What do you really know about ADHD?
ADHD, or attention deficit disorder, is a commonly known mental health disorder and can be easily described by teasing apart its acronym. Most of us have been made aware of the condition through social media, advertisements or friends but what does it really mean to have it and how is it diagnosed? To begin to answer that question, we must become familiar with the ADHD spectrum.
Have you ever been working on a project and had a great deal of difficulty focusing? Distractions turn your attention away; noises make you lose your train of thought and there’s always something else to do. These are all symptoms of ADHD, but they do not necessarily mean that you have the disorder, you may simply be on the spectrum.
What is the ADHD Spectrum?
The ADHD spectrum is a tool used to measure your level of symptoms and their severity. It was traditionally assumed that children unable to sit still in their classes were the only ones to receive the diagnosis of ADHD. However, new research has revealed that the disorder isn’t limited to a particular age group and is not a one-size-fits-all symptom-based diagnosis. In fact, many times, two individuals can have the disorder but display different behaviors. This is where the spectrum comes into play.
Mental health professionals use the spectrum to look at their patients from a holistic perspective, taking into account the varied symptoms and the motivations behind behavior. From their history and current symptoms, psychologists use the information to place patients on a spectrum from mild to severe. Depending on where they land on the spectrum, various treatments may be suggested.
Treatment of the disorder can range from ADHD medication, to healthy living and behavioral strategies. Some examples of behavioral strategies and healthy living support that are used to treat patients with ADHD are meditation and mindfulness, dietary changes and deep breathing techniques. Those whose symptoms are on the more significant end of the spectrum might receive multiple types of supportive treatments. Whereas, individuals with milder symptoms may only receive behavioral and healthy living strategies.
With new evidence emerging that ADHD is not a one-size-fits-all diagnosis and treatment plan, it’s important to recognize the significance of understanding the spectrum. From mild to severe, the ADHD spectrum provides insight into the disorder and gives mental health professionals the ability to find treatment plans that are tailored to their patient and their individual symptoms.