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ADHD & the Black Community

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5 mins read

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects 17 million Americans of all ages, races, and gender. Many think it’s strictly a problem for kids and young adults, but it affects adults too. Ten percent of school children and four percent of adults deal with ADHD. 

If you want to learn about ADHD and how it affects the black community, keep reading. 

How to Recognize ADHD

ADHD can be seen when attention levels are low, and hyperactivity/impulsivity are high. If your child is “acting up” more than a moderate amount in school, this could be a sign of ADHD. If they cannot focus on simple tasks or they show bursts of unprovoked energy and aggression, that could be a sign. As an adult, signs are less obvious but similar. If you’re having trouble focusing on your job without good reason, you may have ADHD. Or if you have trouble staying engaged at home, that could also be a sign as well.

The Consequences of ADHD

ADHD can have serious consequences. It can cause your child to get bad grades, end up in the principal’s office, or after school detention on a regular basis. For adults, ADHD can lead to poor work ethic or performance issues. It can affect relationships and cause depression, substance abuse, and injuries while shortening life expectancy. 

What it Means for the Black Community

Rashida-Perry Jones, a board member of Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), says, “Too often ADHD is unrecognized, misdiagnosed, and mislabeled in the African American community.” 

Ms. Perry-Jones also says, “Typically, it’s teachers who first recognize the symptoms of ADHD in their students. But there’s a double standard in many schools, with African American children’s ADHD symptoms overlooked and instead considered ‘bad behavior,’ resulting in punishment rather than critically needed support. Moreover, ADHD is often considered a negative label in the African American community, preventing some caregivers from seeking diagnosis and treatment for their children.”

What Can be Done About It?

The good thing about this issue is that it’s almost entirely fixable, or it can be significantly diminished. Here’s how:

  • Informed Teachers
  • Support, not Punishment
  • Erase the Stigma
  • Multi-modal Approach
  • Parent & Patient Training
  • Workplace Education & Support
  • Medication/Alternatives

Informing teachers in depth about ADHD and how it affects people differently can lead to understanding and more empathy. Teachers will then come from a place of being supportive of the student dealing with ADHD and not see their actions as disruptive or destructive. 

As Ms. Perry-Jones mentions, the black community has a stigma about ADHD; however, by educating parents, teachers, workers, and bosses alike about ADHD, that can easily change. That’s where the multi-modal approach comes in. When you combine behavioral interventions with parent and patient training while addressing workplace ADHD education and issues, the problem becomes highly manageable. 

Finally, ADHD medication and alternatives such as CBD should be considered. All forms of medicine should be used on a case-by-case basis, as everyone responds to different treatments in different ways. Some may have issues with traditional ADHD medications. Issues such as losing energy or ambition, while others may not. 

As an alternative, CBD may be a solution. Here are some studies that have shown promise:

https://jcannabisresearch.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s42238-019-0012-y

https://www.rmmj.org.il/issues/44/articles/1038

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0924977X17302377?via%3Dihub

Moving Forward With ADHD

Struggling with ADHD can be daunting whether as an adult or a child. But you can do something about it. With education, compassion and action ADHD no longer has to be a stigma. With a multi-modal support system, the right information and choosing the right medicinal help you can learn to live symptom free of ADHD.

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