ADHD Treatment in Fresno CA
Living with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is challenging. It’s a condition that is frequently misunderstood by those who are not affected by it. People who don’t understand ADHD often think that those who suffer from it are unmotivated, lazy, fidgety, lacking focus, and impulsive. Typically, ADHD is diagnosed in children and teenagers. However, it can continue into adulthood and be diagnosed then as well. Adults with ADHD may be viewed as flighty or irresponsible because they struggle to remember important obligations or details and have difficulty staying on task.
What is ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a disorder that mainly affects children and teens but can continue on into adulthood. The disorder may cause children to be hyperactive and impulsive, or they may have difficulty paying attention. These symptoms commonly cause interference with school and home life. For adults with ADHD, they may have trouble being organized, managing time, and maintaining a job. There may also be difficulty with relationships, self-esteem, and addiction.
What Are the Symptoms of ADHD?
The symptoms of ADHD in children are divided into three categories: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
- Is easily distracted
- Doesn’t appear to be listening
- Doesn’t follow directions or finish tasks
- Has problems organizing tasks
- Doesn’t like doing things that require sitting still
- Forgets about daily activities
- Doesn’t pay attention
- Often loses things
- Tends to daydream
- Doesn’t stay seated
- Often squirms, fidgets, or bounces when sitting
- Has trouble playing quietly
- Is always moving, running, or climbing
- Talks excessively
- Is always “on the go”
- Blurts out answers
- Has trouble waiting for his or her turn
- Interrupts others
The symptoms of ADHD in adults can change as the person ages. They include:
- Chronic lateness
- Low self-esteem
- Trouble controlling anger
- Problems at work
- Substance abuse or addiction
- Poor Judgement
- Easily frustrated
- Chronic boredom
- Trouble concentrating on written material
- Mood swings
- Relationship problems/social awkwardness
What Causes ADHD?
The exact causes of ADHD are unknown. However, medical researchers believe that there may be certain factors that help determine whether some might develop the condition. Genetics, illnesses and injuries, exposure to toxins, and pregnancy problems are all potential indicators.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is primarily a genetic disorder. It’s believed that the percentage of the genetic contribution to the disorder is over 70%. Even so, that doesn’t mean that adults with ADHD will automatically pass it on to their children. The reason for this is that it is a combination of genetics and other factors that seem to determine whether a child will develop ADHD.
Illnesses and Injuries
Illnesses that affect the brain, like encephalitis and meningitis, can result in attention and learning problems that characterize ADHD. Additionally, although it is rare, some people develop ADHD as a result of brain damage caused by a brain injury, trauma, or another event that impedes normal brain development.
Exposure to Toxins
Children who are exposed to certain environmental toxins are at risk of developing ADHD. Even low levels of lead exposure can cause inattention and hyperactivity.
Pregnant women who do not receive the proper prenatal care or who use substances during pregnancy have a higher risk of having a child who develops ADHD. Poor nutrition, maternal infections, and drug or alcohol use during pregnancy increase the risk. Babies who are born prematurely, born with low birth weight, or whose mothers had problematic pregnancies all have a higher risk of being diagnosed with ADHD.
How is ADHD Diagnosed in Adults?
Diagnosing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can be challenging, especially in adults. There isn’t a simple test that confirms the diagnosis. The major signs and symptoms of the condition usually start in childhood and continue into adulthood, causing many issues. Making a diagnosis of ADHD usually includes:
- Physical medical exam to help eliminate other possible diagnoses for the symptoms
- Gathering information, including the current state of health, history of symptoms, personal medical history, and family medical history
- Psychological tests and ADHD rating scales to help evaluate the information gathered
How is ADHD Treated?
Treating ADHD in adults usually involves a combination of medication and therapy. This combination is typically the most effective treatment. While treatment doesn’t cure the disorder, it can be very helpful in managing symptoms, though it often takes time to determine what will work best for each individual.
Medication is a vital part of most ADHD treatment plans. Fortunately, doctors have several types of medications that help control the condition to choose from. Determining the correct drug and dosage for each individual may take some time and trial and error, but the right combination is often found.
The most common types of ADHD medications are:
Stimulants. By far, the most common type of ADHD medication, stimulants, have been used for decades. They work for about three-quarters of ADHD sufferers by allowing them to focus their thoughts and ignore distractions. Stimulants are typically used for children, teenagers, and adults with moderate to severe ADHD. Adderall, Ritalin, Vyvanse, and Concerta are all medications commonly prescribed for ADHD.
Non-stimulants. For people who don’t tolerate stimulant drugs or for whom they don’t work, non-stimulant medications can help with ADHD symptoms like concentration and impulse control. Common non-stimulant medications used for ADHD include Strattera, Catapres, and Tenex.
Antidepressants. People suffering from ADHD often also have anxiety, depression, and sometimes bipolar disorder. In those cases, antidepressant medication may help treat those issues along with a stimulant for ADHD symptoms. Wellbutrin and Norpramin are antidepressants that work well in combination with simulants for treating ADHD.
As with any medication, there are side effects that may occur with all of the above medications mentioned. It’s important to notify your doctor if you have any adverse reactions.
Therapy or counseling is often helpful for adults with ADHD. Individual psychotherapy involves learning important skills that may help individuals:
- Learn to reduce impulsive behaviors
- Improve organizational and time management skills
- Develop problem-solving skills
- Develop methods to control irritability or anger
- Improve self-esteem
- Improve relationships with family, friends, and coworkers
- Cope with negative feelings
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common, structured therapy that teaches people with ADHD skills that are specifically designed to help manage ADHD behavior and to modify negative thinking patterns. Additionally, CBT can be helpful in dealing with relationship problems, challenges at work or school, and other mental health conditions that are present, like anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.
Help for Adults with ADHD
Adults living with ADHD may find the following tips useful:
- If staying organized is challenging, making lists, keeping journals, and setting reminders for things can be helpful in planning what needs to be done.
- Take downtime to relax. Try listening to soothing music or using deep breathing exercises.
- Use physical exercise to let off steam.
- Let employers know about the condition and discuss anything that can be done to help work performance.
- For those in school, discuss any adjustments that might be helpful for support. For example, extra time to complete assignments.
- Find support from local or national support groups or meetings. Peer support is very effective in helping people deal with ADHD and other issues.
Even though attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is challenging to live with, it is a highly treatable condition. With proper treatment, both medical and psychological, many adults with ADHD live happy and fulfilling lives despite their diagnosis.