Mental Health Monday–ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

The teacher calls your name. You blink, vaguely aware twenty pairs of eyes are on you. Your fuzzy mind snaps back into focus. Sure enough, you’ve been called on. But you have absolutely NO idea what the topic is.

Your teacher’s eyebrow arches so much you think it’ll break in half.

*sigh* You’ve been caught not paying attention again. It’s not fair. It’s not your fault…

Two hours later, your sitting in study hall and your leg is shaking so bad that Richter scales 100 miles away are catching the vibration. Tapping your pencil a million times a minute only annoys the teacher’s aid. Even though you’re supposed to sit quietly and get your homework done, sticking your butt in the chair is WAY too hard. You get up and wander the room, touching everything as you go by–much to the dismay of the TA. She tells you to sit down, but you keep meandering. After the third warning, you get sent to the office.

Sitting outside the principal’s office isn’t any easier…

After supper, you literally CAN’T sit still. But it’s after dark, so you can’t go outside. You run up and down the stairs until your mom yells at you, then you try doing backflips off the couch. Without enough leverage, you land in a heap, striking your head on the coffee table.

You need stitches…again…

Classic signs and symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (formerly Attention Deficit Disorder) include:

  • Symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and/or inattentiveness before age 7
  • Symptoms continue for at least 6 months
  • Symptoms affect at least 2 areas of functioning, ex. classroom, home, playground, social settings

Inattentive symptoms include:

  • Being easily distracted, missing details, forgetting things, frequently switching from one activity to another
  • Having difficulty maintaining focus
  • Becoming bored
  • Having difficulty completing tasks
  • Not seeming to listen
  • Daydreaming, becoming easily confused, and moving slowly

Hyperactive symptoms include:

  • Fidgeting and squirming in seats
  • Talking nonstop
  • Blurting out inappropriate comments
  • Being impatient
  • Having difficulty waiting for your turn

Treatment includes medications (stimulants such as Ritalin, Wellbutrin, an anti-depressant that has been shown to alleviate ADHD symptoms, and/or Strattera, a non-stimulant medication) as well as behavioral modification (such as consistent routines, structure, consistent parenting with good boundaries and limit-setting, using lists, and schedules/calendars).

So, writer buds, do any of your characters have ADHD? Rick Riordan’s character, Percy Jackson, did. He really did a fine job of describing what it was like for poor Percy to have ADHD.

What other examples can you think of?

Don’t forget to check out Lydia’s Medical Mondays post!

Also, this information is for writing purposes only and is NOT to be construed as medical treatment or advice.