Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a medical condition that affects millions of children and adults around the globe.
ADHD is known to be difficult to manage, and if you or a loved one is suffering from ADHD, you might feel as though there’s no respite from the condition.
In this blog post, we share some common myths and misconceptions that people have about ADHD, and walk you through techniques that you can use to cope with your ADHD.
Quick aside: If you're specifically interested in using a weighted blanket for ADHD, Ctrl + F "weighted blanket" to jump to the relevant section.
What is ADHD?
In a nutshell, ADHD is a neurobiological disorder that’s characterized by:
- Hyperactivity, and
- The inability to sustain focused attention
ADHD affects approximately 6.4 million children between the ages of 4 and 17, making it the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder of children.
While we tend to hear less about adults suffering from ADHD, experts estimate that 60% of children with ADHD carry the disorder into adulthood.
As you may already know, ADHD makes it difficult for both children and adults alike to grapple with day-to-day life.
More specifically, children with ADHD tend to have trouble paying attention, and this negatively impacts their school and home life.
Adults with ADHD, on the other hand, often find it tough to manage their lives. Amongst other things, they struggle with being organized, punctuality, and other issues.
The different types of ADHD
According to the DSM-IV, which is the latest diagnostic criteria of the American Psychiatric Association, there are three different types of ADHD. These are:
- ADHD with inattention as the primary characteristic
- ADHD with hyperactivity and impulsivity as primary characteristics
- ADHD with the combined characteristics of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention
ADHD patients with inattention as their primary characteristic are often typecast as “daydreamers”.
These patients often lose their personal belongings, have difficulty working on tasks, and tend to “zone out” ever so often.
On the other end of the spectrum, ADHD patients with hyperactivity and impulsivity as their primary characteristics are loud and active.
These patients often squirm around and interrupt others, and they may also be risk-takers and rebellious towards authority.
Finally, the third category of ADHD patients are those who are hyperactive, impulsive and inattentive. These ADHD patients exhibit traits of both groups we’ve just discussed.
Myths and misconceptions surrounding ADHD
Even though ADHD is a common condition that afflicts millions of people worldwide, there are still plenty of myths that people mistakenly believe about ADHD.
Myth 1: Children with ADHD are just lazy
Some adults will assume that children with ADHD are simply lazy and unmotivated, but this is far from the truth.
Yes, children with ADHD might act like they can’t be bothered, but most of the time, they’re simply doing this in order to “save face”.
If you dig deep, you’ll find that the real problem lies in the fact that the child isn’t up to the task that they’re asked to carry out.
Myth 2: ADHD is a sign of poor parenting
Running in the same vein, there are some that believe that having a child with ADHD reflects badly on a parent, and that ADHD is a sign of poor parenting.
In truth, ADHD is a medical condition that is caused by factors outside of parenting.
Although ineffective parenting can worsen the expression of ADHD, whether a child has ADHD has nothing to do with how their parents bring them up.
Myth 3: Kids are just naturally hyperactive
Finally, when faced with an ADHD diagnosis, some parents refuse to believe that their children are suffering from the condition, and insist that it’s natural for kids to be hyperactive.
On that note: yes, it’s perfectly normal for children to show some sign of hyperactivity, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a kid who’s attentive 100% of the time.
That said, when a child’s hyperactivity or inattentiveness starts to become a problem, and makes it hard or them to:
- Keep up at school
- Fit into family routines
- Follow school or household rules
- Communicate and maintain friendships
Then this clearly isn’t a simple case of “kids will be kids”.
The 3 common characteristics of ADHD
We’ve already discussed how those with ADHD tend to be inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive, but that aside, there are 3 other tell-tale characteristics that indicate that someone has ADHD. These are:
- An interest-based nervous system
- Emotional hyperarousal, and
- Rejection sensitivity
Interest-based nervous system
First, having an interest-based nervous system essentially means that ADHD patients’ attention spans grow and wane based on how interested they are in the topic at hand.
Now, when we talk about how folks with ADHD are “inattentive”, this doesn’t really tell the full story. To be more precise, ADHD causes “inconsistent attention”.
This means that those with ADHD tend to focus intensely on subjects that interest them, and lack focus in other subjects that don’t interest them.
So, if your child can sit down and be highly immersed in a video game for an hour or two, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for them to be ADHD.
