ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 10:27 am   Post subject: ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)  

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a highly genetic, brain-based syndrome that has to do with the regulation of a particular set of brain functions and related behaviors.

These brain operations are collectively referred to as “executive functioning skills” and include important functions such as attention, concentration, memory, motivation and effort, learning from mistakes, impulsivity, hyperactivity, organization, and social skills. There are various contributing factors that play a role in these challenges including chemical and structural differences in the brain as well as genetics.

Research has shown that the most effective treatment for ADHD is a combination of medication and therapy.

Medication serves to manage brain based functions and symptoms and therapy addresses daily thoughts, behaviors, and coping strategies.

Cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness-based practices have been found to be the most effective therapeutic interventions. Studies have begun to show promising results using dialectical behavioral therapy as well. This is because these modalities focus on identifying internal and external barriers to adaptive coping behaviors and working towards developing new, workable actions and skills in the present moment. Find a clinician that is familiar with ADHD so that minor obstacles such as being late to a session, interrupting the therapist, or experiencing trouble following through on therapy goals will not be seen as a result of a deep psychological neurosis, but instead understood as a function of a brain-based condition. An ADHD-friendly therapist will view these situations as opportunities to help you step away from shame-based stories about your challenges.

In addition to building new skills and coping strategies, it is often helpful to process the emotional and interpersonal effects of ADHD, as most people with the diagnosis experience feelings of shame, guilt, failure, and chronic stress or overwhelm. Group therapy programs and peer support groups are immensely helpful in this regard. There is simply no replacement for being around other people who "get it." It's also important to remember that ADHD doesn't exist within in a vacuum - it affects those you love, too. Couples and family therapy, as well as simple psychoeducation about what it means to live with ADHD, can be extremely helpful in navigating the waters of relationships with this condition.

ADHD coaching has been found to be effective in guiding those with ADHD towards identifying and meeting goals, maintaining a positive approach to change, and improving productivity while providing a source of accountability. Many seek out coaching when their goals involve improving organizational skills, time management, goal completion, and productivity.

Medication is often used to help normalize brain activity and must be carefully prescribed and monitored by a physician, preferably a psychiatrist and not a primary care physician. Stimulant medications (Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall, Adderall XR, Vyvanse, and Focalin XR) are commonly used because they have been shown to be most effective for most people with ADHD. Some adults with ADHD prefer long-acting formulations, while others respond better to short-acting medication. Sometimes people with ADHD take a long-acting medication and short-acting "booster" dose later that same day. However, not everyone with ADHD responds well to stimulants, and so other non-stimulant medications (Strattera, Intuniv, SNRI's such as Welbutrin, etc.) may also be used at the discretion of the physician. Given the rate of co-occurring challenges with depression and anxiety, some adults with ADHD take additional medications to manage those conditions.

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