Attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that impacts an individual’s ability to pay attention, control his/her conduct, and maintain focus. The complications associated with ADHD manifest themselves in different ways at different ages. These changes are attributable to the individuals’ growth and development as well as the environmental requirements. During the pre-school phase, children suffering from ADHD exhibit demanding extremes of physical activity. The behavior may change when they join elementary schools because such environments demand self-control. However, school-aged children with ADHD make excessive movements uncontrollably, especially when calmness is required. Instead of presenting whole-body movements, adolescents with ADHD show excessive fidgeting while in adulthood and may lack the inner sense of restlessness (Coetzer, 2015, p. 5). People living with ADHD struggle in almost all aspects of life, including relationships, employment, and life activities in general. While the inability to concentrate can impact an individual’s academic performance, adults living with ADHD experience the brunt of the neurodevelopmental condition.
Some symptoms of this condition create serious performance issues during their employment. Adults living with ADHD face problems related to interpersonal conflicts, increased rates of performance errors, tardiness, high rates of absenteeism, and inability to alter their behavior, which reduces their dependability. The repercussions of the performance issues may entail suspensions, reprimands, loss of wages, and in worst scenarios, job termination. Despite the many issues that people living with ADHD experience, they can et al. some skills that could benefit them not only in school but also in their employment during their middle adulthood and late adulthood.
Globally, the prevalence of ADHD has increased dramatically over the past few decades. In an attempt to address the potential explanations of the recent trends in the incidence of ADHD (Davidovitch et al., 2017, p. 218) performed a study. The researchers utilized a large cohort in order to match patients’ electronic health records with the numbers of individuals diagnosed with ADHD. This particular report showed that the numbers of ADHD cases have increased at alarming rates in the recent past. The major reason for this increment is the change in attitude among parents and medical practitioners. Currently, many people are seeking medical assessment because individuals have changed their attitudes towards ADHD. Therefore, parents are seeking medical intervention as a way of improving the academic performances and general wellbeing of their children.
To understand the skills that can be taught to people living with ADHD to enhance their performances both in schools and in the job sector, it is imperative to understand the onset, progression, and impairment, and its impacts both at school and during employment. Although the behaviors of ADHD can be observed before a child attains the age of seven, they can be presented at all ages but the severity of problematic behaviors is variable (Coetzer, 2015, p. 7). While the mild presentation is not impairing, extreme forms are harmful across societies, though the levels of hyperactivity and inattention considered harmful differ from one society to another. Essentially, a parent or caregiver who tolerates a child’s hyperactivity and inattention influence their presentation of the problem. Therefore, clinicians must have in-depth knowledge of how to blend the hyperactivity and inattention to determine whether the child has ADHD.
The features associated with ADHD can persist over time, which is a factor that can lead to developmental impairment. When compared to other children, school-age children present the problems associated with ADHD, such as inattention, impulsivity, increased rates of disruptive behavior disorders, and poor academic achievements, among other aspects. Although there are cases where symptoms of ADHD are mild, and hence, can go undetected, cases that are not detected early are likely to develop maladaptive behaviors, including alcohol and substance abuse, antisocial behaviors, and general personality dysfunction in their later life (Coetzer, 2015, p. 5). Although most symptoms of ADHD persist into adulthood, many young people with this condition will transition effectively to adulthood. Hence, this is mostly the case when the presentation of the problem is inattention as opposed to impulsivity and hyperactivity. In such cases, the chances are that antisocial behaviors do not develop. Therefore, the issues of ADHD are likely to persist over time, but many young people will effectively adjust to adulthood and be free from mental disorders.
People living with ADHD are likely to struggle in all aspects of their lives, including in workplaces. The key elements that employers look for in an employee are focus, organization, speed, and attention to detail. Many people living with ADHD find it a real challenge to observe or acquire these characteristics. They are, at times, restless, inattentive to detail, and are not able to focus, which makes it hard to keep a job (Coetzer, 2015, p. 9). One of the significant areas that are negatively impacted by this neurological disorder is teamwork. It becomes more challenging when the person with ADHD happens to be the team leader. Such an individual cannot organize his or her schedule leave alone the team. They find it challenging to plan and manage work effectively and have a poor estimation of the average time required to accomplish projects. As such, they set unrealistic goals for the teams or drag them behind. Working with teams becomes problematic as other team members are forced to struggle in the last minute in an attempt to complete their tasks. In addition, the impulsivity of these individuals can cause them to utter words without thinking of the consequences, which can cause misunderstanding and havoc to the team. Moreover, ADHD impacts an individual’s ability to control emotions. Hence, adults with ADHD experience challenges in their lives and are particularly sensitive to criticism, which results in struggles and conflicts at work.
