The diagnosis of a child or teen with attention deﬁcit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often brings about a wave of emotions for both the child and parent. In many instances, these emotions are negative as those affected by the diagnosis attempt to come to terms with what the condition means for daily life and functioning. Parents and adolescents may be afraid that ADHD will impair the ability of the adolescent to live independently, to hold a job or to complete higher education.
While these issues represent realistic considerations for the adolescent diagnosed with ADHD, what many parents and adolescents fail to recognize is that ADHD provides the individual with certain abilities and beneﬁts that, when viewed properly, can be seen as gift rather than a burden. Some examples of beneﬁts associated with ADHD include the following.Creativity.
Research indicates that adolescents and adults with ADHD process more thoughts per second than individuals without this condition. As a result, individuals with ADHD often have a higher level of creativity than those without. Higher processing speeds in the brain leads to the ability of the individual to make a larger number of connections between information. This will impact creative capabilities, providing the individual with more opportunities for developing new ideas.Higher Levels of Energy. Individuals with ADHD have higher levels of energy, often resulting in hyperactivity.
While higher energy levels can be problematic for sitting in a classroom or studying quietly in a library, they can also tasks and achieving goals. In terms of excelling in school or in a career, this higher level of energy can give an individual a clear advantage.
Enhanced Sensitivity. Individuals with ADHD often experience emotions on a very deep level. The emotions can be so intense that they may be physically painful, and may result in the overreaction of the individual in situations that cause minor irritation or distress for others. Although these facets of ADHD can be dif cult to manage, because of their sensitivity individuals with ADHD often make good friends and caring partners. These individuals are capable of introspection and compassion enabling them to understand others and responding in a caring manner.
Intuition. ADHD often results in a higher degree of intuition for the individual as well. Even though the presence of ADHD can make it difﬁ cult for the individual to concentrate, this does not mean that information in the environment is not observed or evaluated. Individuals with ADHD are often able to take in more information from their environment, making it possible for them to utilize a wider range of information when making decisions. Information gathering promotes intuition that will improve the ability of the individual with ADHD to make sound decisions.
Flexibility. The restless nature of individuals with ADHD can make it difﬁ cult for them to remain in one place for a long period of time. When conditions change, individuals with ADHD may be more likely to accept change and view it as an
opportunity for breaking the routine. This improves ﬂ exibility and the ability of individuals with ADHD to go with the ﬂ ow, and can be an important beneﬁ t for coping and dealing with the challenges and stressors of everyday life.
Enthusiasm for Life. Individuals with ADHD typically struggle with impulsivity, which can have a negative impact on one’s life. Athough harnessing impulsivity can be a difﬁ cult challenge, individuals that are successful in this area will continue to exhibit their impulsivity through enthusiasm for various activities that are important to them.When coupled with intuition, impulsivity can provide a foundation. Taking risk in a controlled manner, facilitating success and overall passion for the choices one makes.
The beneﬁ ts of ADHD reviewed here are real. Individuals with ADHD can be highly successful in every aspect of their daily lives. While the beneﬁ ts of ADHD are important, they are often overlooked in the context of the challenges faced when a child or adolescent is ﬁ rst diagnosed with the condition. Practitioners, parents, teachers and adolescents need to adopt a balanced view of ADHD so that the challenges of the disorder can be balanced with the beneﬁ ts.
If issues such as impulsivity and inattention are managed in a purposeful manner, ADHD can provide a number of positive outcomes for the individual. Taking a balanced approach to the diagnosis of ADHD will be important for coping with the disorder and working to create the best possible outcomes for those impacted by the disorder and their loved ones.
Dr. Clatch practices at the Courage to Connect Therapeutic Center, 2400 Ravine Way, Suite 600, Glenview. For more info, call 847-347-5757 or visit couragetoconnecttherapy.com.