Understanding ADHD helps!
Facts about symptoms, treatment, strengths, daily life...

ADHD facts from coach Dr. Saskia Karg

ADHD 101 - based on current science

  • ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder or difference

  • It tends to run in families

  • The ADHD brain has trouble with

    • attention

    • hyperactivity or restlessness

    • impulsivity

    • emotional regulation

  • Depending on which symptoms are most prevalent, ADHD is classified as 

    • combined-type

    • mainly inattentive (formerly sometimes called ADD)

    • mainly hyperactive type (very rare)

    • the term ADD is no longer used clinically or scientifically but still used by many colloquially for all types of ADHD

  • Difficulties generally persist into adulthood and may range from mild to severe, leading (on average) to a reduced quality of life and life expectancy for people with ADHD

  • The standard of care is generally multi-modal, meaning that different interventions from different professionals are combined to improve the quality of life of the person with ADHD.

Common treatments and interventions are:​

  • medication (prescribed and monitored by physicians, optimally by a specialized psychiatrist)

  • psychoeducation (a fancy term for "learning about your ADHD" - part of ADHD coaching)

  • cognitive behavioral therapy (optimally by a therapist specialized in ADHD)

  • ADHD coaching

ADHD coaching is recommended in the European guidelines on adult ADHD and there are, surprisingly, even research studies showing a positive impact of ADHD coaching. Why is this surprising? Such research is rarely funded.

ADHD coaching is often a good addition to or may even be a replacement for psychotherapy. Of course, speak with your psychiatrist or other treating physician before making any changes to your psychotherapy. 

How adhd shows up in daily life - symptoms

As mentioned above, ADHD often persists into adulthood. Unfortunately, it's often diagnosed far too late, especially in middle-aged and older women. The same is the case for people with the mainly inattentive type (formerly sometimes called ADD). Put differently, in all those who don't fit the image of the "wild and unruly boy".

ADHD affects our daily life in varied and often paradoxical ways, for example:

  • some difficult things are easy, but some simple things are incredibly difficult

  • disorganization, chaos, disorder

  • losing things

  • difficulty concentrating on boring tasks

  • being so deeply focused on interesting tasks that we can't get away from them (hyperfocus)

  • trouble studying

  • not managing to get things done on time

  • always being late (or way too early)

  • procrastination

  • emotional sensitivity

  • intense but short-lasting mood swings

  • strong focus on the negative, brooding, rumination

  • outbursts of anger/tantrums

  • relationship problems

  • problems in relationships with significant others and sexuality

  • approach-avoidance conflicts in close relationships

  • overwhelm

  • inconsistency, fibbing and lying

  • shame and low self-esteem

  • various hypersensitivities

  • if you're a woman with ADHD, your hormones can strongly influence your ADHD symptoms

  • daydreaming

  • no or poor sense of time

  • and endless other issues

 

So, are you affected and recognize some of these symptoms in yourself? Or in your loved ones or even your co-workers? Understanding ADHD helps!


Are you ready for an easier life with ADHD? ADHD coaching works.

 

By the way, I also coach family members and employers....

Common ADHD strengths

Many people with ADHD have unique strengths, real superpowers, for example:

  • creativity

  • divergent or out-of-the-box thinking

  • big-picture thinking

  • enthusiasm

  • high energy

  • wide-ranging interests

  • adventurous spirit

  • entrepreneurial spirit

  • openness to new experiences and people

  • sensitivity (yes I know, this can also be annoying and it can also happen that we are completely emotionally blind, which can be very stressful for those around us)

  • the resilience to get up again and again, no matter how many times life has knocked us down - we've had lots of practice ;-)

  • and countless more strengths...

 
 
 

References:

Updated European Consensus Statement on diagnosis and treatment of adult ADHD

Kooij JJS, et al. Eur Psychiatry. 2019 Feb doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2018.11.001

The World Federation of ADHD International Consensus Statement: 208 Evidence-based conclusions about the disorder

Faraone SV, et al. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2021 Sep doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2021.01.022

Efficacy of ADHD coaching for adults with ADHD

Kubik JA. J Atten Disord. 2010 Mar doi: 10.1177/1087054708329960.

An Empirical Evaluation of ADHD Coaching in College Students

Prevatt F, Yelland S. J Atten Disord. 2015 Aug doi: 10.1177/1087054713480036.