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Negative ADHD Outcomes
People with ADHD have a unique brain wiring. Although there can be challenges associated with this neurobiological condition that can lead to less than desirable outcomes, there are also a multitude of strengths, benefits and competitive advantages that can lead to huge success.
Let’s start with the negative outcomes first:
1. Lack of self-awareness
ADDers are often so busy and focused on what it is that interests them that they are not self-aware. If they are not aware of their challenges, then they cannot address them. This can result in failure to learn, relationship issues, and difficulties at home and in the workplace.
2. Lack of self-confidence
Most ADDers don’t get the social education that they need. Without diagnosis, there is no explanation for their behaviours which can make the behaviours worse resulting in the ADDer becoming distrustful, and even afraid, of him/herself. This lack of self-confidence leads to many very able and talented ADDers not fulfilling their potential for fear of embarrassment and rejection.
3. Memory issues
Memory issues can adversely impact an ADDer’s learning and performance. For high performing ADDers, they will tend to not value what they accomplish as they forget what they have accomplished so easily. They also often end up reinventing the wheel!
ADDers are not very good at filtering information from their surroundings and take in far more than what they are aware of which can lead to distraction and overwhelm resulting in difficulties in all areas of an ADDer’s life including learning, relationships and employment.
5. Difficulty transitioning
ADDers can hyper-focus when they are interested in something and cannot easily stop doing the task that is the focus of their attention and shift to something else. This difficulty to shift is often interpreted as stubborn wilfulness and even selfishness which damages an ADDer’s sense of self-worth. ADDers often find themselves stuck on unimportant tasks neglecting vital matters that require their attention (such as final payment notices or studying for an exam the next day) which further damages their self-esteem. When an ADDer’s brain is engaged it doesn’t want to stop due to fear of boredom. ADDers must create transition rituals to shift in and out of things.
6. Sleep issues
ADDers often have trouble going to sleep and/or getting enough sleep. This is mostly due to fear of losing interest – the ADHD brain will avoid anything it thinks will be boring like the plague. Also, due to the increase in school/work demands on their time, ADDers crave down time (“flow” time) and if they don’t get it, they will want it at night at the time they are least distracted. This lack of sleep exacerbates impairing ADHD traits and can invariably lead to poor behaviours and performance at school and in the workplace.
7. Eating issues
Due to propensity to addiction, hyper-focus (where ADDers forget to eat) and impulsivity (leading to lack of planning and unhealthy eating choices)ADDers often have an unhealthy relationship with food. There are manyADDersthat over-eat or eat a lot of carb and sugar-loaded foods to supplement their low dopamine levels.
8. Financial issues
In general, Finance is boring to an ADDer – money doesn’t interest most ADDers but they find what they can do with it very interesting! Many ADDersare compulsive shoppers and keen gamblers.Managing finances is usually not a strong pointfor ADDersand this can lead to them accruing large debts, failing to pay their mortgages and even bankruptcy as well as the breakdown of many marriages.
9. Sensory issues
Sensory processing disorder often accompanies ADHD so that an ADDer may be sensitive to noise, certain sounds, smells, light etc. This can have a huge impact on an ADDer’s ability to participate and contribute at school, at work, and/or in the home as well as having a detrimental impact on friendships and an ADDer’s quality of life in general. Often people find ADDers with these sensitivities “too much hard work” to deal withand exclude them from their friendship circles.
10. Family tensions
ADDers’challenging behaviours can sometimes be embarrassing, disruptive, and even dangerous to family members. As ADHD is so genetic, it is often the case that a parent or both parents have ADHD which makes parenting a child with ADHD extra challenging. Add siblings with ADHD to the mix and the family environment can be a chaotic, and in some circumstances, toxic environment.Divorce in these circumstances is quite common.
11. Under-age pregnancy
Girls with ADHD are prone to under-age pregnancy due primarily to impulsivity, hyperactivity and other sensory seeking behaviours as well as their tendency to be people-pleasersliving in the “Now”.
Many ADDers have trouble obtaining employment and staying employed. This is mostly due to impulsivity and the novelty of the job wearing off. As a result, ADDers don’t often stay in the same job/industry to develop enough expertise or experience in one field. They are then stuck in an entry level job if they are employed.
ADDers tend to work long hours and are not mindful of their physical healthwhich can lead to medical and mental health issues.Hyperactivity together with a propensity to hyper-focus and inability to transition easily makes it difficult for ADDers to pause and pace themselves.
14. Driving offences and incidents
Many ADDers commit a multitude of driving offences and are involved in car accidents. Due to their hyperactivity and impulsivity, many ADDers drive above the speed limit, sometimes at break neck speeds resulting in accidents that are sometimes fatal. Due to emotional dysregulation, ADDers are also prone to road-rage and reckless driving which is exacerbated by ADHD traits of inattention. It is not unusual for an ADDer to have lost his or her licence at least once!
Sadly, a significant proportion of the prison population in the UK has ADHD. ADDers are hot wired for interest and novelty. A bored ADDer will resort to troublesome behaviour if it will mean generating interest for their non-stimulated brain. Add to this the impulsivity element of ADHD as well as the ADDer’s low sense of self-worthand the likelihood of ADDers committing crime is much increased. This is further exacerbated by the impoverished backgrounds many of these ADDers come from. These ADDers find themselves in a vicious cycle which can be near impossible to break without external support.