Next, those with ADHD tend to experience emotional hyperarousal, which means that it’s difficult for them to “switch off”.
This particular trait or characteristic is hard to gauge from the outside, because an ADHD patient may not exhibit any outward symptoms of feeling tense. However, on the inside, it’s likely that an ADHD patient is cycling through their own highs and lows.
This emotional hyperarousal also makes it tough for ADHD patients to get sufficient rest.
When it comes time to sleep, these individuals may be physically tired, but their minds are often awake and still raring to go.
Finally, those with ADHD tend to grapple with rejection sensitivity, which is defined as an extreme, intense vulnerability to being rejected.
Here, rejection can come in several forms. A child with ADHD might feel rejected when they get teased or singled out at school, and an adult with ADHD may feel the same when someone disagrees with their point-of-view in a meeting
Unfortunately, it’s common for ADHD patients to feel the rejection more acutely than it was intended. In many cases, ADHD patients get worked up over what they perceive as rejections, regardless of how inconsequential these might be.
How to cope with ADHD
While ADHD isn’t a condition that can be cured or eliminated, it is possible to manage the symptoms of ADHD using a combination of techniques, including:
- Fine-tuning your diet
- Practicing yoga
- Being around nature
- Getting better quality sleep
When it comes to your diet, researchers have found that certain artificial dyes may exacerbate ADHD symptoms.
Bearing this in mind, try to avoid artificial dyes in order to reduce the severity of your symptoms.
Next, a study published in the ISRN Pediatrics journal shows that children with ADHD perform better in school after practicing yoga.
If you’re having a tough time concentrating and paying attention (be it in school or at work), some yoga might just do the trick.
Moving on, another study shows that exposure to green spaces could help alleviate the symptoms of ADHD in children.
Instead of simply sitting at your desk all day, try and take frequent breaks, and take a quick walk around the nearest park if you can manage it. This might help to lift your mood, and reduce the severity of your symptoms.
Last but not least, many ADHD patients have noted that they experience more severe symptoms when they’re sleep deprived.
If you’ve used blackout curtains, white noise machines, eye masks, and nothing does the trick, we recommend trying a weighted blanket -- these do wonders to help you relax, and can help improve the quality of your sleep.
Weighted blankets for ADHD: How does it work?
Both kids and adults with ADHD often have trouble relaxing and falling asleep at night. That’s where weighted blankets come in.
How does a weighted blanket for ADHD work?
It’s simple -- you just drape one of these blankets over yourself, and it helps calm you down, and improves your sleep.
Don’t want to go to sleep just yet? You can also use your weighted blanket while you’re sitting and working on an important task. It’ll help you concentrate, and pay attention.
Now, if you’re wondering about the science behind these blankets, it all boils down to a concept known as Deep Touch Therapy (DTP).
DTP is a form of firm tactile sensory input that exerts a light, soothing pressure on you. This sensory input reduces the amount of stress hormones in your body, and also boosts your levels of serotonin (the chemical that helps you wake up feeling refreshed).
Now, weighted blankets are used by many people, including those with ADHD, Asperger’s, Autism, Fibromyalgia, and regular folks who just want to get rid of their insomnia.
Weighted blankets for ADHD: Are they effective?
According to numerous studies, weighted blankets are proven to be effective for those who suffer from ADHD.
For instance, this study showed that on-task behavior increased by 18% to 25% in all 4 students while wearing the weighted vest.
Then there’s this other study, which shows that weighted vests improve in-seat behavior, attention-to-task, and task completion in children with ADHD.
Reducing your ADHD symptoms with a weighted blanket
Unfortunately, there’s no magical fix that will eliminate your ADHD once and for all, but for many folks, using a weighted blanket does help to reduce the severity of their symptoms.
If you’re keen on purchasing a weighted blanket, try one of our amazing blankets :)
All our blankets come with a 100 Night Guarantee, which means that you can try out a weighted blanket at ZERO risk.
Again, most folks find that using a weighted blanket does wonders for their ADHD symptoms, but if this isn’t the case for you, just send the blanket back to us, and we’ll process a full refund.
We know that living with ADHD is hard, and we’re crossing our fingers that our blankets will be able to help you cope with your condition more effectively.
What are you waiting for? Get your Hush Blanket now!