Shining the Light on ADHD and Mental Health

Shining the Light on ADHD and Mental Health

-By DLC Children’s Outreach Specialist Jessica Liria, M.S.

Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common childhood concern that may extend into adulthood. It is characterized as a disruptive behavior disorder and is displayed through a variety of symptoms, including difficulty paying attention and controlling impulses. Individuals with ADHD often have challenges at school, at home, and in relationships. While the cause(s) of ADHD are unknown, there are identified risk factors, such as brain injury and exposure to contaminants in utero. Many myths about ADHD exist, which has led to societal stigma and a lack of empathy for those experiencing it. By being properly educated about this disorder, we can be a more compassionate community.

When we repeatedly encounter obstacles in daily life, our overall wellness may begin to suffer. It is important to raise awareness around the behavioral health concerns that can co-occur with ADHD. The signs and symptoms of ADHD can sometimes mask the symptoms of depression, anxiety, substance use, and more. On average, 70% of individuals with ADHD experience at least one other behavioral health diagnosis; 25% of all children with ADHD have a co-occurring mood or anxiety disorder.

When symptoms occur of more than one diagnosis, it can make ADHD symptoms much harder to treat and manage. It can be more difficult to pinpoint which signs and symptoms belong to which diagnosis. This can lead to increased frustration and behavior challenges, as it may take longer to find a steady and stable treatment regimen. ADHD combined with another disruptive disorder, like Oppositional Defiance Disorder, can add even more strain on the individual and those around them.

As with any mental health concern, early intervention is the key to highly successful outcomes. Linking with a professional for an assessment at the first sign of behavior challenges is recommended. Talk with your child’s pediatrician about your concerns, or link with an agency that provides these services. David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health (DLC) has a clinical team ready to assist and provides a variety of programs and services designed to meet individual treatment needs.

It is imperative for family members, friends, and other caregivers to check in on your own mental wellbeing and be sure to practice a healthy self-care routine. Take the time to properly cope as difficulties arise and seek support when needed to avoid compassion fatigue and burnout. Set necessary and appropriate boundaries and limits, and seek immediate assistance if safety is of concern.

As a community, we can be more sensitive and understanding to the fact that children, adolescents, and adults with ADHD are likely experiencing additional concerns. This can range from complications with anxiety and depression, to struggles related to self-esteem and confidence. By talking with others about behavioral health and engaging in honest conversations around these topics, we can help break the stigma and prioritize mental wellness.

To learn more about ADHD visit: What is ADHD? | CDC and Understanding ADHD – CHADD

Oct 15, 2021 | Blog, Mental Health

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