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Understanding ADHD

A Clinical Perspective for Trauma-Informed Counseling


What is ADHD?

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by persistent patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that can significantly impact an individual's daily functioning. Recognizing the interplay between ADHD and trauma is essential in providing effective counselling for clients who may be navigating both challenges. ​

A Clinical Overview


Diagnostic Criteria

based on specific criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).



1. Predominantly Inattentive Presentation
2. Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation
3. Combined Presentation

Image by Photoholgic


associated with neurobiological differences, including alterations in the prefrontal cortex, basal ganglia, and neurotransmitter systems.

ADHD and Trauma: A New Perspective

  1. Potential Links:

    • Research suggests that individuals with ADHD may be at an increased risk of experiencing traumatic events. ADHD-related impulsivity and difficulty regulating attention can contribute to risky behaviours, potentially leading to accidents or dangerous situations.

  2. Complex Interplay:

    • It's crucial to recognize that the relationship between ADHD and trauma is complex. While ADHD traits may increase vulnerability to trauma, experiencing trauma can also exacerbate existing ADHD symptoms.

  3. Common Symptoms Overlap:

    • Some symptoms of ADHD, such as hypervigilance, emotional dysregulation, and difficulty with concentration, may resemble trauma-related symptoms. This overlap underscores the importance of a thorough assessment to differentiate between ADHD and trauma-related responses.


Treatment for ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) typically involves a multi-modal approach that may include a combination of behavioral interventions, psychoeducation, and, in some cases, medication. It's important to note that treatment plans should be tailored to the client's specific needs and preferences.

  • Psychoeducation

  • Behavioral Therapy

  • Executive Functioning Skills Training

Environmental Modifications

  • Structured Routines

  • Clear Instructions and Expectations

  • Minimizing Distractions


- Stimulant Medications

- Non-Stimulant Medications

* Please check in with your GP

Understanding the intersection of ADHD and trauma provides a nuanced framework for effective counselling. By adopting trauma-informed approaches, counsellors can offer valuable support to clients navigating these complex challenges, fostering healing and growth.

If you or someone you know is struggling with ADHD or trauma, seeking professional help from a trained counsellor or therapist is recommended. They can provide tailored strategies and interventions to address specific needs.

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