Lack of peace and contentment, which are consequential to a wide range of conflicts and struggles at work, make people living with ADHD less productive. The numerous symptoms of ADHD have a strong impact on the productivity of individuals. They not only face challenges when organizing schedules of activities, but they also have problems in planning, prioritizing, and staying focused on their goals. Some of these symptoms create severe issues for the organization that such people work with, which require urgent intervention. While some employers ensure that these individuals remain in the lower-level positions, others opt to terminate the employment, which impacts the individuals’ ability to be economically stable (Coetzer, 2015, p. 9). Despite the numerous detrimental impacts on individuals living with ADHD and the organizations they work in, the vices can be manageable, especially when an individual and their organizations at large understand that they have the condition and are aware of the strategies used to minimize the presentations of ADHD symptoms. Therefore, organizations must be armed with the right informed data, which will ensure that they create working environments where the emotional, financial, social, and other negative effects of ADHD can be minimized.
Roles Played by Diet for People with ADHD
One of the skills that can be used to minimize the presentation of ADHD symptoms is checking on the diet. Studies have shown that deficiencies in certain types of food can worsen symptoms of ADHD in both children and adults. For instance, foods rich in proteins produce neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that influence brain communications. In addition, foods rich in protein increase the flow of blood sugars, which in turn increases impulsivity and hyperactivity. Many studies have been conducted in an attempt to understand the relationship between nutrition and individuals’ mental health, physical health, and behavior. Some studies have indicated that malnutrition in children can have long-lasting adverse effects. In addition, some foods can have situational or short term health, especially the health of our brains (Kaiser et al. 2017. p. 20). As far as ADHD is concerned, milk, sugar, and wheat are known to trigger the symptoms.
In an attempt to understand the relationship between food and ADHD, GreenBlatt (2017) conducted a study and found that malnutrition has a negative effect on the behavioral and cognitive ability of a child. The study indicated that malnourished children exhibit lower academic performances as compared to healthy children of their age. They also score low in good behavior, sleeping habits, social skills, and frustration levels as compared to healthy ones. Malnutrition at a young age also has some long-lasting effects on brain development, social skills, general physical activities, including toilet learning, and eating habits as well as the ability of the child to talk. Some children develop high levels of distractibility and hostility, which persists throughout adolescent to adulthood. More importantly, this study rated sugar as one of the most important triggers of hyperactivity.
Furthermore, Kaiser et al. (2017, p. 2) performed a study with the aim of assessing how kids suffering from ADHD who have been placed on dietary nutrition can be assisted. Another intention of conducting this study was to evaluate whether the dietetic intervention can be initiated in an ambulant milieu as pinpointed by the Dutch concept. After observing compliance with the diet according to the instructions, participants showed lower hyperactivity or impulsivity, and the rating score of ADHD improved by half. The study found that a restricted elimination diet along with food recommendation can help reduce the symptoms associated with ADHD significantly.
In the contemporary world, many intervention strategies are being used in the management of ADHD. The intervention strategies include pharmacological treatments, cognitive behavioral therapies, behavioral therapies, esteem enhancement, and nutritional therapies to mention but some (Barzegar et al., 2019, p. 179). According to Barzegar et al. (2019), the mammalian brain contains unsaturated fatty acids, which are not produced by the mammalian bodies (179). Hence, mammals should feed on foods rich in elements that will enhance the production of fatty acids, which play a significant role in the function of vector and fluidity cortex. Zinc, iron, and magnesium are some of the vital nutrients that can help produce fatty acids. Zinc plays an important role in regulating the neurotransmitter hormone known as dopamine. In this regard, low levels of zinc intake play a role in the development of inattention. In addition, a low intake of foods rich in iron causes cognitive deficits, which increases the manifestation of ADHD symptoms.
