Is ADHD Considered A Mental Illness?

Driven By A Motor

ADHD or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder is a mental illness that is diagnosed in childhood, but in some cases, in adulthood as well. It’s an impulsive and chronic disorder characterized by inattention and hyperactivity. It’s considered a mental illness for two reasons: it’s classified in the DSM-V and the nature of its behavior revolves around mental symptoms.

Children with ADHD cannot sit still or maintain focus for an extended period of time. At school, the teachers complain that the child does not follow rules, does not take turns, shouts out answers when not called upon and distracts other children. Think of the class clown who is always causing a commotion and giving the teacher a hard time.

At home, the parents complain that the child will not do his homework, is always running around the house, cannot sit still and is always up to something, as if driven by a motor. For ADHD to be diagnosed, the symptoms must be witnessed in two settings, such as at school and at home.

Others behavioral symptoms of ADHD include: irritability, excitability, aggression, fidgeting, impulsivity, lack of restraint or persistent repetition of words or actions. As children mature into adults, the inattention tends to persist while the hyperactivity diminshes.

Cognitive symptoms of ADHD include: difficulty focusing, absent-mindedness, a short attention span and forgetfulness. Children with ADHD do not necessarily have a learning disorder or any problems with memory consolidation. But their mental illness prevents them from sitting still long enough to properly learn the school material.

Some mood symptoms experienced by children with ADHD include: anxiety, depression, anger, boredom or excitement. Having undiagnosed and untreated ADHD comes with a lot of consequences. Children may be punished for their disruptive behavior or suspended from school, causing them to feel angry or even depressed.

Many children who are raised in families who do not believe in mental illness may never receive a diagnosis or the treatment needed for their ADHD. That’s why it is important to end mental health stigma and normalize mental illness so we can all receive the care which we need and deserve.

Living with mental illness is not an easy task. But living with an undiagnosed and untreated mental illness makes that task tremendously more difficult!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)


6 Replies to “Is ADHD Considered A Mental Illness?”

  1. I really wish mental illnesses wasn’t viewed as such a bad and scary thing. It would be nice to talk about it to other people. Especially if your illness really affects the way you interacting with them. I’m telling the world about it now via this blog. Hopefully no one I know reads them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I completely agree! Mental illness needs to be viewed just as normally as any other physical illness and the stigma attached to the former needs to be eradicated so that the people who really need treatment can come forward without hesitation or shame.

    Liked by 1 person

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