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  • Writer's pictureTower Hill Clinic

Unravelling the ADHD Puzzle: Understanding, Assessing, and Demystifying

Updated: Feb 23

Ever tried following a recipe only to realise you're in the middle of cooking with no idea where you put the eggs? Or how about those moments when you're in the middle of a conversation and suddenly realise you're agreeing without really processing a word? If the answer is yes, then you've experienced how an ADHD brain moves. Of course, this example doesn't define ADHD as a whole, and there's much more involved in this diagnosis. Yes, a classic ADHD move.

In a world that sometimes seems to be moving at an impressive speed, maintaining focus can be a real challenge. For some, this difficulty goes beyond mere distraction; it's a daily struggle that impacts all aspects of life. This is where ADHD comes into play, a condition that affects millions of people worldwide but is often misunderstood and neglected.

Do you know what ADHD is?

ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterised by difficulties with attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. It's not just about being easily distracted; it's a complex interaction between brain chemistry and wiring that can significantly impact a person's ability to function in various environments.

There are different subtypes and presentations within an ADHD diagnosis.

ADHD is not a one-size-fits-all condition. It can manifest in different ways, leading to three main subtypes:

  • Predominantly Inattentive Presentation: Individuals with this subtype have difficulty mainly with attention and organisation. They may seem distracted, forgetful, and disorganised, often losing track of time or belongings.

  • Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation: Here, hyperactivity and impulsivity take centre stage. Think of the person who is constantly moving, blurting out answers without thinking, and can't wait their turn in conversation or activities.

  • Combined Presentation: As the name suggests, this subtype involves a combination of symptoms of both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity. It's like trying to juggle multiple balls while riding a unicycle - a true balancing act!

The Assessment Process:

So, how does one go through an assessment for ADHD? It's not as simple as taking an online quiz or watching a few TikTok videos. The process usually involves:

  • Initial Consultation: Meeting with a qualified healthcare professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, to discuss symptoms, history, and any relevant factors.

  • Comprehensive Assessment: This may include interviews, behavioural assessments, and gathering information from family members or other sources to get a complete picture.

  • Diagnosis and Treatment Plan: If ADHD is confirmed, the next steps involve developing a personalised treatment plan, which may include therapy, medication, or other interventions.

The Pitfalls of Self-Diagnosis:

In the age of social media and instant information, it's tempting to self-diagnose based on some internet research or trending hashtags. However, self-diagnosis can be misleading and even harmful. ADHD shares symptoms with various other conditions, such as anxiety, depression, or even sleep disorders. Only a qualified professional can provide an accurate diagnosis and recommend appropriate support and interventions.

The Importance of Official Diagnosis:

Why is an official diagnosis so crucial? Well, for one, it opens doors to accessing proper support, accommodations, and treatment options. Whether it's academic accommodations, workplace adjustments, or ADHD-tailored therapy, having an official diagnosis paves the way for meaningful assistance. Additionally, it helps individuals better understand their strengths and challenges, empowering them to navigate life more effectively.

Navigating the Maze:

In conclusion, ADHD is much more than just a joke or a passing trend on social media. It's a legitimate condition that can have profound impacts on people's lives. By understanding the nuances of ADHD, seeking proper assessment and diagnosis, and demystifying myths surrounding self-diagnosis, we can better support those affected and promote greater awareness and acceptance in society. Remember, when it comes to ADHD, knowledge is power - and a little humour never hurts!

Have you identified with any of the above characteristics, ever thought that you might have symptoms or signs of ADHD? Our psychologist can help you better understand the subject and conduct a comprehensive evaluation if necessary.

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