Q: I have friends who are left-brain professionals who have recently discovered they have Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and are upset about it. I have ADHD, like some creative people (artists and poets), but I had discovered it very early in life due to problems at school, so I tried to explain it to them.
Creative types seem less accepting of established businesses and more accepting of looser environments than math and science types, which are natural for structured thinking. Most math and science disciplines expect employees to master the details, but such tasks are difficult, if not impossible, for a creative mind that runs through concepts at high speed. I come up with creative solutions, but don’t ask me how I got there because my explanation would be tedious to tell.
A: Since you want to help your friends understand ADHD, it’s best to rely on the professionals rather than your personal experience, as everyone can be different. According to Healthline, an online resource for physical and mental health issues, ADHD is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder. It is not, as some people mistakenly think, a learning disability, but it can occur in people who also have learning disabilities. Healthline reveals that “studies have shown that children from marginalized ethnic groups are less likely to receive the correct diagnosis and treatment they need for their ADHD.”
People with ADHD can also suffer from anxiety disorders, depression, and conduct and behavior disorders. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults in the United States aged 18 and older. Although anxiety disorders are treatable, only 36.9% of people who suffer from them receive treatment.
Other studies report that depression is the most common mental illness in the United States. Each of these disorders can overshadow the symptoms of ADHD, which is why many adults do not emphasize the diagnosis of ADHD.
Behavioral and conduct disorder can manifest as personality characteristics such as arguing, breaking rules, aggressive behavior, bullying, and fighting. Many people are diagnosed in childhood, but misdiagnoses can occur based on the most noticeable symptoms.
Adults with ADHD can often experience difficulty at school or at work; difficulty passing classes or completing work; self-esteem issues and general mental health issues; relationship problems with partners, family or co-workers; substance abuse; and frequent accidents or injuries.
ADHD has common symptoms among those affected, but different cultural backgrounds, genders, knowledge, and co-existing conditions among those affected can accentuate ADHD, anxiety, or behavioral problems. If a person feels different from others in terms of performance capacity, lifetime achievement, and/or behavioral and emotional responses, they should consider taking the plunge and getting tested.
Not knowing if the disorder exists in you will only delay getting the help you may need. Some may benefit from medication, some from therapy, some from both, but you can’t do anything without testing. Understand that psychologists and therapists are not the same. Some personalities connect better with some than others, so trust yourself when looking for a therapist. The doctorate may have more education than the master’s degree, but the confidence and comfort can be counted on with the study diplomas.
Life and career coach by email [email protected] with all your workplace questions and experiences. For more information visit www.lindseyparkernovak.com and for previous columns see www.creators.com/read/At-Work-Lindsey-Novak.
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