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Getting Help With Adult ADHD
For a long time, doctors focused solely on diagnosing and treating attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. However, they eventually discovered an adult version of this mental illness. If you suspect you might have adult ADHD, it is essential that you seek help from a psychiatrist.
Before your appointment with a psychiatrist, take the time to educate yourself about the symptoms, causes and treatments available.
Symptoms of adult ADHD
Many people blame the symptoms of ADHD on being naturally forgetful, stressed, busy or old. While those could be the cause, the symptoms might also have a connection with this form of mental illness. Following are the most common signs to watch for if suspecting ADHD.
- Difficulty following directions
- Struggling to remember information
- Finding it hard to organize tasks
- Consistently not completing work on time
- Trouble concentrating
- Restlessness or having a hard time sitting still for long periods
If not diagnosed and treated by a psychiatrist, someone with this mental illness can begin to have trouble in various aspects of life, including home, work, school and recreational activities. Patients often struggle with a laundry list of things such as boredom, outbursts of anger, anxiety, depression and mood swings. In some individuals, low motivation combined with poor self-esteem leads to substance abuse.
Causes of adult ADHD
The primary cause of adult ADHD is genetics. Someone diagnosed is four times more likely to have a blood relative with this same mental illness. However, there appears to be a link between this condition and nutrition as well. For instance, both sugar and food addiction can produce many of the behaviors. In particular, refined sugar seems to be of significant concern.
When visiting a psychiatrist, that individual will also consider a brain injury and the environment as part of the diagnosis and treatment. While a brain injury as the cause is relatively rare, doctors do believe that exposure to lead is a strong contributor. A pregnant woman who smokes can put the fetus at risk for having ADHD while young or later on in life.
Treating this condition
While many people feel confused and frightened after hearing a psychiatrist tell them they have adult ADHD, there are viable treatments available. As part of this, the doctor will develop a plan specific to the patient. This entails medication, education, family support and therapy. With everything combined, someone with this mental health issue can live a productive and happy life.
As for medications to treat adult ADHD, the most common brands include Focalin, Vyvanse, Ritalin, Methylin, Daytrana, Dexedrine and Adderall. However, there are many others, as well as herbal supplements that can help. Even so, a patient should not depend on medication alone for treating this mental illness.
Behavioral therapy also plays a critical role in bringing and keeping adult ADHD under control. While cognitive and behavioral therapy helps boost self-esteem, stress management reduces bouts of anxiety, stress and depression. Life coaching is also beneficial. With this, the patient has set goals to work toward. Educating the family is another important tool in winning the battle against adult ADHD. The more that loved ones understand, the less stress it puts on the patient.
Living with adult ADHD
If you receive a diagnosis of adult ADHD from a psychiatrist, remember that you have many options for continuing to live your life the way you want.
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