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Adult ADHD Diagnosis

Adults who seemed to sail through school with little or no issues and upon entering college or the workforce find that they have problems they’ve never experienced before may have adult ADHD. While most individuals are diagnosed during adolescence, there are some high functioning individuals who, through coping techniques, managed to mask their symptoms until later in life. Often these individuals are shocked when faced with what many falsely believe is a childhood or immaturity condition. Unfortunately, ADHD can be a life-long struggle to fit in or just to be able to complete the duties that come with your chosen profession. 

What is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development. While an estimated 60% of children diagnosed with ADHD still have recognizable symptoms into adulthood, some can work through those issues and develop effective coping techniques that make their symptoms appear to go away. Additionally, adults that seemingly had their condition under control can find themselves dealing with a whole new set of problems once they enter the workforce and encounter a larger or more complex set of duties. As many can see, ADHD is a complicated and somewhat tricky condition to manage. Thankfully, several effective treatment methods can be used to help get adults back on track and boost their confidence.

Symptoms of Adult ADHD

One of the first steps in treating any disorder is to identify the symptoms that are causing concerns. ADHD is often easy to diagnose in children. In adults, it can be more complicated. While the core symptoms are the same from childhood to adulthood, the way they are manifested can be quite different and often confused for something else altogether. 

Common symptoms:

Inattention

  1. Makes careless mistakes and lack attention to details
  2. Difficulty paying attention to tasks
  3. Fails to follow through on duties or is easily sidetracked
  4. Difficulty organizing
  5. Avoids or is reluctant to participate in tasks that require sustained mental effort
  6. Often loses things
  7. Forgetful
ADHD SYMPTOMS
Common Categories Of ADHD Symptoms

Hyperactivity

  1. Talks excessively
  2. Acts as if on the go constantly
  3. Unable to participate in leisure activities

Impulsivity

  1. Extreme restlessness
  2. Difficulty waiting on others or taking turns

Typically, hyperactivity decreases, but inattention, disorganization, and impulsivity in adulthood can result in difficulty functioning both at home and while at work. The symptoms of ADHD must be severe and cause significant impairment in multiple areas of an individual’s life before a diagnosis is made.

Treatment options

Adult treatment of ADHD usually consists of medication and psychosocial treatment that addresses the particular problems of the patient. Although some individuals choose one method over the other, the most effective treatments utilize a combination approach. 

Medications used to treat ADHD are divided into two groups:

  •  Stimulants 
  •  Non-stimulants

Generally, long-acting stimulants are recommended because they usually result in better patient compliance and seem to improve symptoms easier. Unfortunately, stimulant medications do have a higher risk of abuse and dependency, so they should be used with caution. Although stimulants control ADHD symptoms better in most patients, approximately 10-30% do not respond adequately to stimulant treatment or have intolerable side effects. For those patients, non-stimulants are the best treatment option. 

Side Effects of ADHD medication
ADHD Medication Side Effects

 

Side effects

Depending on if the medication prescribed is a stimulant or non-stimulant will determine what kind, if any, side effects are possible. However, both can cause the following to occur:

  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Moodiness
  • Tics
  • Difficulty sleeping

For a better understanding of the possible side effects, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment

The first step to any recovery program is a proper diagnosis. Because of several other conditions, such as anxiety disorder, diabetes, bipolar disorder, and several others, can mimic the symptoms of ADHD, it is essential that patients have a proper evaluation. Generally, practitioners will do a complete physical and rule out other conditions that could be exacerbating your symptoms. 

Once a diagnosis of ADHD has been made, your provider should discuss your treatment options, including medications and therapy. While some individuals may shun seeking the help of a counselor, others found their advice to be beneficial. Most often, patients choose both treatment options.

At EzCare Clinic, patients struggling with the symptoms of ADHD have access to the best treatment options available. Once you have begun your medications, you will be accessed periodically for their effectiveness, and changes will be made as necessary. Experienced counselors are on staff that can work with you to learn coping techniques with proven success. Being diagnosed with such a complex and confusing disorder so late in life can be overwhelming, our therapists are dedicated to ensuring a smooth transition and that a successful treatment plan is implemented.

Take the ADHD test here and find out if your symptoms may be signs of ADD/ADHD.

 

EzCare Medical Appointment
EzCare Medical Appointment

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Are methylphenidates safe for ADHD treatment?

