ADHD Defined, Diagnosis, Therapy, ADHD in Adults & Medication Treatment
What is ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health disorder that causes above-normal levels of hyperactive and impulsive behaviors. It is a diagnosis the American Psychiatric Association (APA)  recognizes. ADHD can be managed with the proper treatment. Therefore, to find the best options for mental health treatment, it is recommended that we work closely with healthcare providers, therapists, coaches, and other family members.
There is a wide range of behaviors associated with ADHD. Some of the common ones include:
- Having trouble focusing or concentrating on tasks
- Being forgetful about completing tasks
- Being easily distracted
- Having difficulty sitting still
- Interrupting people while they are talking
It is extremely important to have the right diagnosis of ADHD to get proper ADHD treatment. There is no single medical, physical, or genetic test for ADHD, but a diagnostic evaluation can be provided by a qualified mental health care professional or physician who gathers information from multiple sources. These sources include standardized behavior rating scales, ADHD symptom checklists, information obtained from family members or significant others who know the person well, and detailed history of past and current functioning.
Professional practitioners will also conduct tests of cognitive ability and academic achievement to rule out a possible learning disability. ADHD cannot be diagnosed precisely just from short office observations or simply by talking to the person. The person may not always show the symptoms of ADHD during the office visit, and the diagnostician needs to take a thorough history of the individual’s life.
An ADHD diagnostic evaluation should be conducted by a licensed mental health professional or a physician. These professionals include physicians (psychiatrist, neurologist, family doctor, or another type of physician), clinical psychologists, or clinical social workers. Many times, the professional’s level of knowledge and expertise about ADHD is more important for obtaining an accurate diagnosis and effective ADHD treatment plan than the type of professional degree.
Types of ADHD
ADHD is divided into three main types:
- Inattentive type
- Hyperactive-impulsive type
- Combination type
Each type of ADHD is tied to one or more characteristics. ADHD is characterized by inattention and hyperactive-impulsive behavior.
These behaviors often present in the following ways:
- Inattention: Getting distracted, having poor concentration and organizational skills
- Hyperactivity: Never seeming to slow down, talking and fidgeting, difficulties staying on task
- Impulsivity: Interrupting, taking risks
Everyone is different, so it’s common for two people to experience the same symptoms in different ways. For example, these behaviors are often different in boys and girls. Boys may be seen as more hyperactive, and girls may be quietly inattentive.
The symptoms you experience will determine which type of ADHD you have.
Therapy for ADHD
The symptoms of adult ADHD itself do not respond well to psychotherapeutic interventions alone. However, supportive psychotherapy (which enhances the patient’s pre-existing coping skills) and cognitive behavior therapy (which is a learning experience in which the therapist plays an active role in helping patients to recognize, identify, and modify cognitive biases that cause distress and impede constructive problem solving) may be useful in adults with ADHD and help these individuals with organization and planning, coping with distractibility, and cognitive restructuring.
The latter involves learning skills to maximize adaptive thinking during stress and also to apply adaptive thinking skills to difficulties associated with ADHD if there are concomitant personal issues, such as a sense of failure, low self-esteem, frequent job changes, or other disturbances in sense of identity or relationships with others that relate to the person’s efforts to deal with ADHD symptoms.
Behavioral therapy may help individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) manage and change the behaviors that are causing them difficulties and stress.
ADHD symptoms can lead to a variety of behaviors that may make everyday tasks feel challenging or even impossible. Behavioral therapy can help people with ADHD develop new, more positive behaviors and help them manage their symptoms more effectively. Behavioral therapy may work alongside medication and is often a part of an ADHD treatment plan.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This approach emphasizes the thoughts and patterns of behavior creating difficulties for you in the present, rather than any experiences you had in the past.
If you live with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you might have more than a little experience with unwanted beliefs and thought patterns that:
- affect concentration or ability to focus
- derail motivation and productivity
- get in the way of things you want to do
CBT treatment can teach specific strategies to address those unhelpful thoughts and beliefs and promote positive changes in behavior.
ADHD Treatment Medication
Medications are available to help reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity and improve the ability to focus, work, and learn, as well as physical coordination.
There are two types of ADHD medications: stimulants and non-stimulants.
Stimulants are the most commonly prescribed ADHD medications. They work fast by increasing the production of chemicals in the brain that helps with thinking and attention.
