Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition that affects an estimated 3% -10% of the population. The disorder is primarily identified by various symptoms, including difficulties with attention, executive functions and impulsivity.
For students, who need to be particularly focused during classes and exams, this disorder can be particularly challenging. However, it can be managed and even overcome.
What is ADHD?
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that manifests with various symptoms and emotional fluctuations. Diagnosis is typically performed by a specialized physician or a qualified psychologist.
If the diagnosis is conducted by a psychologist, they should refer the individual to a doctor for ruling out any accompanying medical conditions and for recommending medication if necessary. The diagnostic process involves in-depth interviews with the individual and their family members and is supported via questionnaires.
ADHD is more prevalent in males than females, and the gender gap is most pronounced during childhood. Males also tend to exhibit a higher combination of symptoms, with a higher rate of hyperactivity and impulsivity.
Typically, the disorder appears during childhood over later stages of life, although there are cases where it manifests partially at a young age, with difficulties increasing in adulthood.
Many students who suffer from ADHD were diagnosed in childhood, but there are those who are diagnosed for the first time while attending university. The pressure during this period may serve as a catalyst for the onset of symptoms, leading to a diagnosis.
The pressure for studying and during exams can also exacerbate symptoms in diagnosed students, primarily due to the emotional difficulties associated with the disorder, which intensify during busy and stressful times.
Tools that can help
Several tools can be used during the exam period to significantly improve the studying experience and success in exams.
Efficient time management: Properly allocating time between studying and other routine tasks you perform will help you realize what’s most important to get done and help avoid procrastination.
Refining learning strategies: Understanding the most effective studying strategies for you – both during preparation for and during the exam itself – will benefit you greatly. People with attention disorders tend to pay less attention to small details, so it is important for them to practice learning methods that are effective for them.
A deep understanding of the questions you’re facing and optimal time planning during exams will allow you to achieve higher results.
Behavioral therapy: Many students with ADHD arrive at university after receiving medical treatment, without receiving support for the disorder’s emotional aspects. Nowadays, there are many effective treatments, such as CBT and mindfulness, that expand one’s toolkit for coping and help reach balance.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle: Sleep, proper nutrition and physical exercise are very important for concentration. Despite the busy schedule, especially during exams, it’s recommended to plan ahead and routinely have regular meals, including snacks, and enough exercise between exams.
Study centers: A student diagnosed with ADHD can turn to their university’s study centers and request adjustments recommended to him according to the diagnosis, and receive assistance in implementing learning strategies.
Receiving medical treatment: There’s a wide range of medication treatments that have been found effective in improving the functioning and quality of life of individuals with ADHD. The different treatments have varying effect durations, allowing the treatment to be fitted to the individual's daily schedule and needs.
In most cases, the effect of the medication begins between half an hour to an hour after taking it. Most medications are based on enhancing neurotransmitters (nerve conductors in the brain) and effectively reduce symptoms.
Medical treatment for attention disorders should only be provided by a professional in order to adjust the treatment while taking into account possible side effects, the patient's medical condition and their lifestyle.