of these behaviors can result in impulse control disorders such as compulsive gambling, substance abuse issues, and behavioral addictions creating more problems beyond understanding and treating ADHD. Further, there are several co-occurring diagnoses that can present along with ADHD such as: anxiety disorders, depression,and ASD, in addition to physical issues like hypermobility and migraines.
Despite being the “normal” for many folks, there is still so much misinformation and misunderstanding about the diagnosis, not to mention the shame and layers of ableism, both internalized and out in the world, many people with ADHD carry with them from childhood on into their adult lives.
At Humantold, we have several ways to meet and address the needs of individuals with ADHD. From the evaluations and accommodations documentation available by our team of testing psychologists, to our trained therapy staff, many of whom have additional training in ADHD, to the psychiatric nurse practitioners we work alongside. We are here to help take the mystery out of ADHD, and equip you to best care for yourself and your amazing neurodivergent brain, for wherever you are on the long-haul.