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