Challenges of ADHD: Can Counselling Help?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects the brain, creating variations in brain development and activity that impact the person’s attention, ability to focus, impulsivity, and self-control.
While standard treatment for ADHD includes medication, counselling can be a safe place to manage your condition without or alongside medication. Qualified and compassionate counsellors at Interactive Counselling help clients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder understand and accept their condition, develop strategies to manage their symptoms, and improve their lives.
ADHD as a neurodivergent condition
The neurodiversity paradigm suggests that individuals with ADHD have brains that develop and function differently. While ADHD has been considered a disorder for decades, recent research has shown that the brain in people with ADHD develops differently, resulting in ADHD traits and behaviours.
Neurodiverse individuals often experience difficulties with executive function, making it challenging to prioritize work and plan effectively. Attention, memory, cognitive flexibility, and cognitive control are examples of executive function cognitive skills that allow us to use our cognitive capacities, organize our time, solve issues, maintain relationships, and manage our impulses and behaviour. These abilities also influence learning and academic achievement. Studies indicate that executive skills are closely connected to behavioural concerns and learning difficulties in people with ADHD.
According to the neurodiversity approach, differences in the brain among people are considered normal variations rather than deficits. Neurodiverse individuals show differences in the way they learn. Moreover, studies indicate that children and adults with ADHD tend to have reduced dopamine levels, making it harder for them to recognize rewards and maintain motivation.
How to recognize ADHD?
ADHD is commonly diagnosed in children and can persist into adolescence and adulthood. ADHD symptoms are most noticeable when a child starts school because the condition affects how well a child does academically. Children with ADHD often have trouble focusing on one thing, making it hard for them to follow directions, stay on track, and finish tasks. They can be disorganized, forget things, repeat their mistakes rather than learn from them, and be fidgety.
However, ADHD affects everything else in their lives. For example, a child with ADHD may have difficulty interacting with others because they struggle to pay attention during a conversation, need help staying focused, interrupt others and blurt out answers, or delay gratification and control their temper.
Both genetics and numerous environmental factors, such as exposure to toxins, smoking during pregnancy, or adverse childhood experiences, can lead to the development of ADHD. Therefore, identifying possible risk factors may help improve knowledge of ADHD and get the proper treatment.
However, the first step in overcoming the problems associated with ADHD is to recognize the symptoms you are experiencing.
Common ADHD Symptoms
The most common symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can be divided into two large groups:
- Inattentive symptoms
- Hyperactive symptoms
Common inattentive symptoms in people with ADHD may include the following:
- Being easily distracted
- Having difficulty listening
- Problems holding attention and following instructions
- Difficulties with organization
- Always making the same mistakes
- Difficulties following instructions
- Losing things
Hyperactive ADHD symptoms may manifest in the following behaviours:
- Difficulty staying in one position and always being on the go
- Feeling restless
- Talking a lot, blurting out answers, and interrupting others
- Problems controlling impulses and delaying gratification
You may also experience some subtle ADHD symptoms, such as emotional dysregulation, which can lead you to feel your emotions far more deeply than most people. You may also have difficulty keeping your emotions in check, whether fury, humiliation, sadness, or joy. You may be too sensitive to sensory stimulation, such as odours, tactile stimulation, noises, light, or taste. Additionally, you may have trouble sleeping because your overactive brain keeps you up all night.
Adults with ADHD may also struggle with planning, multitasking, and managing time. For example, you may lack time awareness – because you struggle with executive function, you may have difficulty perceiving time. For example, you might show up to a party a few hours early, miss your flight, be late to pick up your kids from school or be unable to tell how much time is left on an exam. In addition, many adults with ADHD find it hard to manage their finances, deal with stress, meet day-to-day needs, and reach their goals. Because of this, they may experience burnout, anxiety, depression, drug abuse, or other problems with their mental health.
How to Manage ADHD: Counselling for ADHD
If you or your child have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD treatment can help you manage continuing challenges with disorganization, modify unhelpful thought and behaviour patterns, and overcome other ADHD-related difficulties. For example, because ADHD behaviours are frequently disruptive, behaviour treatment can help minimize them while reinforcing positive ones.
Counselling for ADHD at Interactive Counseling can help you:
- Come to terms with your condition.
- Identify the symptoms.
- Cope with the associated mental health issues and emotions that result from ADHD.
- Understand how ADHD symptoms affect your life.
- Develop skills to manage your ADHD daily.
The most effective approaches to counselling for ADHD involve cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), ADHD coaching and behaviour modification, and parent training.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT)
Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that aims to help people with ADHD change their unhelpful thought and behaviour patterns, overcome ongoing struggles with disorganization, and manage mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
ADHD coaching and behaviour modification
Behavioural modification educates people with ADHD on improving executive functions, including time management, planning ability, and organizational skills.
ADHD Parent training teaches parents of children with ADHD ways to alleviate the symptoms their child experiences, develop behaviour reinforcement strategies tailored to the child, and foster better communication within the family.
In addition, music therapy, art therapy, play therapy, and neurofeedback (brain training), have shown to be effective in helping clients improve executive skills, address emotional problems, and manage and improve their ADHD symptoms.
ADHD can make it difficult for a person to study, work, follow the rules, stay organized, regulate impulses, and establish and maintain positive relationships. Therefore, it is essential to identify ADHD symptoms early and get the appropriate treatment.
The neurodiversity approach sees ADHD as a neurodevelopmental condition. Children and adults with ADHD can learn but need support, encouragement, and proper treatment to effectively manage their symptoms and overcome the challenges linked to ADHD. Counselling for ADHD at Interactive Counselling can help you or your loved one learn the skills to help you manage your symptoms, create strategies to overcome unhelpful behaviour patterns, and reach your full potential.