ADHD & PROCRASTINATION
When you look at the meaning of the word procrastination which is; ‘delaying or postponing an action’ we can see that procrastination is a common human behaviour which we utilise as a strategy to either cope or manage life; although sometime not in a productive manner.
So, why do we talk about procrastination as an issue for ADHD individuals? Well, when we look at other synonyms of the word such as; hesitation or vacillation it is then we can really see the connection between ADHD and this word.
The neuro-typical individual procrastinates sometimes in order to open space for other more important tasks and usually goes back to the task later and completes it. In the case of the ADHD person however, procrastination is an automatic brain reaction caused by the individual feeling overwhelmed and unable to comprehend what is causing him/her to feel this way.
When the ADHD person is feeling stressed out, his/her ability to regulate or filter information in the frontal part of the brain does not happen. This inability to regulate thoughts and emotions causes confusion and anxiety which hinders even further the ability to comprehend what and why the person is feeling so incapable or managing the situation.
This is very different to the neuro-typical individual who procrastinates understand what he is trying to avoid and the reason why he is doing it. The person also understands that he is doing this for a period of time and that eventually he will complete the task in the future. For the ADHD person, on the other hand, its a different story and the individual does not know the what and the why; procrastination becomes an unavoidable function of the brain.
With time, due to the lack of understanding about this automatic brain function, the ADHD person starts to interpret the behaviour as lack of control over his life which would end up deteriorating his self esteem and self confidence. As a result of this perceived lack of control the ADHD individual will start experiencing anxiety and depression surfacing from a sense of helplessness and hopelessness.
So the next time you feel like calling an ADHD person ‘lazy’ because of his avoiding or procrastinating behaviour, stop and think about this information and how they must be feeling. The more we tell an ADHD individual that they are lazy or that they are avoidant or a failure, the more we are reinforcing their sense of hopelessness and helplessness. Which in retrospection will further damage their self esteem.
If you would like to assist your ADHD relative or friends when you see them stressed out and procrastinating about something, what you can do is sit down and teach them basic steps on how to complete the task that they seem so overwhelmed by. If you take the time to write down steps and encouraged them to do each step one by one and at the end praise them for their achievement, you will have a lot more success in helping them.
Remember their brain does not work like your brain and what may seem logical and basic for you, may seem like a huge mountain for the ADHD individual. With ADHD children we must have the right strategies to assist them with basic tasks and more complex tasks in order to help them developing their appropriate neuro-pathways in their brains which will ensure their success in managing ADHD now and in the future.
For further information or appointment bookings, please contact Inner-Worth Psychology, Gold Coast's Leading ADHD Specialist on ph: (07) 5526 3816.
We offer specialised Assessment & Treatment of ADHD by Lucy Prieto our Psychologist that not only has many years experience in successful treatment but has many years of study and qualifications in ADHD.
written by Lucy Cabezon-Prieto
This is a big statement, isn’t it. When we hear it our minds usually goes to many places and we start asking our selves many questions such as: Are we? and if we are how come there have been many events in my life that I have nothing to do with, and which I wished never had experienced? Many times in our lives we feel as ‘we are only managing circumstances’ or ‘just surviving’.
Particularly when we face a number of ordeals which we had not planned for, or ever desired. Other times we have learned how to manage circumstances that arise in our lives on a regular basis and they become a ‘normal’ or a known part of our lives (a habit). As humans we have the ability to adapt and develop survival strategies that ensure the continuation of our existence. We are all capable of developing the most amazing survival strategies and when we hear stories about individuals surviving through war, abuse, illnesses, poverty, natural disaster or isolation among other things; we develop admiration for those people. We go to the extent of putting those individuals on pedestals and call them heroes.
What we need to understand is that we are all survivors; from the moment of conception you have been surviving. Battling among all the other possible eggs and spermatozoids to pair up to create life, you survived and won the race. Then battling to survive the ﬁrst three months of gestation as 50% of pregnancies are lost during that time, you have also won. Then surviving through the ﬁrst few months and years of your life, as babies are extremely vulnerable to contracting any diseases and dying during that time, you have won. Then surviving by adjusting to learn to walk, talk, and connect with other humans who will support you to survive, you have won. You see!!! you have always been a survivor.
This is not different in humans we all develop the survival mechanism as the ﬁrst and the most important part of the brain. Nature has ensured that we are not extinct from the facet of the earth by providing us with the Limbic System in the brain from the moment of conception. The problem is that if we only live our lives by using our Limbic System in our brain we will face a life of only managing circumstances in order to ensure our survival and we will never be the creators of our lives. The main task of your Limbic System is to ensure that your basic needs are met. All the efforts and energy used by this part of your brain will be only utilized in getting those needs met. Being the creator of you life means being able to understand and manage your Limbic System and see beyond survival. We all see and do survival but not everyone can be the creator of their lives.
Only by developing self awareness and understanding about yourself you can take control of your life. You can create what you desire in your life, and not just be waiting for things to happen so you can manage them the best you can. This could lead you to an existence without meaning and purpose. Self growth is the only way to move beyond just getting your basic needs met and start discovering who you really are and your full potentials. As you discover your full potentials you will be able to use them in whatever way you believe it would provide you with meaning and purpose. It is only then that you can say I am the creator of my life and because of that I am fulﬁlled and contented to life.
Created by Lucy Cabezon-Prieto, 25/09/2016