Takeaway: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder affects millions of adults across the U.S. When life is a constant struggle, comprehensive treatment with an ADHD psychiatrist can help you manage symptoms and thrive.
Many adults grapple with life's demands. Between taking care of your health, home, career, and loved ones, it’s a lot to juggle. But when frequent lateness, disorganization, and forgetfulness create constant stress, it might indicate adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
While it's one of the most common childhood neurodevelopmental disorders, nearly 10 million U.S. adults also live with ADHD as childhood symptoms often persist into adulthood. Coping becomes more challenging as your responsibilities grow, leading to negative effects on your well-being.
As collective knowledge of the disorder has grown, so have the improvements to ADHD treatment. Today effective therapy can help you understand your experience, symptoms, and what you need for support.
ADHD symptoms are grouped into inattentive and hyperactivity/impulsivity subcategories. You may have symptoms that fall into one or both groups.
Inattentive symptoms include:
Hyperactivity/impulsivity symptoms include:
Other signs may include irritability, low self-esteem, mood swings, hypersensitivity to criticism, relationship problems, job instability, and hyperfocusing on a task of interest.
Going through life with untreated ADHD can make each day a struggle. It can negatively impact your relationships, career, education, finances, and daily life. Facing significant difficulties concentrating, controlling impulses, and remembering things can lead to frustration and low self-confidence.
Much of society isn’t set up for people who function differently. And folks may experience feelings of failure when untreated ADHD leads to issues at work or home. These ongoing struggles also increase the risk of developing or exacerbating current anxiety, depression, and substance misuse.
Effective treatment can help you manage symptoms and reduce distress. However, ADHD is not something to be cured or removed. The key is to help you understand the disorder, utilize your strengths and supports, and improve your quality of life. Treatment typically includes a combination of therapy, medication, and psychoeducation.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and insight-oriented therapy are common approaches used to treat ADHD. These therapies address the social and emotional effects. They can help with negative thought patterns and improve emotional regulation and one's view of oneself.
Effective therapy includes skill-building and education. Learning about ADHD can help you understand your symptoms and the accommodations you need. Through therapy, you can identify and strengthen coping strategies to help you in different aspects of your life. For example, mindfulness training promotes symptom management and stress reduction.
Prescription medication options include both non-stimulants (e.g., Strattera, Wellbutrin, Kapvay, Intuniv, and Qelbree) and stimulants (e.g., Concerta, Ritalin, Vyvanse, and Adderall). The DEA classifies stimulants in the highest legal risk category as Schedule II controlled substances due to their high potential for dependence and abuse (even higher than prescription opiates and benzodiazepines). Speak with your psychiatrist about which type is best for you based on side effects, risks, and your history.
Each individual responds differently to therapies and medications. Work with a psychiatrist who is a good fit for you and explore all your treatment options. Common benefits of effective treatment may include:
Licensed therapists can provide therapy and education for ADHD, while psychiatrists can provide these in addition to medication management. When selecting your health care provider, look for an individual who:
If ADHD is negatively impacting your relationships, job, or well-being, reach out for help. You don’t have to navigate ADHD alone. There are various treatment options available. A psychiatrist can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and rule out other health concerns. Once diagnosed, you can work with your psychiatrist to determine the best course of action for you.
For over 20 years, Dr. David Zacharias has worked with patients in a variety of healthcare settings. He strives to treat the whole person by addressing their mental and physical health needs. His patient-centered practice and approach value client input and collaboration throughout treatment.
Dr. Zacharias specializes in strengths-based ADHD treatment that includes therapy and medication management with FDA-approved non-stimulant options. As someone whose treatment approach is evidence-based and conservative, he does not prescribe stimulant medications out of concern for the short and long-term risks they pose for individuals and brain health. That being said, he is more than happy to work with folks who take stimulants prescribed by other healthcare providers and discuss the current scientific literature in this area.
Existential Psychiatry believes that with the right treatment, you can grow in your understanding of ADHD, leverage your strengths, and thrive. We're here to help you reach your goals. Contact our office today for a free consultation.
“Understanding ADHD.” CHADD, 2018, Accessed August 30, 2023.