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Understanding and Handling Your ADD

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is a serious problem (hence it’s classification as a disorder). It is a neurological condition that affects a person’s ability to manage behavior (particularly impulsiveness), focus or pay attention, resulting in problems in work, health, finances, and human relationships. The condition becomes more complicated due to its “hidden” nature.  Friends, neighbors, family members, colleagues, and bosses don’t see the challenges and as such, may find it difficult to accept the problem as neurobiological rather than an individual’s choice. ADD patients also suffer from feelings of inadequacy, not living up to their potential as well as others’ expectations of them.

Effects of ADDEffects of Attention Deficit Disorder

ADD symptoms vary not just from patient to patient but can manifest differently based on the specific situation (social, work, school, or home). The symptoms could also be inconsistent from day to day; one day, you feel as if you accomplished a tremendous amount of work while on others, you feel exceptionally unproductive. ADD patients can spend hours doing a homework assignment or writing a book report, and then forget to submit it.

On some occasions, they relegate tasks they feel are confusing, boring or challenging to the background (even if the tasks are considered critical to work, personal finances such as doing taxes, or school) and focus exclusively on projects that seem trivial or unnecessary. As such, ADD patients often fail or drop out of school, constantly get fired or have financial and legal problems that could have been easily avoided.

However, with the right treatment, environment, and lifestyle, symptoms of ADD can be mitigated, and patients can live relatively normal lives. A lot of talented actors, writers, business owners, athletes, artists, and inventors had ADD but went on to become renowned in their various professions. They led exceptional lives and contributed immensely to the growth of society.

Diagnosing Adult ADD

The first step in handling ADD begins with an accurate diagnosis of the condition; however, this is not as simple as it sounds. An ADD diagnosis requires a medical professional (who has extensive experience with adult ADD) to perform a detailed evaluation. This evaluation is done using interviews, rating scales, questionnaires, and intellectual screenings, in addition to measuring distractibility and level of sustained attention. The professional then decides if the symptoms correspond with those outlined in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), the official diagnostic manual used in the U.S. 

ADD Diagnosis San Francisco

Handling ADDCoping with Attention Deficit Disorder

Once you’ve been accurately diagnosed with the disorder, the next step is finding a way to handle it. In the past, experts thought that ADD/ADHD affected only children and that they grew out of it as they grew older; however, this is not the case. This was because adults with ADD learned to cope with the condition as they grew older, developing strategies that helped them fit in with social expectations. Fortunately, we now know that ADD lasts throughout a person’s lifetime, from formative years to old age.

Methods Used in Managing ADD

The most common way of managing ADD is through the use of medication. These are divided into two: stimulants and non-stimulants. Stimulants help to increase attention while reducing impulsivity and hyperactivity; however, if you experience too many side-effects or have a history of addictions, your doctor may prescribe non-stimulants. In special cases, a combination of both kinds of medications may be used.

Counseling is another approach to treating ADD. It has been observed that CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is effective in treating cases of adult ADD. This type of therapy assists patients to learn new ways of behaving and interacting with the world. In particular, CBT helps to address symptoms of ADD such as shame, feelings of low self-esteem and loss of self-confidence.

Other ways of treating ADD include practicing stress reduction techniques, including physical exercise as part of your daily routine and making lifestyle shifts (such as focusing on personal strengths). You could also be eligible for workplace accommodation.

The good news is that ADD is a manageable condition and with the right professional help, you can live a remarkably productive life. If you would like to meet with a qualified physician to discuss your ADD, please schedule an appointment by clicking here or calling our San Francisco clinic at (415) 966-0848. 


Once thought to be a disorder affecting only children and teenagers, ADHD is now recognized as a treatable disorder for adults as well. Many of those who had ADHD as a child bring symptoms of the disorder into adulthood, though some may experience an evolution of symptoms that affect them differently as they age. If you believe you have adult ADHD in San Francisco, you likely have a number of questions. The knowledgeable experts at EZCare Clinic in San Francisco have compiled a list of frequently asked questions and their answers.

How Common is Adult ADHD?

Though different figures have been cited, most experts agree that adult ADD or adult ADHD affects anywhere from 3 to 4.4 percent of the adult population in the United States. In contrast, around 9.5 percent of children are diagnosed with adult ADD. This leads researchers to believe that more than half of those who have ADD as children either grow out of the disorder or are not re-diagnosed as adults.

