ADHD is the acronym for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. While ADHD is most commonly diagnosed in children, adults can also develop the condition or benefit from late diagnosis and treatment. For example, when some adults are diagnosed with ADHD, it is because the condition was undiagnosed and left untreated as a child. ADHD affects a person’s ability to focus, retain information, concentrate, and maintain self-control.
Adolescents and adults don’t tend to present the hyperactive behaviors commonly associated with ADHD, however, their ability to maintain attention is often compromised. Some adults may have trouble getting themselves organized and may struggle with responsibilities like paying bills, taking care of children, and work performance. Other signs of ADHD include:
* The inability to effectively prioritize responsibilities
* Reckless driving, speeding, and accidents
* Relationship problems due to poor listening skills, failure to honor commitments, or
paying insufficient attention to a partner, which may be seen as not caring
* Poor listening skills and being easily distracted in conversations
* Consistent lateness
* Trouble relaxing
Dr. van Riel will typically take a multipronged approach to help her patients with ADHD. Medication is one of the key elements of treating ADHD. Typically stimulants like Adderall, Ritalin, Focalin, and Concerta are prescribed. Some patients benefit from Strattera, a non-stimulant medication that is approved for adult ADHD. Some patients respond to Wellbutrin, a popular antidepressant. Psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), can also help patients with ADHD. CBT teaches patients to recognize their emotions and related behaviors and to respond by actively choose more appropriate responses. This is helpful for patients with ADHD because it trains them to pay closer attention to their interactions and surroundings. It also encourages improved impulse control. Other elements of psychotherapy may focus on executive functions like time management and planning. It is common for adults seeking treatment for mental health concerns such as depression or anxiety, to also be diagnosed with ADHD when Dr. van Riel completes her assessment. In these cases, Dr. van Riel works with the patient to address all of his or her concerns. She tailors treatment to specifically address the patient’s individual needs.
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