A couple of months ago I posted about using essential oils as an alternative to prescription medication for kids with ADD/ADHD. My sister Dori has successfully used oils with her son Jed, an energetic 7-year-old who was failing in school and labeled a “problem child” by the public education system.
Not only have essential oils helped turn Jed’s life around, it’s also touched the lives of thousands all over the world. I’ve come to realize it’s not just kids that deal with ADD/ADHD, but many, many adults suffer as well.
As a matter of fact, ADD/ADHD runs rampant in my family. Myself, two of my sons, my daughter, and several of my nieces and nephews suffer from it to varying degrees. Adults actually have a harder time dealing with this disorder because the older you get, the more demands are placed on you. Pursuing a career, raising a family, running a household can be challenging for anyone, but if you have ADD/ADHD, it can feel downright impossible.
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Add to that the fact that many myths and misconceptions out there about adults with ADD/ADHD and it’s a tough thing to overcome.
Here are just a few of the more prevalent ones:
MYTH: ADD/ADHD is just a lack of willpower. Persons with ADD/ADHD focus well on things that interest them; they could focus on any other tasks if they really wanted to.
FACT: ADD/ADHD looks very much like a willpower problem, but it isn’t. It’s essentially a chemical problem in the management systems of the brain.
MYTH: ADD/ADHD isn’t a real medical disorder
FACT: ADD/ADHD has been recognized as a legitimate diagnosis by major medical, psychological, and educational organizations, including the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Education.
MYTH: Someone can’t have ADD/ADHD and also have depression, anxiety, or other psychiatric problems.
FACT: A person with ADD/ADHD is six times more likely to have another psychiatric or learning disorder than most other people. ADD/ADHD usually overlaps with other disorders.
MYTH: Unless you have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD as a child, you can’t have it as an adult.
FACT: Many adults struggle all their lives with unrecognized ADD/ADHD impairments. They haven’t received help because they assumed that their chronic difficulties, like depression or anxiety, were caused by other impairments that did not respond to usual treatment.
Source: Dr. Thomas E. Brown, Attention Deficit Disorder: The Unfocused Mind in Children and Adults
The good news is that, despite the abundance of myths and misconceptions, the challenges of attention deficit disorder can be overcome. In addition to medication and even natural alternatives such as essential oils, there are many other self-help suggestions for adults with ADD/ADHD:
Exercise and eat right. Regular exercise helps work off excess energy and aggression and soothes and calms the body. Limit sugary foods in order to even out mood swings.
Get plenty of sleep. When you’re tired, it’s even more difficult to focus, manage stress, stay productive, and keep on top of your responsibilities.
Practice better time management. Set deadlines for everything, even for seemingly small tasks. Use timers and alarms to stay on track. Take breaks at regular intervals.
Embrace challenges. ADD people thrive on challenge! As long as you don’t get too perfectionistic, you’ll get a lot done and stay out of trouble.
Leave time between engagements to gather your thoughts. Transitions are difficult for ADD’ers, and even short breaks can help.
Put yourself in “timeout”. When you are upset or overstimulated, take a timeout. Go somewhere. Calm down.
Remember that what you have is a neuropsychiatric condition. It is genetically transmitted. It is caused by biology, by how your brain is wired. It is NOT a moral failing.
The more aware we are of how many adults struggle with ADD/ADHD, the more people will be able to seek help. Because it’s definitely not just for kids anymore.