Do you have ADHD?

FORTyFIED - Cecile Lopez Lilles (The Philippine Star) - November 13, 2013 - 12:00am

Whirlwind” immediately came to mind as I observed this man at a gathering sometime ago.  It was the start of the evening and drinks were just being served, so I knew that his frenzy wasn’t alcohol-fueled — well, not yet. He was a lawyer and must have been in his mid-30s as I deduced from what the wife said of his practice and their two children in grade school. He flitted from table to table, greeting people and yet not staying longer than two heartbeats to hold conversation. He moved around as though something horrible would catch up with him if he didn’t hurry up, grazing furniture and a couple of people in his way, and spilling some of his drink in the process.

By the time he came back to his wife, who was unfazed by all this, he had broken into a sweat. His once slicked-back hair had now let loose a few tendrils that dipped into his forehead, and his once perfectly puffed tie knot was now flat and agape. He was breathless as he slid into the seat next to her. â€œThat was fun!” he announced, raising his glass and saying, “Cheers!” but realizing as he sipped that the glass was empty, prompting him to monkey dance about to catch a waiter’s attention.

The silence that fell on the table soon after must have prompted the wife to drop an excuse. â€œHe’s a one-man party — always happy.” 

A gentleman at the table said, “Can you give me some of what he’s having?”

“That’s all-natural,” the wife answered. She was right.  The man was very lucid, except that he was distracted — by everything.

“It’s all positive energy,” she added. â€œIt fuels him. He has too much work and it’s that stamina that lets him keep up. To think he plays squash, ultimate Frisbee, and volleyball on top of all that. Plus there’s wall-climbing and wake boarding. He never tires.” 

“Are you sure he works?” The same gentleman chided, getting everyone to laugh. 

Fresh drink finally in hand, the lawyer sat back down and started chatting up another man beside him — an adman, it turned out. He told the lawyer, “We need people with your kind of energy.”

The lawyer replied, “You can’t afford me.” The two exchanged a couple of lines until the lawyer turned away and addressed another man across the table asking, “Aren’t you connected with BMW?” Without waiting for a reply, he pulled his wife for a turn or two on the dance floor.

The adman’s wife said what everyone at the table must have been thinking: “What was that?” 

“ADHD, for sure,” someone volunteered.

Not only children have Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). According to webmd.com, it is one of the most well recognized childhood developmental problems characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness and it affects males at a higher rate than females. It is now known that these symptoms continue into adulthood for about 60 percent of children with ADHD. However, few adults who were never diagnosed as children are identified or treated for adult ADHD.

“Adults with ADHD may have difficulty following directions, remembering information, concentrating, organizing tasks, or completing work within time limits. If these difficulties are not managed appropriately, they can cause associated behavioral, emotional, social, vocational, and academic problems,” says the website.

Webmd.com lists common behaviors and problems that may stem directly from ADHD or may be the result of related adjustment difficulties: anxiety, chronic boredom, chronic lateness and forgetfulness, depression, difficulty concentrating when reading, difficulty controlling anger, employment problems, impulsiveness, low frustration tolerance, low self-esteem, mood swings, poor organization skills, procrastination, relationship problems, substance abuse or addiction.

These behaviors may be mild to severe and can vary with the situation or be present all of the time. Some adults with ADHD may be able to concentrate if they are interested in or excited about what they are doing. Others may have difficulty focusing under any circumstances. Some adults look for stimulation, but others avoid it. In addition, adults with ADHD can be withdrawn and antisocial, or they can be overly social, going from one relationship to the next.

According to mayoclinic.com, ADHD is not an adult-onset disorder and symptoms begin in childhood. ADHD has a strong genetic component. If a family member has been diagnosed with it, odds are high that one experiencing the symptoms listed suffers from it as well.

“In the past, the first treatment typically offered to adults with ADHD has been stimulant drugs,” says webmd.com. “Studies show that approximately two thirds of adults with ADHD who are given these medications show significant improvement in ADHD symptoms.”

Adult ADHD can be treated with one or more of the following: individual cognitive and behavioral therapy to enhance self-esteem, relaxation training and stress management to reduce anxiety and stress, life coaching to help set goals and develop strategies for organizing home and work activities, job coaching or mentoring to support better working relationships and improve on-the-job performance

A generation ago a hyperactive child was immediately dismissed as either malikot, matigas ang ulo or pilyo, if not mahina or bobo. Often, a parental reprimand was the answer to unbridled energy.  Chances are, that child grows up with a wounded sense of self along with overwhelming confusion about why he is the way he is, limiting his chances of a promising future, when he should have been taken to a doctor for proper diagnosis and prompt treatment. 

Now listen up, men. If you think you might have a touch of ADHD, you’re in pretty good company: Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Thomas Alva Edison, Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Bill Cosby, Donald Trump, Jack Nicholson, Robin Williams, Will Smith, Tom Cruise, Michael Jordan, Michael Phelps and Jamie Oliver, to name several, have the condition.  The key, for them, was to learn to harness all that excess energy into something productive.

* * *

 Thank you for your letters.  You may reach me at cecilelilles@yahoo.com.





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