Last Friday Neil and I gave a presentation about ADHD in our town of Warrenton, Virginia. There were between twenty-five and thirty civic leaders present, and we used the occasion to share some basic information about ADHD. Our hope was that the attendees that morning would leave with a little more knowledge about ADHD, a little more understanding of people who have ADHD, and a little less willingness to buy into the stigma that surrounds ADHD.
After our presentation, we had time for a few questions. People spoke up not only to ask questions, but also to share the ways ADHD was present in their lives. With 10-11 percent of children and 4-5 percent of adults having ADHD, it’s likely that everyone in the room knew someone with ADHD. The sad fact is, however, that around 85 percent of adults with ADHD have it but don’t know it.
Adults with ADHD are much more likely than others to have difficult lives, unless they have received treatment. They have higher rates of divorce, imprisonment, job loss, traffic accidents, just to mention a few areas of challenge where ADHDers need support and wise care.
Some folks have been diagnosed with other conditions such as depression or anxiety and aren’t aware that their underlying condition is actually ADHD. An ADHD diagnosis is critical information. It is essential that the physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, and neurologists gain a clearer understanding of what ADHD actually looks like and the implications it has for the individual, his/her family, and society.
So far I haven’t been able to find an online source to document this fact, but I have heard from multiple reliable people that there is little or no training about ADHD in medical schools or graduate schools of psychology. It’s quite reasonable to expect that a doctor who has been trained to recognize anxiety and depression, but not ADHD, will diagnose what she knows. ADHDers are thus not always well served by the people they turn to for treatment.
October of every year is ADHD Awareness Month. If we want to make life more rewarding and positive for children and adults with ADHD, every month should be ADHD Awareness Month. Neil and I have more presentations in our community in the coming months, so check the side bar on our web site for a link to the dates and times. Spread the word!