In the face of ongoing stigmatization, more adults are seeking evaluations if they think they might have a mental condition. ADHD is the most prevalent neurodevelopmental disorder in children, and it can persist well into adulthood. Jennifer Minami, MD, a psychiatrist at Loma Linda University’s Behavioral Health, says that many adults have not been diagnosed. Although it may be difficult to accept an adult’s diagnosis of ADHD, with the right support and information, this condition can be managed.
ADHD is a disorder of the brain that can cause people to feel restless and have trouble concentrating. The person may have problems with their memory, organizing themselves, or following instructions without distraction.
Minami says that while the causes of ADHD may not be fully understood, they are known to have a genetic component.
Minami says that people with ADHD not only behave differently but also have structural differences.
ADHD can affect the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for many brain functions. Minami states that impulse control, time management, and organization are some of the essential functions.
Adult ADHD: Specific Challenges
Adults can be affected by procrastination and poor time management. They may also have difficulty in school or at work. Adults with ADHD are more likely to have difficulty finding and maintaining a job than neurotypicals, according to research. This is particularly true if the child was not treated.
Minami explains that she sees many individuals in her clinic who have undiagnosed ADHD but are labeled as “lazy”. This is because they have been underachieving or procrastinating for a very long time.
Other symptoms of ADHD can affect relationships, including low frustration tolerance and speaking without thought. Minami says the first step to treatment is to educate both the person who has been diagnosed and those close to them. This includes their partner or family members. She says that by educating people about ADHD symptoms and causes, as well as treatment options, it helps reduce the amount of blame placed on the individual for interpersonal stress. This encourages a greater partnership with the treatment plan.
What to expect when you seek help
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ADHD can be diagnosed and treated by many psychiatrists, psychiatric practitioners, nurses, and psychologists. Minami recommends asking these questions to any clinician you are considering seeking treatment from.
What is your training and experience in treating ADHD?
What treatments do you offer for ADHD?
What happens in an ADHD assessment with you?
Minami says a comprehensive ADHD assessment includes a detailed account of childhood symptoms. Information about the patient, including medical and family history, will be provided by multiple people. The assessment will also determine whether other psychiatric conditions are present or could explain symptoms that the person believes to be caused by ADHD. According to Minami, symptoms of depression or anxiety can mimic ADHD. Additionally, people with ADHD are at a higher risk of developing substance abuse disorders. Substance abuse may also impact a person’s concentration, organization, and persistence. Neuropsychological testing may be the last step in a comprehensive evaluation.
Stimulants are the most common ADHD medication prescribed, and they can reduce symptoms in as many as 70% of adults. The daily medication can reduce hyperactive behaviors and fidgeting.
Minami says that while non-stimulants may not be as effective in reducing ADHD symptoms, they can still be beneficial under certain circumstances.
- The stimulants didn’t reduce symptoms enough.
- The side effects of stimulants, such as insomnia or weight gain, are unmanageable or intolerable.
- Substance abuse problems
- Certain non-stimulants can be helpful for people with mental health issues. Some people who suffer from anxiety, tics, or depression can benefit from certain non-stimulants.
CBT is an effective form of psychotherapy that aims to change negative thought patterns. CBT also aims at changing how patients perceive themselves, their abilities, and their future. Minami says that CBT is effective in addressing issues like low self-esteem and depression.
Minami believes that ADHD can be treated very effectively. Your life can be transformed by a diagnosis, which brings clarity and peace. You can better manage your symptoms and understand them. It may be that you have other treatment options. “A diagnosis of ADHD is the first important step towards a productive and fulfilling lifestyle.”
May is Mental Health Month. Loma Linda University Behavioral Health in Redlands is the leading provider of mental health services in the region. They offer a wide range of programs and services that are tailored to your specific needs. Murrieta and Rancho Cucamonga