Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
About Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic condition that affects children and continues into adulthood. ADHD includes a combination of problems that are persistent, such as difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. Children with ADHD may also struggle with low self-esteem, troubled relationships and poor performance in school. While, symptoms sometimes lessen with age, some people never completely outgrow their ADHD symptoms. However, they can learn strategies to be successful.
Adults with ADHD have difficulties with organization, meeting deadlines and being restless in career and relationships. It is very helpful to come to a recognition of this diagnosis if it relates to you, because it can help alleviate old messages of being “lazy, or stupid.” Being an adult with ADHD can result in difficulties in ADHD symptoms include trouble focusing, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. People may experience:
- Behavioral issues such as hyperactivity, fidgeting, impulsivity, irritability, risk taking behaviors, or lack of restraint.
- Cognitive issues such as difficulty focusing, forgetfulness, lack of concentration, problem paying attention, racing thoughts, or short attention span.
- Mood issues such as anxiety, boredom, excitement, or mood swings.
- Other common issues include depression, learning disability, or sleep deprivation
There are coping skills for organization and procrastination, as well as medication treatment, which can make the symptoms easier to cope with and improve your self-esteem and your functioning socially and educationally. As with any diagnosis, the more one understands how the brain is actually different in terms of “executive functioning,” the more we can alleviate self-blame. Our goal is to helps the client focus on what they CAN change, and accepting what they can’t, learning to embrace ADHD as a strength and part of their unique self.
In treating symptoms of ADHD, some people like to turn to psychotherapy instead of medication as it is an approach that does not rely on taking stimulant medication. Others use psychotherapy as an adjunct to medication treatment. Both approaches are clinically acceptable and should be taking into consideration when exploring your care.
In providing psychotherapy to clients experiencing symptoms of ADHD, we utilize Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to focus on emotional control and problem-solving. Psychotherapy is also beneficial in supporting clients who experience problems beyond the specific symptoms of ADHD, such as social skills, academics/work, interpersonal and/or workplace relationships, oppositional behavior, anxiety, and depression.
- Emotional Control: People with symptoms of ADHD can often experience upsetting thoughts and feelings. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy supports the client in exploring the emotions or feelings associated with a particular event. As a result, through treatment clients are enabled to gain emotional control through processing and reflecting on the feelings experienced and learn alternative ways to handle emotions.
- Problem-Solving: Another important aspect of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in working with clients experiencing symptoms of ADHD is problem-solving. With ADHD, it’s very common to experience disorganization, problems focusing, poor time management skills, restlessness, etc. One way to work through these experiences is through problem-solving. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy supports the client in focusing more on ways to manage immediate issues. It supports clients in working through thought processes, establishing coping patterns, and increasing organization.
Psychotherapy will also help a person experiencing symptoms of ADHD by boosting their self-esteem through improving self-awareness and compassion. If a client does choose to incorporate medication into their treatment, psychotherapy may also offer support during the changes that may be experienced through the use of medication, as well as medication management and taking a collaborative approach to your care with your prescribing clinician.