Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects both children and adults. It is characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.

Signs and Symptoms of ADHD

ADHD is generally categorized into three types: Predominantly Inattentive Presentation, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation, and Combined Presentation. The signs and symptoms can vary depending on the type and the individual's age.

1. Inattention:

  • Difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities

  • Frequent careless mistakes in schoolwork or other activities

  • Often seems not to listen when spoken to directly

  • Trouble organizing tasks and activities

  • Avoidance of tasks that require sustained mental effort

  • Frequently loses items necessary for tasks or activities

  • Easily distracted by extraneous stimuli

  • Often forgetful in daily activities

2. Hyperactivity:

  • Fidgeting or tapping hands and feet

  • Inability to stay seated in situations where it is expected

  • Running or climbing in inappropriate situations

  • Difficulty playing or engaging in activities quietly

  • Often "on the go" or acting as if "driven by a motor"

  • Excessive talking

3. Impulsivity:

  • Blurting out answers before questions are completed

  • Difficulty waiting for one's turn

  • Interrupting or intruding on others

4. Emotional Dysregulation:

  • Emotional dysregulation is a common yet often overlooked symptom of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It refers to difficulties in managing and responding to emotional experiences in a regulated manner. Individuals with ADHD may experience intense emotions and have difficulty controlling their emotional reactions, which can impact their daily functioning and relationships

Diagnosis of ADHD

Diagnosis of ADHD typically involves a comprehensive evaluation by a healthcare professional, often a psychiatrist, psychologist, or pediatrician. This evaluation includes:

  • Detailed medical and family history

  • Behavioral observations

  • Standardized ADHD rating scales and checklists

  • Interviews with parents, teachers, and the individual

Mental Health Treatment for ADHD

Effective treatment for ADHD often requires a combination of therapies tailored to the individual's needs. The primary treatment options include:

1. Medication:

  • Stimulants: The most common medications used to treat ADHD are stimulant medications, such as methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta) and amphetamines (Adderall, Vyvanse). These medications help increase attention and focus while reducing hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.

  • Non-stimulants: Non-stimulant medications, such as atomoxetine (Strattera) and guanfacine (Intuniv), are also used, particularly for individuals who do not respond well to stimulants.**Note: This is for informational purposes only, and is not a recommendation for specific medical treatment. Talk to your doctor if you are considering medication for treatment and would like to learn more.**

2. Behavioral Therapy:

  • Behavioral therapy focuses on teaching children and adults skills to manage their symptoms. This includes strategies for organizing tasks, managing time effectively, and improving social skills and executive functioning.

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) are examples of treatment types that can help individuals with ADHD to challenge negative thought patterns and develop coping mechanisms.

3. Educational Support:

  • Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and 504 Plans can provide accommodations and modifications in school to help children with ADHD succeed academically.

4. Parent Training and Education Programs:

  • These programs equip parents with strategies to manage their child's behavior and support their development effectively.

5. Lifestyle and Dietary Changes:

  • Regular physical activity, a balanced diet, and sufficient sleep can help manage ADHD symptoms.

Living with ADHD

Living with ADHD can be challenging, but with the right treatment and support, individuals can lead fulfilling and productive lives. It's important to foster a supportive environment that encourages understanding and patience.

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of ADHD, seeking professional help can be of great support to overall wellbeing and daily functioning. Early diagnosis and intervention can make a significant difference in managing the condition, learning ways in which ADHD can be a strength, and improving quality of life. Nourished Minds Therapy offers several empirically based treatment approaches that have been proven effective in managing ADHD symptoms. Visit our Therapeutic Approaches Page or Contact Me to find out how we can tailor a plan to support your mental wellness.