I have 34 years’ experience of ADHD as someone who has lived with the condition as well as being a founder and coordinator of an organisation set up to support people affected by ADHD. While working here in Ireland to support those affected by ADHD over the last few years I’ve heard people spouting that ADHD isn’t real. Its Pharmaceutical Companies trying to force people to drug up their children is a common remark. Regardless of these conspiracy theories one thing is clear, thousands of children and Adults in Ireland and the UK are failing in every aspect of their lives. The people we support are from all walks of life but the stories we hear are much the same. ADHD was the cause of School exclusion, Substance abuse, conduct disorders, relationship difficulties failed employment as well as co-morbid conditions such as Depression and Anxiety disorders due to lack of understanding and treatment of ADHD.
We recently set up two further meetings in towns across Northern Ireland. For each meeting we put one article in each town’s local newspaper explaining about Adult ADHD NI and the support and information we provide. On both occasions we had full rooms of people pleading for help, advice and support for ADHD. We had parents in so much fear and distress because of their children’s behaviours, stories of school teachers failing to understand or accommodate the children’s needs and even more shocking, medications being removed from teenagers at the critical age of 15 and 16 when the need for concentration and focus is needed most. Also attending the meetings are Adults with ADHD, diagnosed and undiagnosed, explaining how their lives could have been so different had they known sooner and understood that the many difficulties in their lives where due to their ADHD.
I would encourage sceptics to examine the facts and the decades of research that has been conducted around ADHD rather than using tabloid newspapers as a source to come to conclusions. There is currently strong evidence that ADHD has a biological cause. Through the use of technologies such as MRI scans, electroencephalograms and PET scanning scientists have found that those diagnosed with ADHD display less activity in the frontal Lobe of the brain, this part of the Brain is known as the executive function.
For those still unconvinced, why don’t you volunteer for a few months with an ADHD support service and listen to the stories of some of the people affected by the condition and chances are you’ll probably know somebody affected by the condition without realising. From my own personal perspective I personally don’t actually care if people think ADHD is real or not, it’s real for me and it’s real for the people we support and because of this I will continue to offer support, raise awareness and try and reduce the stigma.
Niall now offers One to One support for people affected by ADHD support through Skype. If you wish to avail of this support service please contact Adult ADHD NI by Email – Niaadhd@gmail.com