Friday, September 4, 2015

ADHD - Silly Rabbit, Adderall is (NOT) Just for Kids

57.7 million people over the age of 18 in America are living with mental illness. That's just over a quarter of the US population. Many of us have gone (or do go) un-diagnosed for much of our adult life.

I've sought medical treatment for my mental illness and have seen marked improvements through a combination of medications. Sadly, many medications, especially those that treat mental illness, require check-ups with a doctor for prescription refills. I currently can't afford the $200 visit to a doctor just to get an $80 prescription refilled.

Going without my medication has made my normal everyday tasks much more challenging. In searching for help online, I came across the National Institute for Mental Health's (NIMH) website. This site has a ton of really good information; information that is helpful for both people living with mental illness and for those who care about people who are living with mental illness.

On the NIMH website, I found a great section on living withe ADHD. The below list has a few suggestions for people living with the illness (though parts are geared more towards children, I can see the benefits for myself as an adult of following them). The last two paragraphs describe my struggle with the illness -- especially before it was diagnosed -- exactly.
  • Schedule. 
    • Keep the same routine every day, from wake-up time to bedtime. Include time for homework, outdoor play, and indoor activities. Keep the schedule on the refrigerator or on a bulletin board in the kitchen. Write changes on the schedule as far in advance as possible.
  •  Organize everyday items. 
    • Have a place for everything, and keep everything in its place. This includes clothing, backpacks, and toys. 
  •  Use homework and notebook organizers. 
    • Use organizers for school material and supplies. Stress to your child the importance of writing down assignments and bringing home the necessary books. 
  •  Be clear and consistent. 
    • Children with ADHD need consistent rules they can understand and follow. 
  • Give praise or rewards when rules are followed. 
    • Children with ADHD often receive and expect criticism. Look for good behavior, and praise it. 
Some children with ADHD continue to have it as adults. And many adults who have the disorder don't know it. They may feel that it is impossible to get organized, stick to a job, or remember and keep appointments. Daily tasks such as getting up in the morning, preparing to leave the house for work, arriving at work on time, and being productive on the job can be especially challenging for adults with ADHD. 
These adults may have a history of failure at school, problems at work, or difficult or failed relationships. Many have had multiple traffic accidents. Like teens, adults with ADHD may seem restless and may try to do several things at once, most of them unsuccessfully. They also tend to prefer "quick fixes," rather than taking the steps needed to achieve greater rewards.
At any rate, I hope this might be helpful for anyone who is struggling with ADHD. I'd love to hear about other's stories both as adults and children. The more we as a culture talk about mental illness, the more we can accept it as what it is, an illness.
Trent -by SoK

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