Are You Suffering in Silence?

이다혜, 이훈기l승인2016.10.02l수정2016.10.08 19:50l349호 3면

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▲ A slogan which contains meanings with ADHD

 Do you lose your temper easily and have a tendency to forget things frequently? Have people been saying you are too sensitive? If so, you may be suffering from ADHD. Provided below is an ADHD self-test for adults. Check each of the following statements that apply to you.

 1. I struggle to get stuff done in an organized manner.
 2. I need time to prepare myself before tackling any new work.
 3. I start working on a lot of projects, but can't seem to complete most of them.
 4. I tend to say what I think impulsively without considering whether or not it is an appropriate situation.
 5. I am very careless without considering any of the dangers I might be in, and as a result of that I often worry too much and unnecessarily.

▲ A person's head which is suffered from a disease, adult-ADHD

 Recently, the number of adult ADHD patients has been increasing rapidly. Over the last decade, the number of patients diagnosed with ADHD has increased 11.5 times. It is assumed that about 3% of Korean adults show ADHD symptoms. ADHD typically develops in adolescence, but 70% of people suffer from it in adulthood, unless they were treated for it during the first stages of adolescence.

 While hyperactivity is common among children with ADHD, it is not a common symptom in adult sufferers. Symptoms such as not fitting in socially and acting on impulse are common symptoms of adult sufferers and if left untreated, they could manifest into other forms of mental illness, such as depressions. Moreover, adult patients who have difficulty controlling their impulsive behavior and focusing on an assigned task for an extended period of time are prone to making mistakes at work. The tragedy is that people do not see these symptoms as a disease, but rather consider them as a normal part of their character.

 According to a Samsung Seoul Hospital study, adult-ADHD patients are twice as likely to abuse alcohol, 2.8 times more likely to smoke, and 4 times more likely to suffer from depression than other people. What’s worse, if the symptoms are left untreated, there is a greater chance that patients will see themselves as marginalized members of society sending them down a dangerous and potentially self-destructive path. As a result of increased concerns on the topic, on September 1, the government expanded their health insurance coverage for treatment of ADHD from small children and adolescents to adults under 65 years old.

 

▲ A guy who is suffering from depression caused by ADHD

 The cause of adult onset ADHD is not yet known, but investigations are looking into genetic links and stress management. Cures for the disease also remain a mystery, but this is to be expected given that the history of ADHD-related studies is short.

 What this means is that it is even more important than ever to take care of your body. Knowing how to relieve stress is the most important factor. The Dankook Herald (DKH) looked into the best methods for stress relief and has highlighted a few for your interest.

▲ A coloring book which is a kind of art therapy

 First, there’s art therapy. Art therapy is designed to help you relieve stress through the production of art. Second, there’s music therapy.  The aim of music therapy is to help patients relax by listening to music or playing an instrument. To find out a bit more about art therapy the DKH interviewed an expert in the field, Professor Kim Seon-myeong. She is conducting clinical art therapy treatment research on students, Alzheimer sufferers, disabled children, juvenile delinquents and people with depression. Also, by teaching art and the treatment of mental illness to students at Dankook University, she is spreading a greater group consciousness of this form of treatment. Her lectures focus above all on finding oneself and helping people achieve self-improvement.

 Before the interview, she explained to us the difference between art and art therapy. Art therapy may seem similar to an art class, but the aim is different. Art therapy focuses on one’s internal experiences. It incorporates elements of art creation techniques, but it has as its aim; the expression of one’s image coming from the inside. Art therapy seeks to diagnose and resolve internal conflicts by displaying emotions in your art, thus relieving your psychological symptoms.

 During the interview the DKH asked her about the effects of art therapy on her patients. She replied, “The aim of the art therapy is for patients to relax their suppressed body and mind through creative activities, to come to terms with their situation in life, and to give expression to emotions and desires they have been suppressing, in order to make them attain self-awareness. Through this process, it is possible to restore their self-confidence, reduce feelings of depression and maintain a balanced life.”

 She added that with art therapy, patients who are suffering from mental illnesses that make them feel are isolated from society, with depleted emotional capacities, get a chance to build their ability to express themselves by promoting psychological insight. It also supports the belief that people can change the way we interact with others, and by reducing negative behavior, we can see the quality of their lives improved.

 Regarding the dangers of ADHD developing in adults, she said “The period of one’s youth is the key. Especially during their college years, people can experience internal change, on the basis of which they get to understand themselves, learn to accept themselves for who they are and go through a process of opening up and subsequent self-development. This is why it is such an important time to become a mature human being through amicable interpersonal relations. For that reason, the risk factors for adult onset ADHD can be high. Finding a hobby which fits oneself is important. When people immerse themselves in individual activities, they feel a sense of achievement and passion for their work.” She emphasized further that, “This can contribute to the healing process, which is why it is highly advisable for people to go out and find an engaging hobby for themselves.”

 She added, “Our country has gone through the stages of industrialization and urbanization with tremendous speed, giving rise to a number of social problems, like the collapse of the community spirit, as a result of fierce competition. When you watch the news, there are reports of depression, suicides, murders, and incidents that are frankly hard to imagine, with traces of severe mental illness which is continuously present. All this means is that in today’s society, the alarm bells for people’s mental health are ringing. The biggest cause of people committing suicide when severely depressed is that they shut the door to themselves, because of this stress. It is so important that people do not lock themselves up inside their little cave, but instead seek the advice of a professional consultant to receive treatment. Unfortunately, people do not think to do this and I think it is very regrettable that there are so many cases where this is neglected and end in unfortunate incidents.”

  In modern life, it is very common to be faced with unanticipated events and problems when you least expect them, that lead people to suffer from stress not only at work, but also in everyday life. Circumstances such as these, are increasingly leading to the onset of ADHD symptoms in adults. It could be that we don’t look for ways to reduce the stress in our lives, or find ourselves a hobby in order to overcome these symptoms. At the first sign of stress, instead of ignoring the symptoms, why don’t we instead, look at ways to address it, preventing it from festering into a more serious problem, further down the line?
 


이다혜, 이훈기  dankookherald@gmail.com
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