Methylphenidates are a type of medication that is sold under various names such as Ritalin, Daytrana,or Concerta. It is a central nervous system stimulant that affects certain chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. Methylphenidate is used to treat attention deficit disorder (ADD), Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.

History of methylphenidates

Methylphenidate was made in 1944 and finally approved by the FDA for medical use in 1955. As one of the oldest ADD and ADHD medications still in use today, methylphenidate is considered to be the gold standard, first-line of treatment by many physicians. 

Methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, or Biphentin)Overview
Methylphenidate Overview

What is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder affects between 4-7 million children and 9-13 million adults in the United States. Although it is still a widely misunderstood condition, the amount of money that is spent on treatment, research, and education per year is estimated to be in the millions. With all that money for research, we now know more than ever about this condition. 

ADHD is a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development. Characteristics include:

  • Easily distracted and missing details
  • Get bored quickly
  • Trouble focusing on a single task
  • Difficulty organizing thoughts and learning new information
  • Daydreaming
  • Process information slowly and less accurately than others
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Lack of patience
  • Interrupting others or not able to take turns

Unfortunately, scientists still do not know what causes ADHD, but they theorize that there may be several things that could contribute to its development, including brain injury, environmental exposure to toxins, alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy, premature delivery, and low birth weight. Despite popular misconceptions, ADHD cannot be cured; rather, through a series of therapy and medications, the symptoms can be managed. 

ADHD Diagnosis

Unfortunately, diagnosing ADHD isn’t simple in either children or adults. Most children have symptoms before age 7. However, despite the disorder always being present, some adults are not diagnosed until much later in life, typically after high school and college. For these patients, they were able to mask the symptoms during their youth due to their high level of functioning. Later, when work or their home life has become more complicated than ever, symptoms arise. 

ADHD can also share symptoms with other disorders such as depression, anxiety, and certain sleep issues. Before making a diagnosis, most doctors will conduct testing to rule out different ailments. According to the American Psychiatric Association, a person must show at least six of the nine major symptoms of inattention and hyperactive-impulsive behavior and that the behaviors must be present and disruptive to everyday life for at least six months to be diagnosed. 

ADHD Treatment

Treatment for ADHD is typically a combination of behavioral therapy and medications. In adults, doctors may recommend therapy before starting any medicines, depending on how severe it is and the ways it affects everyday living. Occasionally, patients can learn coping techniques and time management skills needed to lessen the symptoms. However, for many patients, the medication must also be included in the treatment plan. 

Medications typically are one of two types, stimulants or non-stimulants. While both can be effective, stimulant medications are usually the first choice because they are fast-acting. Approximately 70% to 80% of patients who are treated with stimulant medications have fewer symptoms while taking them. Methylphenidates is a stimulant medication. 

Occasionally, patients can not use stimulants either because of other health issues or because they do not like the way they make them feel. These individuals are then prescribed non-stimulants. Unfortunately, these do not work as quickly to relieve symptoms, but they can last up to 24 hours.

Methylphenidate (Ritalin,Concerta,Metadate) for children
Methylphenidate for children

Methylphenidate Side effects 

As with any medication, methylphenidate use can cause side effects. While this is not a complete list, some of the more common ones seen are:

  • Mood changes, feeling nervous or irritable
  • Insomnia
  • Fast heart rate, increase blood pressure
  • Loss of appetite, weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Headache

Conclusion

ADHD can be a difficult diagnosis for anyone, especially adults who may not have been diagnosed during adolescence. Thankfully several medications can help alleviate the symptoms it causes. Methylphenidate has been a staple of ADHD treatment since the 1950s. It is safe and effective and often the first choice in treatment. 

For patients who wish to seek treatment in the San Francisco area, EZCare Clinic is open seven days a week from 11 am to 7 pm. The knowledgeable practitioners will review your medical history and rule out any other ailments that could be causing similar symptoms. If appropriate, EZCare can prescribe methylphenidate as part of your treatment regimen. On staff, there are also clinicians who can offer counseling and coping techniques to aid in your recovery. Don’t let the symptoms of ADHD overwhelm you, call today. Appointments are appreciated, but walk-ins are welcome. 

