Updated: Oct 11, 2022
Do you know the difference between a symptom and an impairment? A symptom is the way a disorder expresses itself, and an impairment is the adverse consequence that can result from showing certain symptoms.
I'm currently reading TAKING CHARGE of ADULT ADHD by Russell A. Barkley, PhD. In the book, he has a list of typical adolescent and adult impairments with ADHD. Honestly, it's a little disturbing.
Here they are:
Poor functioning at work
Frequent job changes
Risky sexual behavior/increased teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases
Unsafe driving (speeding, frequent accidents)
Difficulties managing finances (impulsive spending, excessive use of credit cards, poor debt repayment, little or no savings, etc.)
Antisocial activities (lying, stealing, fighting) that lead to frequent police contact, arrests, and even time in jail; often associated with a great risk for illegal drug use and abuse
Generally less healthy lifestyle (less exercise, more sedentary, self-entertainment, such as video games, TV, surfing the Internet; obesity, binge-eating or bulimia, poorer nutrition, greater use of nicotine and alcohol), and consequently an increased risk for coronary heart disease
I have to say when I read this list, my first thought was, "That's not fair!". We are born with brains a certain way so that we have symptoms that can lead to this? Not at all fair!
Then I had to coach myself and I realized thinking this wasn't at all helpful. With proper treatment & coaching, this does not need to be the consequences of our symptoms.
It's very disempowering to think, "It's not fair!" From that place of disempowerment, we are less likely to do what needs to be done to manage our ADHD properly.
I think this list hit me hard because I waited until 42 to seek treatment, and many things on this list were my life. The past is the past, but I tell you this because it's very important to get the help you need.
Don't ignore your ADHD. It's very important to take it seriously. Talk to your doctor and get the help you need. Then, as they say, "Pill don't teach skills." So continue on and get therapy and coaching.
It's never too late. I recall hearing about a 72-year-old grandmother being treated for ADHD. Her quality of life greatly improved. It's very easy to ignore the disorders that don't show on the outside or can be written off as something else.
But please don't. Not another day. You are a valuable human being, and you deserve help with this. Take to your doctor. I know some people worry about being told they don't have ADHD. There is shame and embarrassment there.
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