The truth behind attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

The truth behind attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Laura DeMassa

What do Will Smith, Elvis Presley, and Bill Gates have in common? Not only do they all have inspiring accomplishments, but they also have attention deficit disorder! By achieving their dreams, Will Smith, Elvis Presley, and Bill Gates didn’t let their ADHD stand in the way of their success. Affecting 6-7% of all children worldwide, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is a neurodevelopmental disorder where attention span, hyperactivity and impulsivity is altered.

Based on its symptoms, ADHD can be separated into three subtypes- predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, or combined, if symptoms are from both of the other subtypes. Missing details, forgetting things, and often switching from one activity to another are all symptoms that can be categorized into the predominantly inattentive subtype. On the other hand, behaviors like being constantly in motion or blurting out comments can be placed into the predominantly hyperactive-impulsive subtype. Other symptoms include having difficulty doing quiet tasks and impulsive, restless behavior.

With 30% to 50% of adults diagnosed in childhood, ADHD symptoms have continued into their adulthood. ADHD is becoming a more common disorder among society, and ADHD management has evolved to utilize a combination of counseling, lifestyle changes and medications. With over 30 different medications, ADHD can be treated with short or long duration oral medications such as Adderall, a 4-6 hour medication, or Wellbutrin XL, a 24-hour medication. Adderall, a stimulant used to increase concentration by stimulating parts of the brain, has the opposite effect on people with ADHD, thus allowing for a more normally active functioning.

In 2009, the percent of all the United States Major League Baseball players diagnosed with ADHD had risen to 8%. With the League’s ban on stimulants from 2006, suspicion was raised that some players mimicked the symptoms of ADHD just to sidestep the ban and use ADHD drugs (stimulants) to enhance their strength and performance on the baseball field.

“You’re sitting down, trying to do your work and there seems to be a million other things to do, your mind jumps from one topic to another and refuses to let you focus on just one,” Mountain View High School freshman Emma Lundberg, who has ADHD, said, “And suddenly you’re getting anxious about the most nonsignificant thing that isn’t even something to worry about, and the next minute you’ve forgotten literally everything you were just thinking about.”

Often, high schoolers with untreated ADHD can be easily distracted and have a lack of focus that affects their school performance. Luckily, ADHD medications like Adderall have been effective in reversing the hyperactivity and lack of focus in one’s behavior.

By understanding the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, one can gain a new perspective among his/her own classmates and friends. Many MVHS students are affected by this disorder, and with a basic knowledge of ADHD, other students can provide support and a more welcoming community can blossom.