Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: It’s a diagnosis that most Americans are familiar with. Clinicians look for signs of hyperactivity, inattentiveness, and impulsivity when diagnosing an individual. Yet that is a very limited picture of what a person with ADHD might be experiencing. Less understood symptoms include an interest-based nervous system, emotional hyperarousal, and rejection sensitivity. Such challenges can obviously affect interpersonal relationships. By developing a more thorough understanding of the diagnosis, we are more equipped to support those who are dealing with ADHD.
Difficulty paying attention is perhaps the most familiar symptom of ADHD. Individuals with ADHD can pay attention well to things that are stimulating and interesting such as video games. In fact, such individuals would report enormous potential to focus when the activity is found interesting. Overcoming the struggle to initiate attention, can be addressed with stimulant medication and changing the rules of initiation. In other words, if the individual could make the task exciting, it can improve focus.
Surprisingly the majority of individuals with ADHD aren’t visibly hyperactive most of the time. Rather, hyperactivity is typically internally experienced. People with ADHD have intense feelings. As a result, they experience criticism from others more intensely and are likely to have low self-esteem. While these individuals are frequently misdiagnosed with mood disorders, it should be noted that these emotions subside often quickly and are triggered by misperceptions. ADHD individuals benefit significantly from support and by understanding his or her own emotions and perceptions better.
Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria is significant sensitivity to criticism of others. 98-99% of individuals with ADHD report experiencing RSD. Rejection can be experienced as physical pain and perceived when it is not actually there. Sometimes this hypersensitivity is managed with rage. Alpha-antagonist medications can sometimes help manage the symptoms.
If you or a loved one is struggling with ADHD, they may need support from a therapist to help better understand his or her unique experience with the diagnosis and develop strategies. At Therapeutic Partners, we have many therapists equipped to support individuals with ADHD. To learn more about these ADHD symptoms and how to know when someone needs help you can visit these articles.