Are you hyper? I was. As boys, we have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) three times more often than girls. Also as boys we are more likely to develop oppositional behavior and delinquency. I can attest to this. With Asperger’s Syndrome and dyslexia, I was tense with pent up energy that had to go somewhere. I was always fidgeting and acting out. Looking back, I have compassion for my parents and teachers.
Now, if you were a girl you would have been more prone to develop anxiety, depression and eating disorders, particularly bulimia, but the effects later in life can be similar to those of ADHD.
Dr. Russell A. Barkley, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina, has written in the New York Times about what occurs by the time we are adults:
By adulthood, the proportion of men to women with the disorder is nearly even, and there are few differences in the symptoms. Both men and women have significant problems with executive functioning, which involves skills like time management, self-organization and problem-solving, as well as self-restraint, self-motivation and self-regulation of emotions. All of these problems can have a major effect on daily life activities, like family relations, child-rearing, managing money, functioning at work or driving.
You’ve got to love the medical industry with their ongoing creation of new diseases and diagnoses. The new one linked to ADHD is ‘sluggish cognitive tempo,’ or S.C.T. According to Dr. Barkely, the term refers to “a constellation of symptoms that include daydreaming, being ‘spacey’ or easily confused, mental fogginess, or being slow-moving, lethargic or less active than usual”.
What is not known is that all these symptoms are curable. As men in particular, we seem to be inclined to believe our bodies and minds can’t change. We will get older, our bodies may grow fatter and our minds slower. We are reluctant to believe that a chronic condition can be turned around. This isn’t the case. Thirty-five years ago I displayed all of the symptoms listed by Dr. Barkely and more and couldn’t have been tenser. Through several years of holistic health modalities such as Rolfing, homeopathy and body-mind therapies, I have healed the majority of them.
From my personal experience and that gleaned from working with hundreds of men with various versions of ADHD, I can say with confidence that we are capable of changing. It will take commitment and time and you cannot fully appreciate the benefits until you have worked to achieve them. Don’t listen to others who say you can’t get well. They might have good intentions but they are wrong.
Do you or a friend have ADHD? Are you or they trying to heal it? If so, how? Share your experiences with others.
For more information on ADHD, see this article from The New York Times.