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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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Managing Your ADHD in San Francisco Bay Area

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD was once thought to be a childhood behavioral condition that could be controlled by discipline, and as they matured, the child would grow out of it. Characterized by bouts of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, these children had difficulty at school, at home and everywhere in between. Managing ADHD can be difficult.

History of ADHD

Contrary to what mainstream America thought, these “immature” children were actually suffering from a condition that had been identified hundreds of years ago, although the name ADHD is a relatively new term. As far back as the late 1700s in Germany, physicians labeled these children with “attention disorders.” Over the years, other names have been attached to the symptoms of ADHD such as “Fidgety kids,” or “Mental Restlessness.”

Despite what we may call the condition, in the 1990s and early 2000s, an explosion of newer, more effective medications were developed. The oldest known treatment, Benzedrine, was first approved by the FDA in 1936, but it wasn’t until the ‘50s when Ritalin came on the market and suddenly became the gold standard for treatment that another viable option was available. With such huge gaps in the release of medications, it is no surprise that when newer, more effective treatments became available in the 90s that this condition became so well-known.

ADHD disorder history

Today, after many years of research, we now know that ADHD doesn’t just affect kids. Many adults who are inattentive or impulsive are shocked to be diagnosed. Although it was once thought that children “grew out” of ADHD, we now know that is not the case. As children matured, they became better equipped to handle their symptoms and often sought careers where the disorder helped rather than hurt them, hiding the symptoms. In contrast, adults who thought they never had symptoms as a child are now finding that they were better able than others to mask the symptoms of the disorder growing up. Sometimes it isn’t until adulthood, and demanding jobs or lifestyles makes it harder for them, and the once hidden symptoms begin to emerge.

Treatment options for ADHD

Unfortunately, there is no cure for ADHD, and you can’t prevent the disease from occurring. In fact, researchers can’t even find the exact cause of the disorder though many believe that there are factors that may influence your chances of being afflicted.

  • Heredity
  • Chemical imbalances
  • Changes in the brain
  • Smoking, drinking, or substance abuse during pregnancy
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Brain injury or disorder

Though we may never know how to prevent ADHD, we do know some very effective ways to treat it in both children and adults, therapy, and medications. Therapy is a useful place for patients to learn how to address the symptoms of their disorder, how to deal with the emotions associated with it, and coping techniques. Some individuals, especially adults, tend to shy away from any counseling but learning how to deal with the confusion and other emotions is the best way to prevent additional conditions such as anxiety or depression that can result from the frustration.

Since the first medication was prescribed for ADHD in the ’30s, modern pharmaceuticals have come a long way. The most popular treatment options are stimulants, which may sound odd, considering hyperactivity is one of the symptoms of the disorder. However, these medications work because they increase the availability of certain chemical in the brain to make it work more effectively. Stimulants are estimated to lessen the symptoms of ADHD by 70% to 80%. Though there are several, a few examples of stimulant medications for ADHD are Adderall, Vyvanse, Ritalin, and Focalin.

Treatment options for ADHD in San Francisco

There are also several non-stimulant medications that can be used to treat ADHD such as antidepressants, or ADHD -specific non-stimulants. While these medications are not as popular as stimulants, they don’t cause agitation, sleeplessness, or lack of appetite, nor are they addictive. Non-stimulant medicines also tend to last longer than stimulants, which can wear off abruptly. Examples of non-stimulants include Strattera, Clonidine, and Guanfacine.

Once a diagnosis has been made, most practitioners will determine the type of treatment necessary. Often this will include therapy. Typically, adults with ADHD who have both medication and counseling treatment are better prepared to control their symptoms and learn to live fuller, happier lives.

ADHD Treatment in SF

Individuals who live in the San Francisco area can turn to EZCare Clinic for all their ADHD treatment. On staff, doctors are qualified to determine if a patient has the condition as well as distinguishing it from other conditions whose symptoms can mimic those of ADHD and provide medications. Counseling services are also available for individuals who need help coping with the emotions of ADHD and who can teach different techniques that can help control symptoms.

Open Monday through Sunday from 11 am to 7 pm. Call today at (415) 966-0848 or make your appointment online.

 


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