Do you often daydream during class or exams? Do you find it difficult to sit in one place and pay attention? Are you easily distracted by anything happening around you and you’re always itchy to be on to the next mission? Constant hyperactivity and an inability to focus on one thing could have a major impact on your overall performance and your ability to complete tasks.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) could be the reason for your erratic habits.
What is ADHD
ADHD is a common neurological condition that affects children and often persists into adulthood. This condition is a combination of problems like impulsive behaviour, not being able to sustain focus, and constant hyperactivity.
According to the Goldilocks and The Bear Foundation, a non-profit for underprivileged communities; at least one in 20 children suffers from ADHD.
While the exact causes of this disorder are unknown; an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain and genetics play a role. There are three core ADHD symptoms that usually appear before the age of seven:
- Inattentiveness: Not following through with tasks or failing to finish them, being forgetful in daily tasks, failing to listen when directly spoken to and avoiding tasks that require mental effort and attention.
- Hyperactivity: “Driven by motor”; fidgety and restless behaviour, and excessive talking.
- Impulsivity: Interrupting and intruding on others, difficulty waiting your turn and a tendency to blurt out answers before a question is completed.
Approximately eight to 10% of the South African population has ADD/H, says the Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Support Group of Southern Africa.
Medication is usually prescribed in the form of stimulants like Ritalin (a central nervous system stimulant) for immediate relief. But this alone is not enough to learn and unlearn some habits. This is where psychotherapy is helpful to learn necessary skills and to be able to live with the condition. It will further strengthen positive behaviours and eliminate unwanted and problematic ones.
Good to know
A nutritious diet can help reduce ADHD symptoms. Fill up on foods that contain protein and complex carbohydrates to help you feel more alert and minimise hyperactivity. They will also give you steady and lasting energy.
Studies show that foods rich in Omega−3 fatty acids improve mental focus in people with ADHD. You can find Omega-3s in salmon, tuna, sardines, some fortified eggs and dairy products. Fish oil supplements are also an easy way to boost your intake.
That being said, the best way to determine if you really need treatment, is to visit your doctor. They can do an assessment to decide if you need medication, or if you just need to practice some healthy habits to help you focus.
Pass your exams with flying colours by ensuring that you get enough sleep as it will improve the quality of focus, mood and attention. Find your Zen! Meditate to learn relaxation techniques that can help with attention, planning, and impulse control. Yoga can also help you learn deep breathing and other relaxation techniques that can help you become centred and mentally aware.