October is ADHD Awareness Month. Our understanding of ADHD has steadily progressed since it was first formally recognized as a medical condition. For those with ADHD, life can be a constant struggle. Yet, some of the world’s most accomplished people have have overcome their diagnosis and leveraged their ADHD “super powers” to achieve extraordinary success in their field. Here are some of their inspiring stories.
New research on how we pay attention to things in our environment could shed new light on ADHD. Brains normally shift the focus of attention about 4 times per second. This prevents us from focusing too much on something at the cost of putting ourselves in danger. The ADHD brain, on the other hand, can become more easily locked in a state of either hyperfocus or high distractability.
Can a person with ADHD train their brain to improve? The answer to that question may lie with something known as neuroplasiticity. Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to create or alter its neural networks – essentially rewire itself – in response to stimuli from the environment. Understanding how our brains can “rewire” to help us improve offers another tool for individuals with ADHD to help overcome its negative effects and leverage its super powers.
When it comes to the association of having ADHD and being at higher risk for concussion, researchers have begun to confirm what clinicians have long suspected. Due to various factors such as impulsivity, inattention, impairment in motor function, or differences in coordination, individuals with ADHD could be more likely to sustain a head injury. Their symptoms might also be more severe and persist for longer periods of time. Taking measures to reduce the symptoms of ADHD is one way to lower the risk of concussion for individuals with the condition.
One of the keys to managing your ADHD symptoms is to identify your individual trigger points. Once you recognize what triggers your ADHD symptoms, you can make changes to your lifestyle that will help control episodes. For many adults with ADHD, stress is a particularly difficult trigger to deal with. In part this is due to the fact that ADHD itself may cause an ongoing state of stress. Here are some strategies to help you tame stress at home or work.
If you are one of the roughly 10 million U.S. adults with ADHD, it can be a constant challenge to stay focused and on task. You might easily lose track of conversations or forget what you were working on. Or fail to pay attention to important details and make mistakes. But this isn’t an oversight on your part. An inability to focus is a prominent symptom of ADHD. Here are some strategies to help you maintain your attention and focus.
Many highly successful entrepreneurs such as Sir Richard Branson, Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad, and JetBlue founder David Neeleman, have been diagnosed with ADHD or other conditions that result in executive function challenges. Some will even tell you that they are successful largely because of the “diagnosis,” not in spite of it. The results of some new research appears to agree with them.
As researchers discover more about ADHD, we are beginning to see that the disorder presents differently in boys and girls, and later, in adult men and women. Understanding these gender differences could help the medical community make earlier diagnoses of ADHD for girls and perhaps help forestall issues related to untreated ADHD later in life.
Individuals with ADHD often report being very sensitive to all sorts of stimuli in the environment, especially noise. They can experience large swings of over-stimulation followed by periods of emotional and physical depletion. Research is now beginning to uncover the source of this phenomenon and suggest how it can be controlled and harnessed for positive effect.