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ADHD Treatments

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) it is important for you to know that many treatment options are available. The most important next step you can take is to find the right mental health care professional. LifeStance can help.

For some people it may feel natural to seek treatment from their primary care doctor after getting a diagnosis for ADHD. Your doctor is trusted, knows you, and is convenient to you. But they may not be the best qualified person to design a treatment plan and help you with your ADHD symptoms in the long-term.
A doctor who does not specialize in ADHD may not have a clear understanding or the experience to treat your ADHD symptoms, may even be biased against the diagnosis. A psychologist or a psychiatrist who specializes in the treatment of ADHD is the professional who is best equipped to treat ADHD in children, teens, and adults.

Choosing the Right Doctor for Your ADHD Treatment

It is important to know that only certain medical professionals can prescribe medication and perform thorough physical evaluations to rule out other possible causes of symptoms of ADHD. These professionals are physicians (M.D. or D.O.), nurse practitioners, and physician assistants (P.A.) under the supervision of a physician.

You want to choose a psychologist or psychiatrist who specializes in treating patients with ADHD because they will be the most up to date on research and treatments for ADHD. The difference between psychologists and psychiatrists:

Psychologists treat ADHD with different types of behavioral therapies, but they cannot prescribe medications.

Psychiatrists treat ADHD with behavioral therapies too but can also prescribe specific ADHD medications as part of your overall treatment.

ADHD Treatment Options Include:

  1. Therapy for ADHD
  2. Medication Management
  3. ADHD Coaching
  4. Non-medical approaches

Therapy can help you cope with many challenges that come from ADHD such as time management, organization, and problem-solving. Mastering these skills can help someone feel like they have more control over their life. And by feeling more in control of any symptoms, they are more likely to realize that their symptoms are simply the effects of living with ADHD and not personal character flaws.

Whether you’re looking for concrete steps to take and skills to learn or more insight-oriented therapy to learn how some of your habits are affecting your life and relationships, there is a type of therapy out there that’s right for you.

There are Many Different Therapies for ADHD including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
  • ADHD Coaching
  • Supportive Psychotherapy
  • Interpersonal Therapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Narrative Therapy
  • ADHD Therapy for Children
  • Parent-Child Interaction Therapy

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for ADHD

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is generally considered to be the gold standard for ADHD psychotherapy. Some of the things it can help with include improving daily life struggles such as procrastination, time management, and poor planning. CBT helps people find new coping strategies as well as find the emotions and behaviors that interfere with implementing these strategies. Behavior therapy can be helpful for kids, teens, and adults, especially in combination with medication.

All of these options may sound confusing, but meeting with a psychologist or psychiatrist will help you understand how each therapy works and determine which one is the best fit for you. The goal of all therapies is to manage ADHD symptoms and challenges and keep those challenges from getting in the way at school, at work, and in everyday life.

Medication and ADHD Treatment

Medication is typically used for adults and children dealing with ADHD because it has proven to be successful. Studies have shown that medication works well for around 80% of people with ADHD, as long as they’re getting the type and dosage that’s right for them. Still, some people have questions or concerns about medications. That’s why it’s best to speak to a trusted medical professional to determine what’s right for you.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Some people have ADHD and other mental health disorders such as anxiety or substance abuse. If this is the case then an ADHD psychiatrist can help coordinate the treatment of these disorders, and help you find the correct combination of medications if more than one is necessary.

Adding an ADHD Coach Into Your Support System

While living with ADHD can be challenging, it’s so important to recognize the many positive aspects to ADHD as well. Individuals with ADHD carry many unique capabilities that can even seem like superpowers to others and it’s imperative that ADHD people feel empowered to embrace their inner superhero. An ADHD coach is a trained professional who will help you handle the activities that are challenging due to your ADHD symptoms, and claim the ADHD “superpowers.” Think of an ADHD coach as a “life coach” specifically trained to help kids, teens, and adults with ADHD to better manage their lives.

An ADHD coach can help you with:

  • Goal setting
  • Organization
  • Planning and management skills
  • Impulse control
  • Self-esteem building
  • Healthier relationships
  • Clearer judgement
  • Self-motivation
  • Time management skills
  • A greater sense of self-sufficiency

Non-Medical Approaches to ADHD

Medication is the most effective treatment for people with ADHD. But there are other non-medical approaches that often help people with ADHD to feel better, including:

  • Getting more exercise
  • Doing activities in the outdoors
  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Avoiding alcohol and recreational drugs

Other Approaches That Can Help

Certain accommodations can help keep ADHD challenges from getting in the way at school or at work. You can help create an environment where people with ADHD can do their best work at school or in the workplace. Examples of accommodations include getting extra time on tests or having a quiet space to work in a classroom or office. This can often be arranged by talking to administrators or managers about specific challenges and the support that would help overcome those challenges.

National Support Organizations

CHADD (Children and Adults with ADHD) is the largest national support organization for ADHD. It provides education, advocacy and support for children and adults living with ADHD and their families, as well as teachers and healthcare professionals. CHADD offers programs and services locally and nationally.

ADDA (Attention Deficit Disorder Association) provides information and training resources for adults with ADHD and promotes ADHD awareness. The organization also spearheads advocacy efforts (for example, advocating for ADHD treatment in correctional facilities). They also have virtual support groups where you can connect with other people living with ADHD.