Magnesium plays a similar role with zinc, which is to produce hormone dopamine that is involved in focus, concentration, and attention (Verlaet et al., 2014, p. 522). Omega-3s is also believed to be important in promoting brain functionalities and nerve cell functions. Individuals living with ADHD should ensure that they consume omega-3s as it reduces the presentation of the symptoms of this condition by half. Therefore, to ensure that children consume the required levels of vital minerals, parents and caregivers should ensure that their diets have sufficient and relevant minerals. In cases where the children are petty eaters, parents can help maintain the required levels of these minerals by substituting with supplements. In fact, these vital minerals tend to breakdown more readily in people living with ADHD than in individuals without the condition. After eating foods rich with these minerals, they show the biggest improvement in their mental focus and cognitive functions. Therefore, ensuring that people living with ADHD consume foods rich in zinc, magnesium, iron, and several kinds of vitamins, omega-3s, and other vital nutrients while avoiding foods with high sugar contents, such as snacks, can assist in preventing the severity and the presentation of ADHD symptoms in both children and adults.
Physical Exercises in Managing ADHD
Another skill that can help individuals living with ADHD increase their success in living with the disability is by engaging in physical activity. It is not surprising that engaging in physical activity has numerous health benefits for people living with ADHD. Although the exact cause of this condition is not known, research shows that the condition is linked to a dysfunction of the neurotransmitter hormone dopamine. Engaging in physical activity does not only increase the production of neurochemical dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, but it is known to cause the effect on the brain similar to taking stimulant drugs such as Ritalin. The increase in the production of hormone dopamine through physical activity has been shown to improve focus and attention to people living with ADHD Christiansen et al. (2019). This means that people with this condition can perform physical activity to improve attention and hyperactivity (12). In addition, exercise produces endorphins chemicals in the brain, which are responsible for promoting the general moods and emotions. Therefore, because engaging in physical activity increases the general wellbeing of every person irrespective of whether or not they suffer from ADHD, persons with the disorder should exercise regularly because the initiative will stimulate their ability to concentrate, control hyperactivity, and promote the general wellbeing.
Physical activities are linked to ADHD and biochemical changes in the brain. Christiansen et al. (2019, p. 12) indicate that there is a correlation between exercise, ADHD, and biochemical changes in the brain. Engaging in physical activity has been shown to influence the current and future cognitive performances through the change in the levels of neurotrophin and blood flow in the cerebral section. Although exercises do not show immediate results in altering the symptoms of ADHD, the cerebellar section activity and motor cortical promote cognitive functions in people living with ADHD. As aforementioned, physical exercises influence the dopamine reward system, which in turn lowers the occurrences of ADHD symptoms. Therefore, it is important for people living with ADHD to not only learn the importance of engaging in physical activity, but also to ensure they exercise regularly.
In an attempt to determine whether aerobic exercises improve clinical symptoms and cognitive functions of individuals living with ADHD, Choi et al. (2015, p. 34) conducted a study to this end. The study evaluated alterations in cognitive activity within a specified period of time in adolescent girls aged 13 to 18 years. The study found that aerobic exercises augmented the effectiveness of pharmacological interventions in managing ADHD. It was found that aerobics reduced the clinical symptoms of this condition while increasing brain activity particularly within the right frontal cortex. According to this study, engaging in aerobic exercises can work together with pharmacological interventions to improve the clinical symptoms presented by ADHD (Choi et al., 2015, p. 39). Therefore, people living with ADHD should be encouraged to engage in physical activity as it lowers the levels of impulsivity, thus helping to maintain focus.
Another study was conducted by Rassovsky and Alfassi (2018,) in an attempt to explain the impact of physical exercise in people diagnosed with ADHD in comparison to their healthy counterparts (2747). Previous studies have assessed the impacts of physical exercise on attention. However, this particular study was aimed at examining the impact of exercises on an individual when they maintained performance. In this case, 14 participants previously diagnosed with ADHD were examined against 17 participants with no history of the condition. The study found that individuals diagnosed with ADHD showed an increased reaction time during physical exercise as compared to their healthy counterparts. It was found that there were notable differences between participants with ADHD during physical exercise, which lowered significantly during their resting positions. Therefore, this study gives credence to the view that physical activity promotes the wellbeing of people living with ADHD by lowering their rates of hyperactivity, inattention, and lack of focus, among other symptoms.
