According to Mayo Clinic, 7.5 percent of school-aged children in the U.S. have attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Some children grow out of this condition as they get older, but in many cases, ADD and ADHD last into adulthood.
People with ADD or ADHD generally have problems concentrating and paying attention for long periods of time. Following directions can be difficult, and affected people often get frustrated and bored with following tasks. They tend to move constantly, fidget and are impulsive.
Many students at UVU are familiar with these symptoms and are continually learning how to cope with the characteristics associated with ADD and ADHD.
Student Nick Boyer was diagnosed by UVU’s Student Health Services with ADHD just two weeks ago at age 27. Before Boyer was diagnosed and when he doesn’t take his prescription drug Adderall, life feels hectic.
“I always feel like there are five phones ringing at once,” Boyer said. “When I answer one I get anxiety about the other four so I [can’t] keep my attention in the present or at hand.”
The particular thing about these “phones” is that they usually aren’t important things, but things Boyer just wants to do.
“My Internet surfing has ten tabs going at once, going through news, games, Facebook, Twitter and then photography I’m working on,” Boyer said.
It is apparent when Boyer’s Adderall has worn off because he suddenly feels swamped with unimportant tasks. If Boyer doesn’t keep his mind stimulated he feels like he is “in a windowless jail cell of nothingness.”
Since Boyer was diagnosed, life has become clear. He is able to focus on and complete tasks without feelings of anxiety and hopelessness distracting him.
For the most part, Boyer doesn’t feel like his ADHD affects his learning at UVU because he is usually able to get excited about the subjects. If the professor’s lecture becomes dry or irrelevant, however, Boyer’s attention turns to his iPod touch. Boyer also feels that his ADHD affects his relationship with his wife because it is so easy for him to lose focus and get bored. On the other hand, he feels his ADHD has helped his creativity.
“I think the ADHD really helps my art when I am excited and stimulated by what I’m doing,” Boyer said.
To cope with the ups and downs of ADHD, Boyer has learned to prioritize and organize the important things in life. He uses relaxation and meditation to free his mind of anxiety and depression. He said he has learned to not put so much pressure on himself to complete so many tasks, and he has learned to “let things go.”