Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a chronic illness that affects both children and adults. What does chronic mean? It means that the illness will often affect individuals throughout their lives, often the severity of the symptoms may improve but the symptoms can also worsen. The main symptoms you may see if a loved one is diagnosed with ADHD, include but are not limited to: inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity at varying degrees. Attention Deficit Disorder is different from ADHD but similar in many respects, such as the presentation of inattention and poor social relationships. Those diagnosed with ADD do not show symptoms of hyperactivity or impulsivity.
How do we know if it is a disorder or just regular childhood behavior? We look to see if the primary symptoms are interfering with quality of life or hindering one’s ability to function on a daily basis, within what is socially expected and accepted. Often times, children or adults may also suffer from low self-esteem, poor relationships, and poor school or work performance. This in turn, affects their quality of life, which can lend to symptoms of depression and anxiety since they cannot function in society effectively.
Can ADHD be cured? ADHD can be treated but most research suggests that it cannot be cured but that symptoms can be managed and often lessen with time and the aging process. Early diagnosis and treatment are important and help with avoiding the development of further mental health problems, often associated with ADHD, such as mood disorders, anxiety disorders or suicidal ideation.
Can Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) help to treat ADHD/ADD? Absolutely! Animals can help teach both children and adults how to interact appropriately to build a lasting and meaningful relationship. Interacting and trying to work with an animal also allows for people with ADHD/ADD to practice and enhance their ability to pay attention and not get distracted by outside influences. AAT has also been found to increase self-esteem. Overall, using AAT alone and/or with other treatments for ADHD has a positive outcome in reducing symptoms of ADHD. Of course, applying AAT is not for everyone. At A Mind Above we treat everyone as individuals and search for the most effective and unique treatment in our toolbox to try to help you and your loved one.