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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), previously referred to as attention deficit disorder (ADD), is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic mental health condition. It is a neurological disorder that is characterized by impulsiveness, hyperactivity, and attention difficulties. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) further describes attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as an inability to control impulsive behaviors, difficulty focusing and/ or paying attention, and/ or being overly active. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is extremely common. While the cause for developing ADHD remains unclear, research has indicated that genetic factors, environmental factors and developmental delays may all contribute to its potential development.

Signs and Symptoms

Some of common examples, as provided by the Mayo Clinic, of symptoms that an adult individual with ADHD may exhibit could include any combination of the following:

  • Mood swings
  • Poor planning
  • Disorganization 
  • Inefficient time management skills
  • Trouble with multitasking
  • Impatience 
  • Lacks effective coping mechanisms for stress management
  • Restlessness
  • Impulsiveness 
  • Problems with following through and completing tasks.

The symptoms that an individual with ADHD experience are persistent, disruptive, and perpetually interfere in one’s ability carryout the tasks needed to function in his or her daily life. According to the DSM-5, in order to be diagnosed with ADHD, an adult must show a persistent pattern of inattention and/ or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with his or her functioning.

Treatment

In order to secure the most effective treatment an individual must obtain an accurate diagnosis. Every person is different and each individual will require a customized treatment plan to ensure one’s nuanced needs are accommodated. Depending on one’s needs, certain medications (e.g., Vyvanse, Adderall XR, Dexedrine, Ritalin, etc.) as well as a variety of therapeutic treatment options could be integrated into one’s treatment plan. Common therapeutic modalities used to treat adults diagnosed with ADHD, include talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), expressive arts therapies, and relaxation techniques. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps an individual identify and acknowledge his or her unhealthy thought processes, which had led to harmful behavioral patterns. Once an individual is able to do this, he or she will then learn to replace the unhealthy thought processes with healthy ones, subsequently resulting in healthier behaviors. DBT is a therapeutic modality that helps to teach an individual mindfulness based skills to gain control over his or her emotions. This allows for healthier relationships and improved interpersonal skills. Expressive arts therapies are helpful for a person with ADHD, as through engaging in various art activities, an individual can work through emotional challenges and learn to manage the symptoms that accompany ADHD. With proper treatment, an individual with ADHD can learn helpful strategies to effectively manage the symptoms of ADHD and go on to lead a healthy and fulfilling life. 

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health.  As such, please do not use any material provided above as a means to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.