October is ADHD Awareness Month. According to the Centre for ADHD Awareness, Canada, more than one million adults and children in Canada live with ADHD. While it is the most prevalent and treatable childhood psychiatric disorder in Canada, ADHD remains under-recognized and under-diagnosed1. This is why Elvium Life Sciences joins advocacy groups, healthcare professionals, support workers, as well as families and individuals affected by ADHD, who are using their collective voices to bring understanding, awareness and earlier treatment for this condition.
ADHD has become a common term used in most Canadian households as a way to describe a disorder of undisciplined overactive children. Characterizing ADHD in this way has done a disservice to the many children and adults who live with this medical neurobiological disorder, which is complex, multifaceted, often life-long and affects people of all ages and genders. Children with ADHD are frequently labeled as ‘problem children’ rather than ‘children with a medical problem’. Considering there are between one and three children with ADHD in every Canadian classroom2, this is a real issue that needs our attention.
ADHD is often hereditary and results in difficulty regulating attention, impulsiveness and/or hyperactivity. Children, adolescents and adults with untreated ADHD are at a greater risk for learning difficulties, mental health and self-esteem disorders, substance abuse, more accidents and injuries and earlier death3. When left untreated, ADHD can also lead to difficulties with self-control, memory, emotions, friendships, and relationships with family4.
In addition to the toil ADHD can take on an individual, their family and the community, there is are broader “costs” associated with ADHD. The Centre for ADHD Awareness, Canada has outlined the significant socioeconomic costs of ADHD in Canada. Most notably, it is estimated that the “cost of illness” associated with ADHD across all ages in Canada is more than $7-billion5. Childhood ADHD reduces adult earnings by 33 per cent and Canada loses an estimated $6-$11 billion annually through loss of workplace productivity6. This is not insignificant and underscores the importance of early diagnosis and treatment.
Research studies and clinical experience show that a multimodal approach (incorporating psychosocial interventions together with medication) improves not just core ADHD symptoms but the overall quality of life by improving the resultant functioning impairments. The overall purpose of psychoeducation is to educate and empower patients and their families by providing information on ADHD (e.g., impact on daily functioning, treatment options, strategies for optimizing functioning). Medications are an important aspect of treatment and assist the facilitation of changes in these areas by improving focus, self-regulation and decreasing impulsivity/hyperactivity and thus allowing the individual to use psychosocial strategies more effectively. [CADDRA Guidelines 4th Edition]
Elvium Life Sciences remains committed to finding solutions to help Canadians live with – and treat – their ADHD symptoms.