An In-Depth Look into ADHD During the...

An In-Depth Look into ADHD During the Pandemic

by Rochelle C. Pangilinan
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ADHD or Attention-Deficit or Hyperactivity Disorder is most likely a term you’ve heard before. A number of TV shows and movies have depicted ADHD onscreen, like “Juno” and “Teen Wolf.” ADHD is a chronic neurodevelopmental disorder, which is said to affect 5 per cent to 9 per cent of children and 3 percent to 5 per cent of adults.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on these individuals. But first, what exactly is ADHD?

The symptoms may vary between children and adults, but generally, ADHD causes one to lack focus with tasks, be it a school project or a work deadline. At times, those with ADHD are also prone to unnecessary movements or fidgeting and tend to act on impulse at a particular situation without giving it much thought.

A child who has ADHD may talk too much without giving others a chance or have difficulty taking turns. For example, if a teacher asks the class to take turns in drawing on the board, a kid with ADHD may go ahead even when it’s not their turn.

An adult with ADHD, on the other hand, may have frequent mood changes and tend to feel impatient or frustrated if something doesn’t go their way.

We’ve probably displayed one or two symptoms like the above in our lives, and that doesn’t necessary mean it’s ADHD. In any case, one has to undergo a proper assessment and have a diagnosis of ADHD by a professional, either as a child or as an adult.  Treatment is recommended when the symptoms are severe enough to cause prolonged disruption in one’s daily life.

A multitude of treatment options are available according to the needs of the individual. If a child is diagnosed at an early age, the treatment plan is discussed among the child and family members to determine what the best route for treatment is, and the family is encouraged to work closely with others like healthcare providers, therapists, and coaches.

For adults, a number of treatment options are also offered, and some can turn to cognitive behavioural therapy, where the counselling sessions focus on managing one’s behaviour and changing negative thinking patterns to positive ones.

The onset of the pandemic, however, has made it even more challenging for those who are undergoing treatments.For individuals affected with ADHD, COVID-19 is a huge hurdle because it disrupted routines and schedules they have been accustomed to.

Kids with ADHD who moved onto online classes due to the implementation of restrictions may find it even more difficult to focus and be even more prone to distractions. In addition, this environment may make it more challenging for them to absorb lessons. When they become frustrated, they tend to become restless and argumentative.

COVID has truly made a big impact on people’s lives, even more than what we can actually gauge.

In fact, last year, Athenahealth, a technology company that creates practice management software that caters to health care providers revealed there has been an increase in patients ages 13 to 17 who received new diagnoses of ADHD. In addition, a similar spike among teenagers — particularly boys — has been observed who were prescribed ADHD medicines for the first time.

There are no quick treatment solutions for ADHD during the pandemic, but there are ways on how to manage it so it doesn’t worsen.

Adopting a regular schedule, not just with school or work, but also with activities like eating, sleeping, exercising, watching TV, and listening to music, are a big help. This creates a routine and therefore builds structure in one’s life.

Creating a calm environment can work too. This can be done by practicing breathing techniques and designating rooms for a specific purpose. For example, the living room can be assigned as a place for study, which means that while one is studying, the TV should be turned off.

Lastly, it’s always important to reach out to professionals if one feels overwhelmed with the symptoms or if they feel it’s taking a turn for the worse.

COVID certainly has affected us in a big way, and it’s amplified negative effects for those with ADHD. Still, there’s hope in that we’re nearing the end of the pandemic and there are ways to manage this more appropriately.



American Psychiatric Association. “What is ADHD?” https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/adhd/what-is-adhd

CADDAC. “General Info.” https://caddac.ca/understanding-adhd/in-general/

CDC. “Treatment of ADHD.” https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/treatment.html

CDC. “What is ADHD?” https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/facts.html#:~:text=ADHD%20is%20one%20of%20the,)%2C%20or%20be%20overly%20active

CTV News. “ADHD diagnoses have increased during COVID-19 pandemic: psychologist.” https://edmonton.ctvnews.ca/adhd-diagnoses-have-increased-during-covid-19-pandemic-psychologist-1.5755675

Eske, Jamie. “How to manage ADHD during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/adhd-and-covid-19#when-to-seek-help

Mayo Clinic. “Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).” https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/adult-adhd/symptoms-causes/syc-20350878

Solon, Olivia. “The great attention deficit: More parents seek ADHD diagnosis and drugs for kids to manage remote learning.” NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/great-attention-deficit-more-parents-seek-adhd-diagnosis-drugs-kids-n1257660

Spinks-Franklin, Adiaha. “ADHD & Learning During COVID-19.” Healthychildren.org. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/COVID-19/Pages/ADHD-and-Learning-During-COVID-19.aspx

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