View Full Version : my informative speech on ADHD


varied_in_style
10-23-09, 01:50 PM
A Life with ADHD


Imagine. You are trying to get an assignment done for either school or work. You know you need to get it done, and you know you can do it. But it seems like your mind keeps wandering off and you soon realize that you’ve wasted hours that could have been used to finish the assignment. You try to get back into focus yet your mind wanders again, and again until soon you have to rush to get it done, and risk doing poorly, if you get it done at all. Unfortunately, this is just one of many scenarios for people who have grown up and are living with ADHD.

But what is ADHD? Well, to start, ADHD is short for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is the most commonly studied and diagnosed psychiatric disorder in children, affecting 3 – 5% of children worldwide, all starting before the age of seven. I myself was diagnosed at the mere age of 2 years old! Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to diagnose and many children are often misdiagnosed with either having it when they don’t, or not being diagnosed and treated when they do. My own dad wasn’t diagnosed until around the time I was which, for him, was at the age of 33. So it isn’t just a childhood disorder, many children who have it never grow out if it. It has even been estimated that over 8 million adults in the U.S. live with ADHD. But how do you find out if you or someone you know has it? Well, the key symptoms are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. But if you remember, I said it can be hard to diagnose properly. Why? This is because it is very difficult to judge what the ‘normal’ levels for these problems are. But there are several tests that are used to find out if ADHD is present, some of which include psychological testing and questionnaires for the parents.

But, once you do know you or someone else has it, what is the treatment? Most doctors often prescribe medications to help deal with the ADHD. Counseling is another form of coping with the disorder. But even if you do follow the instructions of your doctor, take the medication, and talk to a psychiatrist, it can still be very difficult to live with. As a person who has it, I can tell you that it is not easy to know you are different from everyone else. To know you have to be on medication the rest of your life because you’re considered out of the norm for society. Not only that, but ADHD doesn’t often come alone, there are usually other disorders to deal with, including bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and sometimes even depression as the child gets older, as well as sleep problems. I myself have the problems I just listed. But, it’s never as easy as just throwing in medication and expecting everything to go back to normal. The problem is, many people often give the child medication just to make life easier. But not being treated at all can be worse. Untreated adults often live with chaotic lifestyles, and often appear disorganized. Sometimes they even turn to non-prescription drugs and alcohol to cope. But at least knowing you have ADHD can help somewhat. If you had it and you didn’t know, you would go throughout your life wondering why you were different from everyone else. Of course knowing you have it is still very hard, as I have said earlier.

You can also be surprised how early children realize they are different, even if they don’t know why. When I was four years old I actually asked my mom when I would get a new brain because I knew I was different, having to take medication every day. Of course I also heard my parents talk about my ADHD a lot, but life went on. Growing up with ADHD for me was very hard at times, but for the most part I was sheltered and spoiled like any other child. Sure I was more active then was normal, and I liked to talk a lot but I usually lived with it just fine. That is until I started going to school. At first I did enjoy school, the first few grades were some of the best for me, but as I was in longer, it got to be harder. That is to say, I enjoyed the schoolwork most times, especially math and science, but I was often teased for being different, and it only got worse as I went higher in grade. And it seemed like anything I did got me antagonism from my classmates. Eventually I stopped enjoying school and would often fake sick to stay home, especially during my high school years. It got so bad, because they knew they could get to me that I even cut myself a few times, though I did stop quickly enough. But, during my last few years of high school, I did have a much healthier way of coping, by reading lots of fantasy and fiction books, and writing dark poetry. I would sometimes read in class, or write a poem when I was supposed to be working or paying attention, and the other kids hated it because I would never get in trouble for anything. I guess you could say I was a teacher’s pet back then. But then, I didn’t really mean to, I just preferred adults over kids my age because I often thought myself as a little more mature then everyone else. I knew how to respect my elders, and if I wasn’t paying attention in class, at least I did it quietly unlike my louder classmates who simply acted out. But nothing helped, and I even ended up going to the band room instead of the lunch room because I hated how loud and annoying it was. And to me, graduation didn’t come soon enough. It was an escape for me, and very relieving to get out of such a miserable place.

But it doesn’t just stop there, because of growing up with ADHD, and having to deal with all the harassment in my school growing up, I didn’t exactly get out unscathed. My confidence was torn to pieces, and still is depending on the situation, and I often prefer to hole up in my room, rather then do anything. Living with this makes it hard for me to relate to other people and I often feel like the odd one out. You probably sometimes notice how I don’t usually talk to anyone or sometimes sit by myself at times. This is because to me, I find it hard to trust now, though McCann is a major improvement for me. But I wilt when it comes to other people, I don’t know what to say, or how to approach other people because I worry that they wouldn’t want to talk to me anyway. I still wonder why I got to be so ‘lucky’ as to be so different from everyone else, but when I do make friends I am usually very loyal to the end.

But ADHD can be a very broad topic and I could probably go on for hours talking about it if I had the chance, yet there are those out there who believe it doesn’t really exist. That it’s just something that was invented rather than discovered. And there is also a lot of controversy around the use of certain medications called stimulants for treating this. I myself can’t drink coffee or hot chocolate without the caffeine putting me to sleep to some degree. But most do agree it exists, and most of the controversy is around how to treat it. This is because some of the medications have a high risk of dependency and abuse. And some of them weren’t meant to be prescribed to young children. But there are also more natural ways of treating it, though I haven’t tried of them yet, myself.
But beyond the theories of treating it there are theories as to what it is caused by. The most common ideas are hereditary, chemical imbalance, brain changes, and head injury. There are also the possibilities of poor nutrition, infections, and substance abuse during pregnancy, as well as exposure to toxins in early childhood, and injury to the brain and brain disorders. One thing that is agreed, though is that too much sugar does not cause ADHD. Yet there are still other theories, theories that involve evolution, that maybe it’s supposed to happen. One such theory is called the hunter vs. farmer theory. It was developed by Thom Hartmann, over the origins of ADHD. He says that most if not all humans were nomadic hunter gatherers for thousands of years. This standard changed however, as agriculture became prominent and more people became farmers. Over the years most people adapted to being farmers, but people with ADHD are said to still retain the older, hunter characteristics by being hyper alert, as well as having a short attention spans, poor planning and organizing skills, impulsiveness, impatience, and a distorted sense of time. He also said that hunters, mostly men, needed hyper focus more than the gatherers, mostly women. This, he theorizes, is why men are twice as likely as women to be diagnosed with ADHD. I find this theory very interesting, and personally plan to look into it further at a later date, if I remember.

I could keep going onto other theories about ADHD such as the Edison gene and others, but I’m sure you already have enough to think about. So, to wrap up and reiterate what I have just said, here are some facts. ADHD, while mostly thought of as a child’s disease, can still be very prominent in adults. Treatment is necessary, even if you don’t like it, and acceptance of it in yourself is very important for self esteem. You should also learn that it is not a crutch or a wall to abuse or hold back, but just a different way of thinking. If you do have it, don’t be like me and think you’re a psychological freak because of it, as I did for many years. It means you have different strengths and weaknesses from other people, and in the end, there really is no such thing as normal.

*sorry for it being so long*

varied_in_style
10-24-09, 02:44 PM
i probably should have mentioned this a while ago, but i have this speech posted on my devART page and it is slightly easier to read there as it isn't stretched out across the screen as much. you can find it here if you are interested--->http://pnygrl596.deviantart.com/art/A-life-with-ADHD-141167831