Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is currently defined as a neurodevelopmental disorder where there is a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.
In adults, hyperactivity may decrease, but struggles with impulsiveness, restlessness and focussing may continue. ADHD is known to significantly affect an individual’s daily functioning, social interactions and overall quality of life.
Adult ADHD symptoms may include:
- Disorganisation and problems prioritising
- Poor time management skills
- Problems focusing on a task
- Trouble multitasking
- Excessive activity or restlessness
- Poor planning
- Low frustration tolerance
- Frequent mood swings
- Problems following through and completing tasks
- Anger easily
- Trouble coping with stress
Despite its prevalence, ADHD is widely misunderstood, and individuals often face stigma and discrimination. ADHD often presents with a range of comorbid disorders, such as substance abuse, anxiety, depression and delayed sleep phase disorder.
Traditionally ADHD has been viewed as a deficit or disorder. However a growing body of research suggests that ADHD is better understood as a difference in cognitive functioning rather than a pathology so there has been a shift towards a neurodiversity affirming approach.
It takes an average of 17 years for an ADHD client to be diagnosed, with diagnosis often missed in adult women. In addition, clients are more likely to be treated for other comorbid presentations such as anxiety and depression thus leading to an overall underdiagnosis of the condition.
ADHD clients can often be labelled as lazy, unmotivated and forgetful due to an inability to focus and prioritise. Diagnosis can be empowering, leading to confirmation of identity, validation and relief that these negative labels are in fact partly due to their ADHD. Diagnosis may also prompt the seeking of treatment.
A common phrase from my ADHD clients is “if I was diagnosed earlier I could have achieved so much more in my life.”
The ADHD brain functions differently
There is a part of the brain that is associated with mind-wandering, task-relevant mental processes and ruminations, which shows high activity during periods of rest or when engaged in internal tasks such as daydreaming. This part of the brain becomes deactivated when moving to external or goal orientated tasks. MRI scans show that clients with ADHD have disconnection or inverse activity of this brain network leading to attention lapses and mind-wandering which intrudes on normal functioning.
ADHD clients have also been shown to have an altered gene (DRD2) which makes it difficult for nerve cells to respond to dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, a chemical messenger, that carries signals between your nerves and other cells in your body which is involved in attention, pleasure and motivation.
How can a naturopathy help?
If you can relate to the above symptoms and they are severe enough to cause ongoing problems in more than one area of your life, I urge you to get in touch. I can help support you by managing symptoms as well as any comorbidities.
There are many magnificent herbs, homeopathics and nutrients that have both a calming effect on the nervous system to help with focus and assist in the synthesis of neurotransmitters including dopamine and serotonin. In addition there are natural therapeutics that can target underlying drivers such as inflammation, nutritional imbalances, gut-brain dysfunction and hormonal imbalances.
Contact me now to regain your focus, reduce your stress and achieve your full potential!