Mental Health

Michael Phelps Addresses The Stigma Of AD/HD

“Congratulations to Michael Phelps for winning eight Olympic gold medals. I applaud him and his mother for speaking about AD/HD. Mr. Phelps shows that it’s possible to go beyond coping with AD/HD and truly achieve. His candor addresses stigma and, hopefully, will inspire others to seek help,” said AACAP President Robert Hendren, D.O.

“It’s important for people living with AD/HD to pursue interests they enjoy and at which they excel,” explains Marie Paxson, CHADD’s board president. “Phelps’s success demonstrates that being a part of a supportive family, setting goals, engaging in enjoyable activities, and receiving positive feedback are all important in building self-esteem. Phelps is clearly an exceptionally talented athlete and a source of pride for the millions of people affected by AD/HD.”

CHADD And AACAP Applaud Michael Phelps For Addressing Stigma Of AD/HD

26 Aug 2008   
“Congratulations to Michael Phelps for winning eight Olympic gold medals. I applaud him and his mother for speaking about AD/HD. Mr. Phelps shows that it’s possible to go beyond coping with AD/HD and truly achieve. His candor addresses stigma and, hopefully, will inspire others to seek help,” said AACAP President Robert Hendren, D.O.

“It’s important for people living with AD/HD to pursue interests they enjoy and at which they excel,” explains Marie Paxson, CHADD’s board president. “Phelps’s success demonstrates that being a part of a supportive family, setting goals, engaging in enjoyable activities, and receiving positive feedback are all important in building self-esteem. Phelps is clearly an exceptionally talented athlete and a source of pride for the millions of people affected by AD/HD.”

On men’s mental health Dr. Hendren said, “Among men, there is a deep stigma associated with seeking treatment for AD/HD. I hope that Michael Phelps’s openness conveys to young men that it’s okay to seek treatment, that it is part of a wise game plan.”

On the role of family support, Dr. Hendren said, “It’s obvious to everyone who watched the Olympic games that Mr. Phelps has an engaged, supportive, and enthusiastic family who helped him find his right fit with swimming.”

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) is a neurobehavioral condition characterized by excessive restlessness, inattention, distraction, and impulsivity. Left untreated, individuals with AD/HD have a higher potential of school failure and dropout, behavior and discipline problems, social difficulties and family strife, accidental injury, alcohol and drug abuse, depression, employment problems, driving accidents, unplanned pregnancy, and delinquency, criminality, and arrest. Additionally, individuals with AD/HD are more likely to be criticized by others who do not recognize AD/HD as a health challenge. (From http://www.ParentsMedGuide.org.)

There are different types of AD/HD. The most commonly identified group consists of individuals challenged by both attention and hyperactivity, or the combined type. (From AACAP’s Facts for Families)

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, (NIMH) AD/HD affects between 3 to 5% of school aged children. Additionally, children with AD/HD have a higher likelihood of having parents with AD/HD. Between 30 and 70 percent of children with AD/HD will continue to show AD/HD symptoms into adulthood.

If parents suspect that their child has AD/HD, they should seek a comprehensive diagnosis by a professional. Treatment can include psychosocial interventions, medication, or a combination of these approaches. Psychosocial interventions include cognitive-behavioral therapy, social skills training, parent education, and modifications to a child’s environment and education program.

Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), is a national non-profit, organization providing education, advocacy and support for individuals with AD/HD.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) is a medical association representing more than 8,000 child and adolescent psychiatrists, physicians who promote mentally healthy children, adolescents, and families.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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