© 2023 KMUW
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

ADHD assessments are important for this often-misunderstood condition

Taylor Wilcox

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – commonly known as ADHD and formerly known as ADD – affects roughly 9.4% of children under the age of 18 in Wichita. Only about half of them will grow out of the illness, meaning that for many, ADHD will affect us into adulthood as well. And though often bemoaned by society as a stereotypical example of over-diagnosing, ADHD – like many other mental illnesses – exists on a continuum with no hard and fast line of delineation.

The primary symptoms include some combination of inattention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity, things we all live with from time to time. But when these symptoms interfere with our function or development, a formal diagnosis may be called for.

The causes of ADHD remain unclear, but it is strongly believed that genetics plays a significant role, with environmental factors like brain injuries, nutrition, and social environments also being studied. In addition, those living with ADHD often have learning disabilities, anxiety or depressive disorders, or substance use concerns.

As with physical health issues like asthma or diabetes, there is no cure for ADHD. But working with a therapist to find the right combination of medications and psychotherapy make the illness much easier to live with. Therapy for children living with ADHD necessarily involves the parents playing an active role, often to overcome feelings of frustration, blame, or anger that may have built up prior to the diagnosis. If you believe your child may be living with ADHD, consider making an appointment for an assessment. If there is no concern, you’ll find that out. But if there is, then you’ll know that too.

Links to mental health resources are at MHANational.org.

Eric Litwiller has served the south central Kansas community through his work at Mental Health Association since September of 2017. As Director of Development and Communications, he is charged with seeking the private investment required to raise awareness of the scope of mental health concerns throughout the region in an effort to eliminate the unfair stigma associated with mental illness.