3rd Feb 2023
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurological disorder characterized by excessive hyperactivity and impulsive behaviors.
High-functioning ADHD is not a formal disorder. It is a term attributed to people whose daily lives are less impacted by their ADHD diagnosis .
There are numerous ways of managing the condition, ranging from medication and counselling to self-care measures you can implement in your everyday life.
High-functioning ADHD is a phrase used to describe someone who has found a way to offset their shortfalls, related to their ADHD diagnosis, with functional workarounds.
To an outside observer, they can appear to be thriving, but in reality, they struggle with their ADHD on a daily basis.
For example, a 47-year-old dentist who struggled to concentrate at school, did not follow rules and was even expelled from one school . He claimed he always felt something deviating him from his focus, and he always had to put a lot of effort into controlling his behavior .
Psychiatric evaluation pointed to ADHD; however, this man never failed his exams and was able to become a highly skilled professional .
Identifying high-functioning ADHD requires an initial diagnosis of ADHD.
If you believe you show symptoms of having ADHD, it can be helpful to seek a medical referral from a social worker, school counsellor or a licensed therapist. Then, a healthcare professional, such as a physician or psychologist, can provide a formal diagnosis for ADHD.
Being diagnosed with ADHD can be bewildering but also extremely validating, as you can work together with mental health professionals and loved ones on how to cope going forward.
Referring to the American Psychiatric Association’s recommendations for ADHD diagnosis, symptoms can be categorized under 2 sub-sections, inattention and hyperactivity & impulsivity .
For children, 6 or more of the symptoms, perceived as disruptive to the child’s development, must have been present for over 6 months.
For adolescents aged 17 or older and adults, 5 or more of the symptoms, perceived as disruptive to the child’s development, must have been present for over 6 months .
Life poses daily challenges, and sometimes it can feel overwhelming, though you’re not quite sure why. Do you struggle with staying focused, managing time, or keeping deadlines at school or work? Do you feel like you must work much harder to compensate for these issues just to get through the day? These are telltale signs of high-functioning ADHD.
Below are some indicators of high-functioning ADHD.
If you feel any of the above apply to you, seek medical advice to receive an ADHD diagnosis. There are many different treatment options which can help.
The causes of ADHD are not wholly defined yet, though research has shown that genetics play a role. Offspring of people with ADHD are at higher risk of developing ADHD .
Experts also believe the following could be risk factors:
ADHD treatment usually consists of a combination of therapy, medication and self-care. Younger children can receive educational and behavioral support whilst at school; adults may consider letting their employer know about an ADHD diagnosis to ensure they receive the support required to do their job.
There are a range of therapies that can be used to treat high-functioning ADHD. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is usually the first port of call. Alongside their physician or psychologist, patients can identify harmful thought patterns and work on eradicating them.
Support groups can also be useful for both children and adults with ADHD . There are numerous support groups such as Children and adults with ADHD (CHADD) and Adults with ADHD (ADDA). These provide a valuable and affordable way for individuals to learn about ADHD .
Stimulants and non-stimulants are the two main medications used to treat ADHD. They work to stimulate focus and attentiveness, whilst limiting impulsivity. Your clinician will determine what the best course of these would be for you.
Antidepressants can relieve anxiety and depressive symptoms brought about by ADHD. However, whilst they have demonstrated benefits in tackling ADHD behavioral symptoms, they are best used as a second-line medication behind stimulants .
It is essential to discuss any course of medical treatment with your clinician. Be honest and open about your personal circumstances and symptoms, and together you can devise the most effective plan for managing your ADHD.
Self-care, in this instance, refers to the different techniques you can use to manage your ADHD.
Implement and adhere to a routine for your child, e.g., a typical school day, so they know what to expect from everyday life.
Be clear and concise when asking your child to do something. Instead of asking: ‘Can you do your homework?’, try ‘Please do your homework’. Ensure you make it clear how pleased you are when your child listens, thus reinforcing patterns of good behavior.
Develop a plan to manage your child’s ADHD teachers and support staff at their school. Doing this as early as possible can give your child the best chance of academic success.
No. ADHD is a lifelong medical condition. However, with treatment, symptoms can be successfully managed.
Yes, you can certainly be successful with ADHD. There are countless examples of people with ADHD. Celebrities include Justin Timberlake, Simone Biles, Michael Phelps, Adam Levine and Emma Watson.
Management of your ADHD symptoms with a medical professional, combined with self-care techniques, will set you well on your way to living your best life.