What Is ADHD



ADHD is a neurobiological disorder located in the prefrontal cortex, and it is also a type of brain wiring different than the general population. It can be considered a disorder and a gift, and it affects all areas of functioning to a degree. But the main area of life it will affect is your executive function, or the area of the brain that organizes, plans and executes goals.

What is generally focused on with ADHD is a short attention span, or the inability to focus for long periods of time. People with ADD have minds that tend to wander, drift and get distracted by other things. What is very interesting about ADD is that sufferers can pay attention very well to things that are new, very stimulating, interesting or upsetting. These events provide enough stimulation in and of themselves that they activate the part of the brain that enables concentration. This is because people with ADD do not have enough adrenaline and need this in order to focus.

People with ADD have trouble paying attention to daily, routine activities that do not provide high stimulation such as chores, homework, and paperwork. Unfortunately, these activities are everywhere and are needed in order to function in society.

Another prevalent aspect of ADHD is distractibility. This is often confused with having a short attention span, but it is actually a hypersensitivity to the environment around you. People with regular brain wiring do not have trouble blocking out extraneous sounds such as traffic sounds, the birds outside, people around us, etc. But people with ADD often have trouble blocking these things out due to their hypersensitivity. This is most likely due to the under-activity in their prefrontal cortex.

Organization is a very common problem for people with ADD, specifically issues with projects involving, time, space and long-term projects. Disorganization involving space is what causes the extreme messiness of ADDers, and why they may have trouble keeping things neat even after they have cleaned. It is something that others surrounding people with ADD really have trouble with, and many times cannot understand or accept. The problems ADDers have with keeping things clean extends to their whole life, especially in the area of long-term planning. Many people with ADD live from crisis to crisis, or from worry to worry. These stimulating events provide the focus that mundane planning does not.

Poor follow through is an extension of the inability to organize, and is also a real burden on an ADDer's life. Many people with ADD have an overabundance of ideas that seem very interesting and stimulating in the beginning. But it is when the details and preparation come into play that sufferers of ADD have problems. Any interest or passion that requires long-term attention and maintenance will cause the ADDer to lose interest, even if it is something they enjoy. This is where counseling and medication may be of help.


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