Students cope with disorder through support group

Students cope with disorder through support group

Two to three percent of college students nationally are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to the TCU Counseling Center's professional counselor Matthew Johnson.

Despite those statistics, Johnson said three to eight students per semester take advantage of the Counseling Center's support group for students with ADHD.

The support group started in fall 2011 to help students with ADHD, and Johnson said it provides students with strategies for managing ADHD.

“We started this group to help students that have ADHD understand exactly what ADHD is," Johnson, who has led the group for three semesters, said. "There are so many myths and misunderstandings about it."

According to the university's Student Disabilities Services, ADHD is one of the most common childhood disorders and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Some of the symptoms include hyperactivity and difficulty staying focused and attentive.

The support program at the university is designed to help members learn more about how ADHD impacts them on a daily basis, Johnson said. 

Kayla Jackson, a sophomore pre-major, said that the support group has connected her with other students who share the same disorder.

“It’s nice to have a support system and people similar to you that you can talk to,” sophomore pre-major Kayla Jackson said. “I think that the group therapy along with medication has helped me improve my ability to focus and my grades.” 

Johnson said the group meets once a week to learn meditation techniques, time management and organizational strategies, as well as awareness of personal strengths and weaknesses. 

He also said the members have a chance to work on making positive changes in their lives. 

ADHD is a neurobiological condition that is 80 percent genetic, Johnson said, and the three different types of ADHD are hyperactive/impulsive, inattentive and combined. He said it could be called an executive functioning disorder because it impacts a person's ability to focus, organize their life, plan ahead and resist impulses. 

According to Student Disabilities Services, there is no cure for ADHD, but treatments can relieve many of the disorder’s symptoms and allow most people to succeed in school and life.

While Johnson said many people with ADHD are intelligent and creative individuals, they may not have been diagnosed until college because they did not have to study in grade school. 

Students seeking services or additional information as well as specific guidelines to determine eligibility can visit Student Disabilities Services in Sadler Hall Room 1010.

The TCU Counseling Center does not administer ADHD testing, but it can direct students to outside facilities.