So finally, you have a name for it - Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. Variable grades in school, difficulty completing work, procrastination, trouble with relationships, all of it, finally explained. Now, you go home with a new pill to take and...what happens now? How is taking a pill going to help with all of this? Let’s talk about it!

Diagnosing ADHD

As you probably already know, ADHD isn’t the easiest condition to diagnose. People complain that it is overdiagnosed, others say it is underdiagnosed - both are true! Its symptoms are so variable and, to one degree or another, so common that reviewing carefully a person’s story provides the greatest accuracy. Then there are the people who believe “it’s all in your head”, which is not true. Neurobiology, genetic studies and brain scans have all been helpful, although we still have a lot to learn. This can be said about anything within our very complex bodies.

Still more problematic are the many look alike conditions that can mimic Adult ADHD. Chronic anxiety, early childhood trauma, depression, bipolar disorder, autistic spectrum disorder and even early schizophrenia have symptoms that at times be confused with ADHD. Each of these conditions cause vastly different long-term problems that need to be addressed as early as possible. When you have been given the wrong diagnosis, which is very common, you will likely also be given a less than optimum treatment. This is such a common issue that clinicians need to remain open to this possibility as more than one condition is very common. Additionally, as time passes, symptoms can evolve and our understanding of the condition must evolve with it.

Treating ADHD

Let’s move on to treatment. Unfortunately, this is also very contentious. Some lead with psycho-education, others lead with medication and still others recommend both. There are many variables but basically it is believed that medications may increase nerve growth factors while psychoeducation helps your nerves to know which way to grow.

The real issue is the need for experience treating the condition. ADHD causes problems that make others feel, as one author put it, “crazy, stupid or lazy”. People can see that you are smart, they can’t see that you have ADHD and this is true of a typical therapist as well. If you are being told that you, “simply aren’t trying hard enough”, consider a referral. Whether it’s individual therapy, marital therapy, group therapy or even life coaching, that is exactly what an inexperienced clinician is going to tell you. If you notice a mid-day crash on your medication and your clinician tells you, “One pill in the morning should last all day”, again, consider a referral. We are all different and need to report to our clinicians how a medication is working in the morning, afternoon and evening.

What is an ADHD Coach?

Dr. Abigail Levrini and I shared a podcast together and she shared her many experiences helping people with ADHD. She now trains ADHD coaches who help the entire family better understand, adjust and help each other through the process. Most of the time, this is an extremely treatable condition and, overtime, tremendous change is possible. When talking to your clinician ask about the availability of an ADHD coach.

Here are some other excellent resources:

Begin the process of self-exploration, reflection and integration that will enable you to identify limiting memories, perceptions and habits. Dr. Seng will gently guide you through understanding where you are on your journey and how you’ve gotten there. You’ll discover how it is possible to become trapped by the past-your memories and your attachments to them - and how you can overcome any obstacle in your life through a healthy love and forgiveness of yourself and everyone in your life. This is a must for anyone suffering from addiction, depression or common behavioral disorders!