ADHD & Emotional Intelligence

Instructor: Elizabeth Nyang

Elizabeth teaches counseling classes at the university level, has a private mental health practice and a doctorate degree in counseling psychology.

Many people know the more common symptoms of ADHD, like having trouble paying attention or being impulsive. This lesson will examine emotional intelligence, which can also be a problem for those with ADHD.

ADHD and Emotional Intelligence

Henry is a 9 year old student in the 4th grade that enjoys being in school. He was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 5 years old and has to take medication to manage his symptoms. Without the medication he gets easily distracted, can't complete his school work and has trouble sitting still for long. He also has a history of angry outbursts, including hitting other students. Henry sees a therapist regularly to help him learn better ways to handle his emotions.

What is ADHD?

Children and adults with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) often do things without thinking, are hyperactive and have problems sitting still. It is very difficult for them to pay attention in school or at work because their minds move quickly from one thing to another. Children can find conversations and homework difficult because they are easily distracted. Adults may have trouble completing assigned projects and tasks at work

Some people with ADHD also experience time blindness, the inabiity to keep track of time. They can become hyperfocused on a fun activity or single task, like playing video games for hours. They forget about time completely, and anything else they might have to do.

Children with ADHD often feel frustrated with school
Boy with ADHD

What is Emotional Intelligence?

When Henry arrived home after school last week, his brother was using his IPad without his permission. Henry became very angry and hit his brother. He wasn't able to understand his emotions and deal with his anger in a better way. He felt ashamed later when he thought about it. Henry's ADHD makes it so he has a hard time controlling his anger.

Many people with ADHD can also have difficulty identifying and regulating their emotions. If you have a problem identifying you emotions, you will not be able to recognize and identify the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand your own feelings and the feelings of others. Emotional intelligence also involves the ability to identify why you are feeling a certain way and the impact your emotions have on others.

It is difficult for children and adolescents to recognize their emotions

Treatment for ADHD and Issues with Emotional Intelligence

Psychiatrists and physicians prescribe medication to help their patients manage their ADHD symptoms. Most young people and adults diagnosed with ADHD also see a therapist or work with an ADHD Coach. The therapist helps them work through emotional issues related to their ADHD. The ADHD Coach primarily works with adolescents and adults to help them develop skills and strategies to use to stay organized. Some people work with a therapist and a coach.

Medication is the primary treatment for ADHD

Henry meets with his therapist Tiffany one time a week to work on his issues with ADHD and emotional intelligence. The sessions often focus on identifying emotions and improving his emotional intelligence.

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