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-diagnosed. This is why Purdue Pharma (Canada )has joined 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.
Over the past several years, 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 classroom, 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 death. When left untreated, ADHD can also lead to difficulties with self-control, memory, emotions, friendships, and relationships with family.
The “cost” of ADHD doesn’t end there. 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-billion. Childhood ADHD reduces adult earnings by 33 per cent and Canada loses an estimated $6-$11 billion annually through loss of workplace productivity. This is not insignificant and underscores the importance of early diagnosis and treatment.
Experts agree that treatment for ADHD should always be multimodal, which starts with education about what ADHD is and how it can be managed. Other forms of treatment may include exercise, psychosocial treatment, classroom accommodations, peer support, ADHD coaching, mindfulness therapy, alternative treatments and/or medication treatment. Medication treatment should never be used in isolation and should only be considered after consultation with your physician and within a multi-tiered approach to ADHD treatment.
Purdue Pharma (Canada) remains committed to finding solutions to help Canadians live with – and treat – their ADHD symptoms.