10 Things You Should Do If You Have Adult ADHD
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be incredibly disruptive in everyday adult life.
Most people with ADHD respond well to medication, although there are other, nondrug options that may help too.
"Start with treatments we know are effective," says Ari Tuckman, PsyD, the vice president of the Attention Deficit Disorder Association. "Then, if you're interested, try some of the alternatives to see if it has any additional benefit."
Here are 10 behavioral interventions and lifestyle changes that won't necessarily eliminate ADHD but can help you feel more in control.
Stimulant drugs such as Adderall, Dexedrine, Ritalin, Concerta, and Vyvanse affect key brain chemicals to calm and focus people who have ADHD.
They are the most widely prescribed ADHD medications, and can have side effects such as appetite suppression, insomnia, headaches, dry mouth, and nausea.
A non-stimulant drug called Strattera may be a better fit for people who have ADHD and who also suffer from anxiety, insomnia, or substance abuse. (However, the drug can cause nausea, dry mouth, and insomnia.)
Discuss your treatment options with your doctor to determine if you really need medication.
Think about therapy
If you're not thrilled about the idea of taking medication, you may want to consider cognitive behavioral therapy.
This type of therapy aims to help patients change their behavior by focusing on self-image and thought patterns, as well as overcoming obstacles in daily life (and negative thinking as well).
Don't expect cognitive behavioral therapy to take the place of medication or even help reduce the dosage, but it can help you modify your behavior, and may be more effective than using medication alone.
The more you learn about ADHD, the more aware you will be of your symptoms, and the more information you'll have about managing them.
"Learning about ADHD helps you know a little better what strategies tend to work," says Tuckman. It can also reduce feelings of shame or blame, he adds, as patients begin to realize that treating the disease is not as simple as trying harder to pay attention or caring more about school or work.
Visit the websites of national organizations, read blogs written by people with ADHD, check out books about the condition, or ask a doctor for additional information sources.
Family members, close friends, and romantic partners should also educate themselves about ADHD, says Tuckman.
But for ADHD patients to more easily relate to these important people, some therapy or counseling may also be necessary.
Focusing on social skills training can greatly benefit professional relationships and friendships. And marriage counseling or family therapy can ease symptoms at home.
adhd and add help
More adults are now being diagnosed with ADHD, partly due to an increased awareness of the problem. If your symptoms aren't severe, you may want to consider these treatment options.
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