Somewhere around 5% of adults have ADHD and there is some reason to believe that the figure may be growing. Many of these people, however, do not fit our popular stereotype of someone with the disorder, and many have not been formally diagnosed. Why does this matter? If ADHD behaviors are mistakenly interpreted as personality or character traits, the person exhibiting them may be blamed rather than helped. What are some of the misattributions made to behavior manifested by ADHD-disordered adults? These individuals can be viewed as selfish, passive-aggressive, unmotivated, uncaring, or not a team player. They can seem frivolous, self-centered, lazy, or rude. They can blame themselves for being scatter-brained, out-of-step, or clueless. All of these perceptions can affect work success, relationship success, mood stability and physical health and longevity.
Adults more often question whether they might have ADHD if they are experiencing school or career difficulties. When ADHD is causing relationship problems, it can be years before the disorder is named.
What To Do?
If you are a teenager or adult who suspects that you might have ADHD, the first step is diagnosis. While there are computerized and paper-and-pencil tests that will help determine attention span and the prevalence of behaviors that are known to be related to ADHD, by far the most reliable diagnostic tool is the clinical interview. This is simply a session or several with a therapist experienced with ADD/ADHD who can listen to you describe the aspects of your behavior, experience and feelings that lead you to suspect that you might have this condition. The therapist can guide you through a process of ruling out other likely explanations for your symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, drug side effects, or other mental or physical health disorders.
Medication & Neurofeedback. ADHD can be managed. There are medications that can tune up the part of the brain that filters out extraneous stimuli, thereby increasing the ability to focus on tasks at hand. I highly recommend that you consult with a psychiatrist instead of a primary care physician if you are interested in medications. I can help you find one who is knowledgable about the recent advances in ADHD medication management. There is a form of biofeedback training called neurofeedback that can help patients with ADHD to recognize and control brain-wave patterns that strengthen the ability to focus. This self-training can augment or even replace medications for ADHD. I have developed a partnership with a practitioner of neurofeedback who will make sessions available in my office. Call Lisa Armstrong directly at (919) 604-1099 or go to her website for more information http://www.reshapeyourbrain.com/.
My own involvement is in offering organizational and life coaching services that provide a structure and help keep the individual moving toward daily and longer-term goals, and individual and couples counseling and psychotherapy that help repair the damage that living with ADHD has caused to self esteem, relationship health and confidence. I have worked with many adults with ADD and ADHD and welcome new clients who would like to explore whether they might have this condition.