Attention Deficit Disorders

Attention deficit disorders

What is ADHD/ADD?
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is a developmental disorder with symptoms appearing before the age of 12, lasting for at least a 6 month period across at least two different settings (ex. home/school). Symptoms of inattention +/- hyperactivity are severe enough to interfere with function in social and academic capacities.

ADHD in Adults
Research suggests that about two-thirds of children with ADHD will continue to suffer significant impairment into adulthood. The tricky part is, since the adult with ADHD has never known any different way of being, they may unfortunately believe they are simply not smart or capable, owing particularly to shaming experiences from childhood. It is common for an adult whose child is diagnosed with ADHD, to then seek out assessment for themselves as they become more familiar with the disorder.

ADHD Symptoms
Particularly important symptons of ADHD in adulthood include:
- procrastinating/motivationally challenged
- distractibility
- disorganization
- forgetfulness

Other symptoms may include:
- chronically late
- difficulty managing paperwork
- impulsivity
- irritability/anger control problems
- mood swings
- fidgety
- underachieving
- hoarding, compulsive shopping/eating/exercise, gambling
- cannabis dependency especially, also caffeine and alcohol abuse

**symptoms are significant enough to impair function in social and educational or occupational settings.

ADHD Medications
ADHD is best treated with a multimodal approach. Pharmacological management in the form of stimulants, usually amphetamine or methylphenidate based, are often a component of this treatment. These medications work to stimulate areas of the brain under active in attention deficit disorders, particularly the prefrontal cortex, as well as to increase the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine.

In addition, cognitive-behavioural and mindfulness based psychotherapy can be quite helpful. The following two books are identified as being particularly useful:

1) Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy for Adult ADHD: Targeting Executive Dysfunction. Mary V. Solanto 

2) The Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD: An 8-Step Program for Strengthening Attention, Managing Emotions, and Achieving Your Goals. Lydia Zylowska 

Totallyadd is a great website for further information on adult ADHD. 


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