ADHD Management for Adults
When someone brings up ADHD, many people picture a hyper elementary-school child who can’t seem to sit still. While some patients with ADHD fits that description, it does not paint the full picture of the disorder. Not only can people have ADHD without hyperactivity as the primary symptom, but adults can live with the disorder as well.
Mental health professionals and the general public are becoming more aware of the prevalence of ADHD in adults. As such, recent years have brought a surge in the number of diagnoses. In fact, between 2007 and 2016, the number of adults getting diagnosed with ADHD rose 123 percent.
In many ways, receiving this diagnosis can be scary and overwhelming. However, it can also be a positive moment in a person’s life. Patients start to understand themselves in new ways. They may start to see why they have had to work twice as hard as their peers and still struggle. No matter how adult ADHD patients feel about the diagnosis, they should all know one important fact: this disorder is manageable.
Know Your Symptoms
The first step in managing adult ADHD is identifying your unique set of symptoms. This process can be emotionally difficult, but it is well worth the effort. After all, you cannot manage your symptoms if you don’t have a firm understanding of what they are.
Knowing your symptoms is about more than having a general understanding of ADHD. Each patient is different. First, you must know what type of ADHD you have. There are three kinds:
- Predominantly Inattentive
- Predominantly Hyperactive (formerly called ADD)
Each type of ADHD comes with different symptoms, and combination ADHD can include symptoms of both of the other kinds. Furthermore, patients can have some symptoms of their type without others. A counselor can help you identify the ways ADHD affects you.
Find Practical Symptom-Management Techniques
After discovering your unique set of symptoms, you can find ways to work around those issues and manage ADHD. For many people, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) provides relief. Sadly, many people with ADHD live with negative internal monologues about their perceived lack of success. After all, these patients may have struggled for a lifetime without help for their symptoms. That leaves them feeling like they are defective because some things are harder for them than their peers. CBT actively stops that inner critic, which gives patients the room to heal.
In addition to CBT, many people with ADHD find relief when they:
- Learn to practice mindfulness
- Use timers and reminders
- Get enough sleep
- Get into an exercise routine
- Prioritize good nutrition
- Use positive affirmations
- Create schedules
Some of these techniques may work for you, while others may not. A counselor can help you determine the best coping mechanisms for your unique situation.
Talk to a Psychiatrist
Although non-medication coping mechanisms can help many patients, some may also need medication in order to cope with the disorder. Although there is a stigma surrounding ADHD medication, patients should not feel shame for taking the medicine they need in order to stabilize. For both children and adults, the first-line option for treating ADHD with medication are stimulants.
This prescription may seem counterintuitive to some because stimulants usually make people feel hyperactive. However, most people with ADHD respond to stimulants well. These medications allow patients to organize their thoughts and remain calm.
When patients choose medicine for ADHD, medication management becomes a vital part of the treatment plan. This service allows doctors to ensure the medication works properly and keep patients safe. Patients see the prescribing doctor on a regular basis.
If you believe you have ADHD or have been recently diagnosed, contact LifeStance Health. Our doctors and counselors help patients understand their disorders and find tools to help them thrive.