What Is ADHD?
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that often presents in childhood. It can often be diagnosed during childhood when parents, teachers, and other adult caretakers notice that a child is having difficulty paying attention, being able to focus on tasks at hand, controlling their impulses, or being overly active. ADHD often lasts into adulthood.
Although many children are treated successfully with medicine for their ADHD symptoms, many adults who have ADHD often were not diagnosed as children and only in their adult years are successfully treated with medication to help them in their daily personal and professional lives. Especially for adults who were diagnosed with ADHD later in life, behavioral therapy for ADHD can be a very beneficial part of their treatment plan.
My Approach to ADHD Therapy for Adults
Therapy for ADHD
I do not work with children. Therefore, my approach and practice are to work with adults who are processing (often) a new diagnosis of ADHD that they have likely been suffering from since they were small children. Much of the work focuses on people being able to recall who they were as children and the effect ADHD had on their lives as they grew up. Further, what do they recall of how their parents, teachers, and other caretakers interacted with them and what messages did they receive from them that was related to ADHD, but never named appropriately.
As much as I work with patients on looking back to make meaning of being undiagnosed, I also work in the here and now moment with people to help construct helpful ways of conducting their lives that help them to focus, pay attention, and be productive in their own lives. With medicine on board, it often makes it easier to integrate these ideas and habits into daily life, but also tracking with another is often helpful as adults experience success with living fulfilled lives alongside their ADHD diagnosis.
Common Symptoms Brought on by ADHD
Given ADHD is a diagnosable clinical disorder in the DSM, there are specific symptoms outlined that provide a solid frame of reference for being able to diagnose ADHD in both children and adults.
ADHD symptoms include:
These symptoms will look different in children than in adults. As an example, children may be seen fidgeting in their seats and have trouble waiting their turn in line. While adults may have difficulty completing tasks at work or being restless in their personal lives.
Of course, all humans experience difficulty paying attention at times. However, these symptoms are persistent and get in the way of functioning as a child or as an adult, it is worth looking into getting a diagnosis and being treated for ADHD.
Causes of ADHD
Currently, the research regarding the causes of ADHD is limited with much being unknown. However, research persists, and some studies have shown that genetics can play a significant role in developing ADHD.
How ADHD Therapy Can Help
ADHD is treated with medicine that is prescribed after a medical doctor has given a clinical diagnosis of ADHD. Behavioral therapy in combination with the prescribed medicine can often help children focus and control their impulses so that they can live their lives well with others at home and in the classroom.
For adults who were never diagnosed with ADHD as children, and only became diagnosed and treated for ADHD as an adult, therapy can be very beneficial in helping people look back on their lives and begin to make meaning of some of their struggles they had during childhood that is directly related to their ADHD. In addition, adults with ADHD can begin to process how they were missed by their parents and/or caretakers in being diagnosed and have the opportunity to grieve the loss of not being able to function at their peak due to living with undiagnosed ADHD throughout the entirety of their childhood.
If you’re interested in scheduling a session with me, please reach out directly. My practice is via telehealth so if you are in New Jersey, Washington, or Maryland, I can serve you. I look forward to hearing from you.