Though stimulants do come with side effects, such as:
- Anxiety or irritability
- Decreased appetite
- Increased blood pressure
- Sleep issues
Some non-stimulant medications are also available for treating ADHD. These can also be used to help improve focus, attention, and impulsivity. But they don’t work as quickly as stimulants.
Non stimulants are a good option for those who aren’t seeing improvements or are experiencing negative side effects with stimulants.
Adults with ADHD often benefit from the same treatments as older children.
It’s important to work closely with your doctor to determine the best treatment or combination of treatments and the right dosage to help your ADHD.
ADHD Treatment in Adult
Treatments for adults may include medication, psychotherapy, education or training, or a combination of treatments. ADHD may be associated with depression, mood or conduct disorders, and substance abuse in early adulthood. Also, ADHD lasts into adulthood for at least one-third of children.
Adults with ADHD often have difficulties at work and in their personal lives because of the ADHD symptoms. Many have inconsistent performance at work. And have difficulties with daily responsibilities. Also, experiencing relationship problems. Which extend to chronic feelings of guilt, blame, or frustration. Individuals that have ADHD may also have hard times with maintaining attention and may often forget important things. It affects academic and career success.
Participation of Loved Ones or Family
It is essential for the professional clinician to interview one or more independent sources, usually a significant other (spouse, family member, parent, or partner) who knows the person well. This step is not to question the person’s honesty, but rather to gather additional information. Many adults with ADHD have a poor memory of their past, particularly from their childhood. They may recall specific details but forget diagnoses they were given or problems that they have encountered. Thus, the clinician may request that the individual being evaluated have his or her parents fill out an ADHD profile describing childhood behavior.
Many adults with ADHD may not be aware of how ADHD-related behaviors cause problems for them and have an impact on others. In the case of married or cohabitating couples, it is to the couple’s advantage for the clinician to interview them at the same time when reviewing the ADHD symptoms. This step helps the non-ADHD spouse or partner develop a precise understanding and an empathetic attitude concerning the impact of ADHD symptoms on the relationship.
Many adults with ADHD may feel frustrated and deeply embarrassed by the ongoing problems caused by the disorder. It is particularly important that the person being evaluated discuss these problems openly and honestly and not hold back information due to feelings of shame or fear of criticism. The quality of the evaluation and the accuracy of the diagnosis and treatment recommendations will be majorly determined by the accuracy of the information provided to the examiner. In conclusion, the success of ADHD treatment will start effectively with the family or loved one’s participation.
Treatment for Adults
ADHD Treatment is not limited to medication. Some people may experience dramatic improvement while others experience little to no relief. The side effects also differ from person to person. Medication treatment for ADHD involves more than just taking a pill. When we fail to take the medication carefully for ADHD, it becomes less effective and riskier. Always seek out professional help before taking any medications.
Professionals trained in ADHD can help you learn skills to cope with symptoms and change habits that are causing problems. There are different types of therapies that are parts of effective ADHD treatment.
Talk Therapy – Individual talk therapy can help you deal with emotional baggage, including low self-esteem, the feelings of embarrassment you may have experienced as a child and teenager, and resentment at the nagging and criticism you receive from other people.
Marriage and Family Therapy – Marriage and family therapy addresses the problems ADHD can create in your relationships, such as forgotten commitments, conflicts over financial problems, responsibilities in the home, and impulsive decisions. Therapy can improve your relationships by educating your partner and family members about ADHD.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy – It will encourage you to identify and change the negative beliefs and behaviors that are causing dilemmas in your life. Many individuals with ADHD are demoralized from years of unmet expectations and struggle, The main goal of cognitive-behavioral therapy is to transform this negative outlook into a hopeful, realistic view.
Primary Substance Abuse and Secondary Co-occuring ADHD Treatment
Several studies have shown a strong connection between ADHD, drug abuse, and alcoholism. At Level Up NJ Treatment Center, we facilitate dual diagnosis clientele. In doing so, we provide the highest quality of care to those who need it most. Dual diagnosis cases (also called “co-occurring disorders”) are extremely common, especially among those with substance abuse disorders. In fact, there’s reason to believe that there is a causal relationship between many mental disorders and substance abuse disorders.
At the We Level Up NJ treatment center, we provide world-class care with round-the-clock medical professionals available to help you cope. All working as a team providing primary SUD treatment along with primary substance abuse and co-occurring secondary ADHD treatment for successful recovery. Make this your opportunity to reclaim your life. Call today to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our counselors know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions. Your call is private and confidential and there is never any obligation.
 ADHD – American Psychiatric Association (APA) ‘https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/adhd
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