When Dr. Doron Almagor, Director of the Possibilities Clinic and the Chair of CADDRA (Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance) in Toronto, and Heidi Bernhardt, President of the Centre for ADHD Awareness Canada sat down with journalist Meghan Collie from Global news to discuss Attention Deficit Disorders and mental health, they had an important message. ADD/ADHD needs to be taken seriously. As tireless advocates for adults, children and families affected by ADD and ADHD, they have been voicing this message for a long time. But stigma, misunderstanding and gaps in information prevail.
We all misplace our keys, walk into a room and forget why we’re there, and lose the thread of conversations. But in ADD/ADHD these challenges are extreme—and they happen every day. One adult at the Possibilities Clinic explained his plight this way: “My life is like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.” For anyone born after the 1990s, a quick recap. Groundhog Day, a 1993 comedy, stars Bill Murray as a TV weatherman. During an assignment to cover the Annual Groundhog Day event in small town USA, he becomes caught in a time loop and relives the same day over and over again—with all of its frustrations and challenges. And what he learned yesterday doesn’t translate into smoother sailing today or the day after.
These challenges are comedic when played out by Bill Murray on the big screen, but experiencing difficulties repeatedly as part of your daily existence is not. Unfortunately, adults with ADD or ADHD often think this is just who they are—the scattered professor or the distracted dreamer. As Bernhardt explained to Global, “Adults have gone their entire lives with ADHD, so they figure it’s normal.”
It’s never too late to be tested for ADD/ADHD, but early testing and treatment are key. ADD and ADHD in adults can be life-threatening without treatment. Accidents while driving and in the workplace are much higher when focus is not optimized with treatment. Add to that fact this one: The longer ADHD goes untreated, the more the risk of developing a serious mental health disorder, like anxiety or depression, escalates, along with the possibility of a substance use issue.
Dr. Almagor, who treats adults as well as children and teens, added that parents often begin to question whether they, too, might have ADD or ADHD after their child in grade school or adolescent heading to college has been newly diagnosed. Learning that ADD/ADHD runs in families adds a whole new perspective to past and current struggles.
Both Bernhardt and Almagor stress the importance of getting a thorough and accurate assessment for ADD/ADHD whether the client is a child, adolescent or adult. Attention Deficit Disorders are complex, and the investigation requires time and extensive testing. As Bernhardt explained, “it’s not a 15-minute doctor’s visit.”
For more information about the ADD/ADHD assessments we provide for children, teens, and adults at the Possibilities Clinic please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also read more about ADD/ADHD from Meghan Collie’s article for Global News.