ADHD can have a significant impact on people’s lives — even when you’re an adult – Michmutters

ADHD can have a significant impact on people’s lives — even when you’re an adult

Janine Falcon is in her 50s, but for most of her life she had no idea the things she struggled with were common symptoms for people with ADHD.

“I remember thinking once, ‘Oh, I wish I could go to the doctor and say, listen, I’m having focus problems, can you give me Ritalin? Please can I have Ritalin?'” she says.

“But I also figured: you don’t have ADHD, you’re not sitting around jittery, you’re not hyperactive in the least … they are going to laugh at you and say get out of my office, you’re wasting my time.”

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.

PlayAudio.  Duration: 29 minutes 5 seconds

All in the Mind explores ADHD in adulthood

ADHD – attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – is not a behavioral condition; it’s not a mental illness, or even a specific learning disability.

It’s a developmental impairment of the brain’s self-management system or executive function – your ability to stay organized, keep focused, and self-regulate.

While many people can struggle with these skills, people with ADHD can experience problems with executive function all the time.

It can manifest itself in many ways and can have a significant impact on people’s lives.

For Janine, being chronically late was a major way ADHD impacted her.

“When I worked in an office, oh my God, I never got to work on time,” she says.

“I felt it was something I couldn’t help, but deep down you think there’s something wrong with you if you can’t help being late, and so you kind of avoid that thought.”

ADHD Adult brain
The brain on the left shows activity in healthy subjects, versus the decreased brain activity of a person living with ADHD on the right.(Wikimedia Commons: Zametkin et al)

Monash University professor of cognitive neuroscience Mark Bellgrove says it’s generally thought ADHD involves a fundamental disruption to neurotransmission.

“Principally that’s around two neurochemicals: dopamine and noradrenaline,” he says.

“These chemicals in the brain are very important for helping us regulate our alertness, our attention, but also for helping us control our behavior to make sure it’s appropriate for whatever context we might be in.

“We think in ADHD that dopamine and noradrenaline levels in the brain are probably reduced.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *