In the overwhelming majority of cases, ADHD appears to have a genetic basis. The attentional weaknesses and executive dysfunctions that characterize ADHD appear to be the result of genetically based differences in the parts of the brain that control paying attention and regulating behavior.
This means that the core characteristics of ADHD including low arousal, impulsivity, distractibility, short attention span, and inefficient executive functions (i.e. poor working memory, time/task management, problem solving, response generation, emotional regulation, and self-monitoring), are there from the moment an ADHD individual wakes up in the morning until the time he/she goes to bed at night.
As a result, any life task that requires some degree of focused attention or executive self monitoring can be adversely affected by untreated ADHD. As it turns out, this is a pretty profound statement! Reflect back on your day today…try to think of one thing you did that did not require efficient attention or executive functioning skills.
Getting up? Sorry. Doing your morning routines? No way. Arriving at work on time? Really? Doing your job? C’mon. Taking to co-workers? Hardly. Making the right choices at lunch? Think about it! Driving home safely? Huh? Preparing dinner? You’re kidding me, right? Supervising homework? Get real. Getting to bed on time? I doubt it!
When you think about it, its pretty unbelievable, isn’t it? This is what makes ADHD such a serious and complicated problem. And as life goes on, there are more and more demands placed on our attention and executive functions. ADHD is clearly an all day, all life problem!
I have included with this post a set of Daily Activities Checklist that I use at The Being Well Center to establish the fact that a person’s ADHD is pervasive, impacting daily tasks in all areas of life. This in one of the key criteria that needs to be met to establish the diagnosis of ADHD. There’s one for kids and one for adults. Try it and examine the impact ADHD has on your or your child’s life!