ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a condition that affects approximately 11 to 20 million adults and children in America today. While the numbers are steadily rising, the reasons behind these staggering statistics are yet unknown. Although many believe that ADHD is a newly discovered disorder, knowledge of it has been around since the late 1700s. This condition was unlabeled until the early 1900s. Throughout history, the symptoms of this disorder have been called several things, including “the fidgets.”
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In 1936 the first medication to treat ADHD was approved by the FDA. Until 1955, when Methylphenidate, a stimulate, was released, Benzedrine was the only medication for this disorder. Unfortunately, not all patients can use stimulant medications, making the only treatments inaccessible until the late 1990s and early 2000s when scientists and professionals developed newer drugs.
What Is ADHD?
ADHD is a condition characterized by inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Despite a considerable amount of research conducted each year, the exact cause of ADHD is still unknown. However, researchers believe that several factors, including environmental toxins, brain injury, or alcohol and drug use during pregnancy, may be contributing factors.
Symptoms of ADHD include the inability to concentrate or focus on one task at a time. Moreover, they exhibit behaviors such as excessive talkativeness, inability to wait on others, disorganization, lack of patience, and difficulty following directions.
Unfortunately, getting a proper diagnosis of ADHD can be as complicated as the disorder itself. Symptoms of several other mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression can be mistaken for ADHD. Only a qualified practitioner experienced in treating patients with this disorder can make the determination. The diagnosis must begin by reviewing the medical history and an examination that not only rules out other issues but also evaluates the patient for the ability to take medications if treatment is appropriate. To be diagnosed, patients must have symptoms of inattention and hyperactive-impulsive behavior for at least six months, and that they must be present and disruptive to everyday life.
Common ADHD Medications
Most patients are treated with both medications and behavioral modification therapy. During therapy, therapists suggest patients effective techniques and alternative behaviors to help them cope with their disorder. Counselors typically also help the patients work through any emotional problems that stem from being diagnosed as well.
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Pharmaceutical treatments are typically one of two forms, stimulant or non-stimulant medications. Both types of medicines effectively treat ADHD, although stimulants seem to be better at controlling the symptoms than non-stimulants. Unfortunately, not everyone is a candidate for stimulant therapy because of other health conditions such as high blood pressure or heart disease. Non-stimulant medications are often longer-lasting than stimulant medications and can be useful for 24 hours, whereas stimulants might work for a short time and then wear off quickly.
The physician first put their patients on low-dose stimulant medication. After that, the doctor titrates the levels to the optimal dosage. Because stimulants can be addictive, doctors will want to monitor your progress, so periodic visits to the clinic are necessary.
Some of the most popular ADHD medications are:
Stimulants for ADHD Treatment
Methylphenidate; marketed under Ritalin, Concerta, Daytrana, Quillivant, and other names
Non-stimulant drugs for ADHD
Some websites are marketing “natural” remedies such as supplements. Still, at this time, the FDA has not approved any for treatment due to lack of evidence of efficacy and concerns with the formulation.
ADHD Treatment Misconceptions
For many years, people believed that children with ADHD needed better, more effective discipline techniques or that as they matured, they would grow out of it. Unfortunately, neither is correct. The ability to control their condition without medication and support from therapists may turn into a limitation or disability for children or adults.
It may seem that some children “grow out” of their symptoms. But the truth is that they are better prepared to handle ADHD as they mature. Additionally, some adults displayed no symptoms during adolescence, but once they entered the workforce or took on the responsibilities of running a household, the signs that were once unnoticed became apparent. Contrary to popular belief, even though they were not diagnosed as a child, these adults had the disorder all their life.
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Get Help at EZCare Clinic
EZCare Clinic in San Francisco can help adults struggling with the symptoms of ADHD. Dedicated physicians, clinicians, and therapists are available Monday through Sunday from 11 am to 7 pm who can diagnose and prescribe the necessary medications and work with you to learn effective coping techniques. Working with an experienced medical team is the first step to living a better, more fulfilled life. Call today for an appointment at (415) 966-0848 or schedule an appointment online. You don’t have to suffer alone; help is available.