Happy ADHD Awareness Month!
Tuesday, October 17 2017 Noelle Matteson
October is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity (ADHD) Awareness Month. Many are familiar with the term “ADHD,” formerly known as “ADD." The disorder is characterized by impulsiveness, hyperactivity, and difficulty regulating focus. However, many people are not familiar with why ADHD should be recognized and not dismissed as a made-up or exaggerated condition. This is why we have a month dedicated to bringing awareness to ADHD.
ADHD Awareness Is Better than Not Knowing
The organization Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) decided that this year’s theme should be “Knowing is Better: ADHD Across the Life Span.” Some people who are diagnosed with ADHD reject the label and find strategies to use their qualities to their advantage, but most people I know find the ADHD diagnosis to be a relief. Knowing about ADHD can help one find medical and therapeutic treatment, tips and coping skills, and a supportive community.
So far, I have greatly benefitted from seeking help for ADHD. My first reactions to the diagnosis may have been negative, but taking medication and researching the condition have made it easier for me to organize my life and regulate my behavior. If I had never known about ADHD, I would not have realized that there are easier ways to get through the day.
Origins of ADHD Awareness Month
In 2004, the United States Senate passed a resolution declaring Sep. 7, 2004, to be the first ADHD Awareness Day. That has since expanded into an Awareness Week and, eventually, a whole month. In order to pass the resolution, the Senate had to agree that there was sufficient research proving both that there was a lack of ADHD awareness and that this ignorance was a public problem. They concluded that it was worth passing.
ADHD Ignorance Is a Public Problem
In his many lectures about ADHD, clinical psychologist Dr. Russell Barkley makes it clear that ADHD can severely impact people’s lives. It is more than a minor inconvenience. He describes relationship problems, financial crises, and accidents caused by distractedness. It can thwart ambitions and lead to depression and anxiety.
Many still believe that ADHD is a fraud and an excuse for “lazy” people. Still, as researchers discover more about the condition, the general public is gradually coming to understand why the diagnosis should be taken seriously. Scientists have done so much research on ADHD, but I am sure that theories about the disorder will develop as psychologists learn more. It does not follow that a phenomenon does not exist simply because it is not yet fully understood. For now, it is important to acknowledge that ADHD does exist in many forms, even if our understanding of it is still expanding.
In conclusion: have a wonderful ADHD Awareness Month, everyone.
Barkley, Russell. “Result of Untreated ADHD,” taken from “Essential Things Parents Need to Know about ADHD.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26V6LCbKXJU.
Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD). “ADHD Awareness Month.” CHADD—The National Resource on ADHD. http://www.chadd.org/training-events/adhd-awareness-month.aspx.
Novotni, Michele, int. by Jeff Cooper. “The ADHD Awareness Week Story: How It Happened.” Attention Talk Radio. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/attentiontalkradio/2011/10/20/the-adhd-awareness-week-story-how-it-happened.