Understanding-and-Handling-Your-ADD-1.jpg

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.

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. 


ADD_ADHD-Medication-Types-amp-Side-Effects-Image-1.jpg

Adult Attention Deficit Disorder (adult ADD) is a condition that can have a number of symptoms including lack of concentration, disorganization, mood swings, outbursts, and anxiety. Many adults don’t realize they have the condition because they believe that only children or teenagers can have ADD or ADHD. However, approximately 3 percent of adults in the United States have ADD and their symptoms can range from relatively mild to severely life-impacting.

Those with adult ADD often attribute their symptoms to anxiety or depression or tend to think they are just scatterbrained or have problems with focus or concentration. This is especially common in adults who were not diagnosed with ADD as a child. Though they have likely had the condition since the time they were young, many adults went through their school years undiagnosed and never realized their learning and socialization problems were due to this condition. Even those who were diagnosed in childhood may believe that they outgrew the condition and do not consider the possibility that they have carried the condition into their adult years.

Getting a diagnosis of adult ADD is important so that it can be properly treated by professionals who are knowledgeable about the condition. Though it can negatively impact an individual’s life, adult ADD is very treatable with therapy, counseling, medication, or a combination of treatments. Many of those with adult ADD benefit from talking with a professional and caring therapist or counselor in addition to taking stimulant, non-stimulant, and anti-depressant medication that helps them cope with their condition.

Medication Types for ADD/ADHD

Common Stimulant Medications

Short-acting stimulants must be taken every 3-6 hours and include drugs such as Adderall, Dexedrine, Focalin, Methylin, and Ritalin. Long-acting stimulants include the drugs Adderall XR, Concerta, Evekeo, Ritalin LA, Vyvanse, and Focalin XR and must be taken every 6-8 hours. Stimulants are effective treatments in about 70% of adult ADD cases. They are especially effective for treating hyperactivity, increasing attention span and focus, and improving interpersonal interaction.

Side effects of both short-acting and long-acting stimulants can be a loss of appetite, weight loss, sleep problems, and irritability. There is also worry that stimulants that are amphetamines or methylphenidates could cause heart attacks or psychiatric problems and they also carry the risk of addiction.

Common Non-Stimulant Medications

Non-stimulants must be taken anywhere from every 6 hours to every 24 hours and include drugs like Catapres, Intuniv, Kapvay, and Strattera. These medications work by boosting the brain chemical called norepinephrine, which helps regulate mood, reduce hyperactivity, and increase attention span.

Side effects of these non-stimulant medications include fatigue, low blood pressure, dry mouth, dizziness, behavior problems, abdominal pain, headaches, and irritability. However, many doctors choose to prescribe non-stimulants over stimulants because they do not pose the same risk for addiction or abuse.

Anti-Depressants

 In some adult ADD cases, anti-depressants can effectively treat symptoms. Commonly prescribed anti-depressants include Aventyl, Pamelor, and Wellbutrin. These types of medications can boost levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain and can increase attention span and lessen hyperactivity. However, many doctors find that they do not do so as well as many stimulants and non-stimulant ADD medications.

Common side effects of anti-depressants used to treat ADD include upset stomach, dizziness, elevated heart rate, anxiety, and fatigue. There is also an increased risk of suicide in those age 18-24 who take these medications with the highest probability occurring in the first month or two of use.

How Do I Know If ADD Medication is Right For Me?

Side Effects of ADHD Drugs

The only way to know if medication is the right choice for treating your adult ADD is to visit an ADD clinic in San Francisco and see a qualified doctor. Only after your condition is diagnosed and your doctor learns more about your specific symptoms and your history of treatment can he or she develop a customized plan to treat your condition. In general, medication might be the right choice for you if:

You have already tried therapy or counseling

The non-medication route of counseling or therapy should always be the first step in treating adult ADD. However, if you have already been diagnosed with the condition and have been attending therapy or counseling for a number of months and your condition has not significantly improved, your doctor may decide to add medication to your treatment plan.

You do not have a history of drug abuse

Those individuals suffering from adult ADD who also have a history of drug abuse or addiction may not be good candidates for medical treatments. Many drugs used to treat adult ADD, especially those in the stimulant category, can be addictive and should not be used for those who have a history of addiction.

You are willing to try different types of medications

Medications for adult ADD are not a magic bullet and while some work wonders for specific individuals, others may find no benefits at all or will find the side effects to be too much to take. It may take some time and patience to figure out which drug is right for your condition and you may experience some negative side effects along the way.

How Can I Find the Right ADD/ADHD Clinic in San Francisco?

One of the most important choices you can make when it comes to treating your adult ADD is finding a clinic that can effectively treat your condition. When looking for an ADD/ADHD clinic in San Francisco, you should find one that has knowledgeable doctors on staff who have been treating adult ADD patients for a number of years. You should also look for a clinic that creates customized treatment plans that are developed in partnership with their patients. The right clinic will have multiple treatment options including counseling, therapy, and prescription medications.

If you have symptoms of ADD/ADHD and would like to speak to a professional to see if you have the condition or if you have already been diagnosed and would like to speak to a doctor about treatment options, please reach out to EZCare Clinic for more information.

