Understanding the true meaning behind the ADHD diagnosis can often be unclear, but Lavendla is here to provide the answers.

What is ADHD?

It is a disability and diagnosis that affects many aspects of life, leading to difficulties in areas such as study, work and relationships. The most common characteristics of ADHD are difficulty concentrating, impulsivity and hyperactivity. The cause of the diagnosis is not entirely clear, but some factors have been identified as having an impact.

One factor is heredity; often, people have a parent with similar problems, but this is not necessarily the case. It has also been observed that many people with ADHD have poorer working memory, which can make it more difficult to organize things. You can miss details and forget things. There are also emotional problems, restlessness, and impulsiveness.

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There may also be biological causes, such as the effects of dopamine and noradrenaline, and medication can sometimes help. It is important to note that ADHD is not related to intelligence. If you have a higher level of intelligence, you may have found strategies that make life easier, but you may still have ADHD.

ADHD comes in different degrees of severity: mild, moderate and severe, depending on how many problems you experience in everyday life in other areas. There are also three types of ADHD: one with only inattention problems (previously called ADD), a combined one where you have both inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity problems and a third where you only have hyperactivity/impulsivity problems. If you or someone you know experiences any of these problems, it could be ADHD.

ADHD, depression and anxiety

ADHD often occurs together with other conditions, such as anxiety and depression. Depression can also cause difficulties with concentration, so a thorough assessment is essential. Anxiety issues are also common in ADHD, as the stress of having difficulty with organization and planning can cause symptoms. Our psychologists can help you with both assessment and treatment for other symptoms.


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Sleep problems as a symptom

Sleep problems are another indicator to be aware of. This is particularly relevant if you have children who you suspect are suffering from ADHD. It is not uncommon in neuropsychiatric disorders and can affect both school and social life. For adults, sleep problems can worsen work performance and can lead to additional stress and anxiety. Routines are essential here, but treatment for sleep problems is also available.

ADHD children

For children, the symptoms of ADHD can, in some cases, be obvious, while others can go almost unnoticed, often because there are different levels of severity of ADHD. Many children show an intensity of contact and may have difficulty organizing things and keeping things in order. They may forget things and need many reminders. Relationships can also be problematic, and bullying is not uncommon. Others may find you annoying because of your hyperactivity and impulsiveness. Many people experience problems with self-confidence and self-image, as the difficulties can often also appear in school work.

ADHD adults

For many people, ADHD can become more apparent as they get older, and both demands and responsibilities increase. Especially those with milder symptoms may have done quite well in life and lived with undetected or undiagnosed symptoms for a long time. If you have had supportive parents, they may have compensated for the symptoms, which may become apparent when you leave home. Or they may have found strategies and solutions to their problems that have worked to some extent. Despite this, it may have been a significant effort to cope with school and in adulthood, they may have stress-related problems at work. Exhaustion is not uncommon in adults with ADHD.


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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for ADHD

CBT is an evidence-based approach that can be adapted specifically for ADHD and is effective in managing symptoms such as inattention, planning and organization. In the treatment, you will receive the following:

  • Identification of problem situations: Understand what triggers your unwanted behaviour or thoughts and get help to change it.
  • Tools for coping: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) provides concrete tools for managing ADHD with organization, planning and stress management.
  • Evaluation and follow-up: Regular sessions with a psychologist and doctor will help you evaluate your progress.

CBT can also treat related conditions such as stress, depression, anxiety and sleep problems. You can also get help with your self-esteem and confidence, which are often affected by ADHD.

Risk of addiction

As people with ADHD often struggle with impulsivity, the risk of addiction is higher. This can range from alcohol and drugs to unhealthy habits such as overconsumption. If you experience any form of addiction, it is essential to seek professional help immediately.

A way forward

If any of this sounds familiar, it may be time to talk to a professional. With us, you will find licensed psychologists and therapists who have extensive experience with ADHD and related conditions. Taking the step to seek help can be difficult, but at Lavendla, we always work to make it easier.


12 FAQs about ADHD

What is ADHD?

ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and is a neuropsychiatric diagnosis. It is characterized by difficulty concentrating, impulsivity and hyperactivity.

Are ADHD and hyperactivity the same thing?

No, ADHD and hyperactivity are not precisely the same. While hyperactivity is one of the symptoms that can occur, you can be diagnosed without being hyperactive.

How is ADHD diagnosed?

The diagnosis is usually made through an evaluation by a psychologist and doctor specialising in psychiatry. This evaluation may include interviews, behavioural observations and sometimes neuropsychological tests.

What are the treatment options for ADHD?

Treatment can include medication and psychotherapeutic methods such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). An individualized treatment plan is essential.

Can adults have ADHD?

Yes, ADHD can be present at any age. Many adults live with undetected or undiagnosed symptoms. If you suspect that you have ADHD, it is essential to seek professional help. Many times, the symptoms become more apparent in adulthood as demands increase.

How does ADHD affect everyday life?

ADHD can make it difficult to focus on work or school and can also affect relationships. However, you can make the complex easier and live a full life with the proper support and tools.

How long does an ADHD assessment take?

An ADHD assessment takes about 10-12 hours and is completed over 4-6 weeks. There are ADHD assessments for adults and ADHD assessments for children.

Where can I get help with an assessment?

We offer assessments digitally via video call.

What should I do if I think my child has ADHD?

If you think your child may have a neuropsychiatric diagnosis, you can have a neuropsychiatric examination for children carried out by a qualified professional. Or start by talking to the staff at your child’s school to get a better understanding.

Can ADHD be cured?

No, it is not possible to cure ADHD, but it is possible to get help and support to make everyday life work better.

I have been through a trauma. Can I have ADHD?

It is possible to have ADHD and have experienced trauma, but you must get a proper assessment and treatment for your trauma symptoms as well.

Is there a difference in experiencing ADHD as a woman compared to a man?

ADHD is often underdiagnosed in girls and women. There are also factors such as hormones that can affect behaviour, and it has been seen that self-esteem can be significantly affected in women.

How to treat ADHD

If you struggle with symptoms of ADHD, you know that it can affect all aspects of life, from work to relationships. But it’s important to remember that help is available. Here, we go through the steps involved in treating ADHD.

Step 1: Diagnosis

First and foremost, it is essential to get an accurate diagnosis. An evaluation is usually done by a psychiatrist and a psychologist who work together on the assessment.

Step 2: Drug treatment

Drug treatment may include stimulant drugs such as Ritalin or non-stimulant drugs such as Strattera. Because each individual is unique, finding the correct dose and type of medication can take time, and medication does not work for everyone.

Step 3: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy adapted for ADHD

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based approach that can help you manage your symptoms and improve your daily life. This may include help with planning, organization and mindfulness.

Step 4: Lifestyle changes

  • Regular exercise
  • Sleep hygiene
  • Structured diet

Lifestyle changes can significantly affect how you feel and your symptoms.

Step 5: Support systems

A sound support system can do wonders for your mental health. Family, friends and support groups can give you the extra push you need.

Step 6: Follow-up and adjustment

After starting treatment, it is essential to have regular follow-ups with your healthcare provider to see if adjustments need to be made.

Lavendla – Making the difficult easier

Written by samantha

Sr. Samantha Pieterse is a registered psychiatric nurse who is deeply committed to mental health and well-being. Samantha brings a unique and valuable perspective to her role as an editor for Lavendla South Africa. She has worked in Government and Private mental healthcare institutions in Gauteng and her expertise ensures that the articles on our website are accurate and accessible. Samantha is dedicated to enhancing mental health awareness and education in South Africa.