October 2016 will mark the beginning of ADHD Awareness Month. This month long awareness-raising campaign happens every year, with an number of important events taking place all across the UK and even further afield. These events will be taking place online and in local communities with one aim – help end the stigma and confusion that still surrounds ADHD to this day.

Better awareness of this condition will benefit everyone, from teachers to families and all of us in between.

What is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – more commonly known as ADHD – is the name given to a group of psychological symptoms which affect behaviour. There are three main symptoms of ADHD; inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

The majority of cases are identified in children between the ages of six and 12, however, due to an increasing level of awareness among the public and the medical profession, more and more adults are coming forward and being diagnosed with ADHD that went unnoticed in their early years.

ADHD is a completely non-discriminatory disorder which can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender or intelligence. The symptoms do tend to be much worse in childhood and ease up into adulthood; however this is not the case for everyone and many people continue to experience symptoms throughout their adult life.

Signs and Symptoms – What You Should Do

Before officially being diagnosed with ADHD, people must exhibit several of the officially confirmed symptoms and show that they disrupt their daily life in areas such as work, socialising or school. These symptoms must have been present for at least six months.

These symptoms include an inability to pay close attention, listen, follow instructions or organise themselves. ADHD sufferers also have a tendency to be forgetful, easily distracted and regularly lose belongings. ADHD indicators are not just behavioural. Physical signs include constant fidgeting, an inability to remain seated, loudness and extreme restlessness.

If you believe that your child is exhibiting signs of ADHD, or if your child’s teacher has alerted you to this, the first thing you should do is arrange an appointment with their GP. The GP will ask some simple questions, relating to how your child’s everyday life and ability to interact with others is being disrupted by their behaviour. The doctor will then decide what steps to take next, depending on the answers to these questions and further tests. This may include medication or appointing specialist help in school.

ADHD Awareness Month

ADHD Awareness Month takes place every October. In 2016, for the first time ever, this awareness event will be happening all around the world, not just in the UK. Local councils, businesses, religious organisations, charitable organisations and individual people across the globe will be coming together to organise activities and events to help spread information about ADHD, hopefully busting some myths and stigmas along the way.

It’s possible that throughout October, you will see some media outlets reporting on ADHD Awareness Month and you might also see your friends on social media sharing some facts. This is an essential part of getting the information out there and helping parents, teachers and adults who are confused about their own behaviour to understand that they might have ADHD and encourage them to speak to their doctor.

How to Get Involved

If you would like to get involved with ADHD Awareness Month this October, the team behind the event are encouraging as many people as possible to download their official poster and display it on bulletin boards in their community or in the windows of local businesses. You could also let your local library know and ask them to promote ADHD Awareness Month by displaying posters, fliers and making a temporary display tale of books about ADHD.

There are plenty of other ways to share information; the official website of ADHD Awareness Month has a list of resources such as fact sheets, videos and self screening tests that you could share online with your friends and family.