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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, neurological disorder. ADHD is characterized by three main symptoms: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is extremely common. The Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology published findings from the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health that estimated 6.1 million children between the ages of 2 to 17 had been diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The signs and symptoms that can occur in a young person with ADHD can begin to present in children as young as five years old. The Mayo Clinic provides the following examples of some of the common symptoms that an individual with ADHD could exhibit: 

  • Inattention to detail
  • Unable to engage in activities that require prolonged attention
  • Failure to meet deadlines (e.g., does not complete homework on time)
  • Mind constantly wandering/ does not listen when directly spoken to
  • Organizational difficulties
  • Misplaces belongings frequently 
  • Easily distractible
  • Excessive talking
  • Regularly and mindlessly fidgeting  
  • Restlessness
  • Little or no patience 

A person who is diagnosed with ADHD will exhibit at least five of the above symptoms, lasting for a minimum of six months long or longer, and present in multiple settings. Symptoms will often range in severity and can differ depending on a variety of contributing factors. The diagnosis process for ADHD is rather complicated, as there is no single test for diagnosis, and symptoms will vary from person to person. While the most known form of treatment for ADHD includes medication, there are a variety of other types of treatments available for an individual diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Treatment

There are many treatment options available in Los Angeles, California for an individual diagnosed with ADHD. Every individual is different and will benefit most from a customized treatment plan that includes a blend of different approaches so as to ensure all nuanced needs are accommodated. While nowadays it is customary to treat ADHD through various therapeutic modalities in addition to medication, it is important to note that medication is not always required. Some of the therapeutic methods that are used to treat 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. Subsequently, he or she will then learn to replace the unhealthy thought processes with healthy ones, which in turn will result in healthier behaviors. DBT is a therapeutic modality based on the CBT approach that places greater emphasis on the psychosocial aspect of treatment. Though DBT an individual will learn an array of mindfulness-based skills to effectively navigate 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. Some of the relaxation techniques that could be integrated into one’s plan may include meditation, yoga, and exercise. There are countless mental health providers specializing in treating ADHD located in Southern California. 

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.