EzCare Medical Appointment
EzCare Medical Appointment

 

 


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How does Focalin treat ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be a complicated condition to treat. Though in children, the symptoms are sometimes apparent in adults, diagnosis can be trickier. While both age groups present with the classic symptoms of inattention and impulse control, the third, hyperactivity may lessen as we age, making ADHD harder to recognize in an older population. Additionally, though every adult that is diagnosed later in life always had the condition, it might not have caused them any issues while younger due to their ability to function at a higher capacity and mask the symptoms altogether.

Despite when a patient is diagnosed, the issues caused by ADHD can be overwhelming. The inability to concentrate on the “mundane” tasks or being a disorganized student or worker can be challenging. It is important that individuals who are struggling find help for their condition; otherwise, what is an annoyance now, will become a burden as they are no longer able to cope. Depression and anxiety disorder are also often found in individuals who have been undiagnosed and are struggling to make sense of their situation.

Treatment with FOCALIN
Treatment with FOCALIN (dexmethylphenidate hydrochloride) Tablet

What causes ADHD?

Although the causes of ADHD are not yet known, researchers believe that several things may contribute to the condition, including:

  • Hereditary changes; ADHD tends to run in families
  • Chemical imbalance
  • Changes in the brain; areas of the brain that control attention are less active in children with ADHD
  • Poor nutrition
  • Infections
  • Smoking
  • Drinking
  • Substance abuse during pregnancy
  • Toxins such as lead
  • Brain injury or disorder; damage to the frontal lobe can cause problems with controlling impulses and emotions.

Despite what some may believe, too much sugar, watching too much TV, a poor home life, poor schools, or food allergies do not cause ADHD. Unfortunately, this condition cannot be prevented or cured, but with early diagnosis, intervention, and educational support, children and adults with ADHD can manage their symptoms.

Getting Diagnosed

Only a qualified medical professional such as a physician, psychologist, or psychiatrist correctly diagnoses ADHD. Unfortunately, other conditions can mimic this condition, making it necessary not to just diagnosis based on the symptoms alone, though recognizing the symptoms are essential to treatment. Most practitioners will conduct an in-depth clinical interview that includes discussing the symptoms to find the root cause. Once satisfied that the symptoms are indeed consistent with ADHD, most practitioners will use a rating scale completed by the patient and loved ones to rate their symptoms in various situations.

Next, the practitioner will conduct a physical exam to make sure that other medical issues are not the cause of symptoms as well as evaluate if the patient can safely take medications for ADHD. Once all of these things have been done, the medical doctor or mental health practitioner will determine if an ADHD diagnosis is appropriate and what kind of treatment is necessary.

Treatment of ADHD

Once a diagnosis has been made, the practitioner and patient will determine if medication, therapy, or both should be used as a treatment method. Some individuals, depending on the severity of ADHD, may want to start with one or the other, but not both. While therapy is a good tool to help individuals learn various coping techniques, most practitioners recommend that patients also take medication to get their symptoms under control.

There are several medicines available for ADHD; some are stimulants while others are not. Stimulant drugs regulate symptoms such as hyperactivity and impulsiveness by increasing the levels of chemicals such as dopamine and norepinephrine that help send signals in the brain. While non-stimulants work differently depending on what medication it is. Some increase nerve activity, but others work with the chemical messengers in the brain.

Focalin

Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate) is a mild stimulant that affects certain chemicals in the brain that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control.  Although it is considered a mild medication when compared to some others, Focalin can be useful in controlling behavior, increased organizational skills, and focus as well as improving the patient’s listening skills.

Focalin prechecks
Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate Hydrochloride) Important Prechecks

All medications can cause side effects. Focalin is no different.

Focalin side effects

Common side effects are:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nervousness
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Dizziness

Because Focalin has been shown to affect blood pressure, patients who have been prescribed this medication should be monitored for any changes.

Conclusion

Patients who believe the symptoms they are experiencing are affecting their day to day lives should be evaluated for ADHD. Regardless if you were not diagnosed during childhood, ADHD could be playing a part in your condition.

EZCare Clinic in San Francisco can help you put your life back on track. We have a full range of providers who can tailor any treatment to your needs. In addition to medications, we can also offer counseling to learn effective coping techniques.

Don’t wait, call EZCare Clinic today. Peace of mind is just around the corner.

EzCare Medical Appointment
EzCare Medical Appointment

 


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