Within the medical realm, ADHD tests are viewed and used as assessment gadgets as opposed to apparatus that can enhance learning. Recent studies demonstrated that testing could have long term beneficial impacts, which highlights the importance of testing as a way of facilitating learning. Dudukovic et al. (2015, p. 1267) performed a study intended to find out the effectiveness of testing as a learning resource for college learners diagnosed with ADHD. Participants with and without the neurological condition were chosen for this particular study. The methods of evaluation entailed reading three passages and then recalling the content. The study found that individuals with ADHD had a delayed recall capability due to decreased attention. The second test entailed reading and writing anything that they could recall. According to the findings of this assessment, individuals with ADHD benefitted from testing and retesting as they tended to recall more than they had scored in the first test. Therefore, retesting memory could help people with ADHD to improve their learning skills.
Students with ADHD experience a wide range of issues in their attempt to emerge successful in their academic work. One of the things that cause major drawbacks for individuals with ADHD is a lack of learning mechanisms that promote learning. Hence, students with ADHD studying in mainstream learning institutions find it hard to keep on par with their healthy peers. While some develop learning styles that suit their mental condition, others stick to the learning methodologies of their peers, which influences their ability to perform well in education (Christensen 2007, p. 47). To ensure that every student explores the heights of his or her academic potential, it is imperative that learning institutions, including the schools of law, develop teaching styles that benefit every student irrespective of their psychological, mental, and physical wellbeing.
Studies have linked ADHD to a wide range of sleep disorders. One of the most common types of sleep disorders in people living with ADHD is sleep deprivation, which affects both children and adults. It is important to note that despite sleep deprivation is a common problem in both children and adults, the presentation of behavior attributable to lack of sleep is different. On the one hand, children who have had too little sleep tend to speed up their activity, which can be confused for ADHD. Children may also become moody and aggressive due to insufficient sleep.
In contrast, adults tend to be more sluggish when they experience insomnia. Hvolby (2015) indicates that some patterns of sleep can be symptoms of ADHD (4). People with ADHD have exhibited sleep-breathing problems that entail bad breathing patterns, obstructive sleep apnea, and snoring. Sleep disordered breathing is one of the key characteristics of ADHD. It is also associated with neurocognitive deficits, including inattention and hyperactivity, as well as neuro-behavioral symptoms. Observing sleep hygiene is one skill that people living with ADHD can learn in order to achieve the best out of their condition. It involves setting a regular sleep and wake pattern, taking naps between hours, and sleeping only in the bed, among other activities that can encourage sleep. Thus, practicing healthy sleeping habits is one of the approaches in which children and adults living with ADHD can use to reduce the patterns of hyperactivity and inattention.
In order to provide optimum care for individuals living with ADHD, medical practitioners ought to be knowledgeable of the patterns of sleep in these persons. It is well documented that inadequate sleep can increase the rates of hyperactivity and inattention in both children and adults. In an attempt to describe empirical results about sleep abnormalities and the cognitive, behavioral, physical, and emotional outcomes related to sleep disorders, Wajszilber et al. (2015, p. 454) conducted a study based on recent empirical data. Although the study did not establish consistent sleep differences between people with ADHD and their healthy counterparts, the researchers noted that individuals with ADHD exhibit higher tendencies of developing sleep disorders. Therefore, observing healthy sleeping behaviors is key to reducing the occurrences of ADHD symptoms.
Although there are many issues that people living with ADHD experience, they can be taught some skills that could benefit them not only in school but also in their employment setup during their middle adulthood and late adulthood. Some of the skills include engaging in regular physical activities, feeding on a balanced diet, observing healthy sleeping behavior, and seeking medical attention in case they notice the symptoms of this neurological condition. If these skills are learned and employed in individuals’ daily routine activities, they can assist in increasing their success despite having a chronic condition.
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