How is Adult ADHD Different from Adult ADD?

ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and is the new name that is officially accepted for what was previously known as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). The name was changed to reflect that hyperactivity is a major component in many cases of the disorder. However, many people still use the term ADD and both terms can be used interchangeably to describe the same condition.

How Can Adult ADHD Affect One’s Life?

Finding the right ADD doctor in SF

ADHD symptoms can range from relatively mild to incredibly disruptive. The following symptoms are common to the disorder:

Inability to concentrate

Many adults who suffer from ADHD cannot concentrate on tasks for a long period of time and this can lead to problems both at home and work. Projects that require focus are not easy for those with ADHD and this can lead to delayed or incomplete work. It can also lead to problems in relationships as those with ADHD may have a difficult time listening to and connecting with important people in their lives.

Mood swings

Though usually not as severe as the mood swings that accompany bipolar disorder, ADHD can come with the symptom of feeling on top of the world one minute and incredibly sad or angry the next. These mood swings can be difficult to navigate and often cause problems with colleagues, family members, and friends.

The difficulty with time management

While managing time effectively is second nature to most people, those with ADHD often have problems determining how long a project or activity will take and are frequently late to meetings and other predetermined activities. This can lead to late projects, missed opportunities, and reprimands at work for causing delays.

Impulsive behavior

Many with adult ADHD have difficulty fully thinking through decisions and how they will affect themselves and others. This can lead to impulsive behavior that is harmful to themselves, dangerous, or hurtful to others. Excessive spending, eating, drinking, or gambling are all dangers for those with ADHD.

Racing thoughts

A classic symptom of adult ADHD is racing thoughts that are difficult or impossible to control. These thoughts add to the lack of concentration that is already present with the disorder and can also lead to anxiety or excessive worry.

How is Adult ADHD Diagnosed?

Adult ADHD has many symptoms that can be confused with other disorders which can often make it difficult to diagnose. Other mental health issues and disorders should also be considered and tested for when an individual is seen by their doctor if they believe they have ADHD. For an official diagnosis to occur, an individual must exhibit multiple symptoms of the disorder that lead to significant problems in daily life that impact relationships, careers, or normal activities.

They must exhibit these symptoms for a minimum of six months before a diagnosis can be made. The symptoms must also be persistent, excessive, and continue to show up in different areas of a patient’s life. When making a diagnosis, a doctor will look at the sufferer’s environment, past history, symptoms, and medical records to make a proper diagnosis.

How is Adult ADHD Treated?

Get Your ADD/ADHD Evaluation in San Francisco

Once a diagnosis is made, those with adult ADHD can begin receiving treatment at a San Francisco ADHC clinic. Depending on the types of severity of their symptoms, their treatment plan may include one or a combination of the following:

  • Counseling – Speaking with a counselor who is familiar with ADHD and can provide support and coping strategies can be very effective for those who are newly diagnosed with ADHD. Many adult ADHD sufferers have felt there is something wrong with them their entire lives and have often been judged, criticized, and misunderstood. When a diagnosis is finally made, working through the emotions they feel with a counselor can help them adjust to their new reality.
  • Individual Therapy – Therapy is more intense than counseling and should be performed by a trained therapist who has worked with those with adult ADHD. One of the most common forms of therapy for those with ADHD is Cognitive Behavior Therapy or CBT. CBT works to retrain an individuals brain to recognize and change destructive thought patterns. Because one of the main symptoms of ADHD is racing thoughts and anxiety, CBT is often very effective in changing those thoughts that lead to negative emotions and undesired behaviors.
  • Group or Family Therapy – Many of those with adult ADHD find it therapeutic to meet in groups with others who suffer from the same condition. Learning how others cope with their symptoms and knowing they are not alone is usually a powerful treatment option. Other ADHD sufferers find it useful to meet with their therapist with members of their family, especially if there is tension in the household regarding the emotions or actions of the person with ADHD.
  • Medication  There are a number of stimulant, non-stimulant, and anti-depressant medications that can be used to treat ADHD symptoms. These can be used on their own but are most often paired with counseling or therapy to create an individualized treatment plan.

Do you believe you may suffer from adult ADHD or have you been recently diagnosed with the disorder and want to look into treatment options? Please visit to learn more about what we do and reach out to speak with a professional about scheduling an appointment.

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