Read more about adult ADD and ADHD

WebMD Guide to ADHD in Adults

HELPGUIDE Trusted guide to mental & emotional health

Wikipedia: Adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder


Do-You-Have-ADD-ADHD-.png

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is usually associated with children and teens. Officially affecting around five percent of children in the United States, the number of undiagnosed children with the disorder is thought to be even higher. ADHD in children can affect their success at school, relationships with their peers, and their ability to develop healthy self esteem.

Many believe that ADHD is something children grow out of, but the truth is that about half of those who have ADHD in childhood carry it into adulthood where it continues to impact their lives. If left untreated, ADHD can cause a number of problems that can make life much more difficult. It’s imperative that individuals know the symptoms of adult ADHD, especially if they were not diagnosed as children and suspect they may have always had the disorder. Here are signs you may have this disorder:

Adult ADHD Information

Attention Deficit Disorder Symptoms

Lack of focus or hyperfocus

Adults with ADHD tend to have problems with focus. In some, it shows up as a lack of focus. They are unable to complete projects, don’t follow conversations well, tend to procrastinate, and are easily distracted by noise, other people, or activity. Others display signs of hyperfocus and get lost in projects to the point they don’t respond to outside stimuli and lose track of time and other commitments.

Lack of organization

Those with adult ADHD have problems keeping their lives organized. They often lose track of items they need such as keys or planners, are chronically late, forget appointments, and procrastinate on tasks they find uninteresting. This can lead to major problems in their jobs and also cause issues in relationships.

Impulsive behavior

ADHD can cause an individual to display impulsive behavior including drinking too much, overeating, overspending, and acting inappropriately in social settings. The deficit affects their ability to think their actions through and they often sacrifice future gains for what feels good at the moment.

Emotional fluctuations

It’s normal to have a bit of moodiness, but those with ADHD experience emotional fluctuations much more intensely and rapidly than most. Adult ADHD sufferers often feel bored and look for intense stimulation to keep them engaged. They also find small stressors difficult to tolerate and everyday life can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression.

Restlessness

Most of us welcome a chance to sit down and relax after a busy day, but those with adult ADHD find relaxation difficult. Their restless minds and bodies crave constant stimulation and this leads to fidgeting, an inability to sit still, and a need to keep themselves busy. Most ADHD sufferers also have a very restless mind and tend to replay events or frustrations over and over in their head. Even if they are able to calm their bodies at certain times during the day, their brains hardly ever rest.

Fatigue

The constant stress of overthinking and stimulation-seeking has its consequences, and in the ADHD adult, the consequence is often fatigue. Many people with the disorder have sleep problems and this combined with a constant effort to focus can lead them to feel drained and tired. The fatigue impacts their ability to concentrate, even more, creating a cycle that can be very difficult to break.

Attention Deficit Disorder Treatment

Attention Deficit Disorder Symptoms

Adult ADHD can be a difficult condition to live with. However, it is treatable and the level of treatment depends on your specific symptoms and circumstances. When you schedule an appointment with an ADHD health specialist, he or she may suggest the following forms of treatment:

Education

Knowing how the disorder affects you, what may have caused it, and how to explain it to others is an imperative part of the treatment process. This is especially important if you are newly diagnosed and have little knowledge of the condition. Knowing how to express yourself and set boundaries that help you thrive despite your condition is part of the education process. Your doctor may also suggest that your family and friends educate themselves about the condition as well so they can understand your behaviors and help facilitate your treatment.

ADHD Therapy

Therapy is an effective component of the ADHD treatment plan and different types of therapy can be used depending on your unique condition. Cognitive behavioral therapy has proven very useful in treating adult ADHD. This type of therapy involves recognizing unhealthy thoughts and habits and teaching your mind to stop the thoughts or replace them with more positive thoughts before they become damaging.

Psychotherapy may also be part of your treatment plan and includes building trust with your therapist so you can discuss challenges and self-esteem issues. Psychotherapy is often used with those sufferers who also have symptoms of depression and/or anxiety.

Family or group therapy is a third option that you can explore with your therapist. Living with ADHD does not just affect you, it affects everyone in your life. Those you love the most may be frustrated with your actions and not know the correct way to help you get better. Family or group therapy can help them manage their stress and anger and learn positive, effective ways to enhance your treatment.

ADHD Medications

Medication can very useful in treating adult ADHD and is often used in a comprehensive treatment plan. Stimulants such as Adderall, Ritalin, or Concerta or non-stimulants like Clonidine and Strattera may be prescribed to help regulate chemicals in the brain and decrease symptoms. Your doctor may also prescribe medication to manage your depression or anxiety symptoms if you experience these as well. Medication should never be the first choice for treatment and should always be used in conjunction with therapy and other treatment avenues.

Recognizing the signs of adult ADHD is an important first step in the treatment process. While it’s normal to have occasional moodiness or to show up late to an appointment when you are busy, chronic mood fluctuations, an inability to focus, and disorganization that affects your career or relationship are a sign of something more serious. If you suspect you have adult ADHD, schedule an appointment with a specialist who can analyze your situation and develop a treatment plan that can help you manage your condition and live a fuller life. If you have any questions about ADHD, please reach out to one of our medical professionals.


EzCare Medical Clinic. All rights reserved.