Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is a neurological condition affecting a patient's ability to concentrate. ADHD is caused by a complex interplay of biological factors which, when taken together, cause a significant deficit in the brain's ability to focus and maintain concentration.
While the exact causes of ADHD have yet to be fully identified, it is believed that certain brain chemicals, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, play a major role in the development of the condition.
If you've been diagnosed with ADHD, or believe you may have ADHD, it is important to understand that your symptoms are not "all in your head". Many people incorrectly believe ADHD is caused by environmental factors, such as bad parenting, poor diet, or too much TV, and these harmful myths further stigmatize the condition and prevent patients from getting the help they need.
ADHD involves a constellation of symptoms, some of which include:
In addition to these symptoms, ADHD comes in three distinct subtypes as well: predominantly hyperactive, predominantly inattentive, and combined. Not all patients have all the symptoms of ADHD, and differing factors among patients such as age and gender can greatly affect which symptoms appear.
ADHD is likewise often further complicated by comorbid conditions such as depression, anxiety, and autism-spectrum disorders. These conditions can make ADHD more difficult to treat, and serve to further the importance of a comprehensive diagnosis by a trained professional.
While symptoms of ADHD are typically apparent before the age of 12, many patients remain undiagnosed well into adulthood, particularly women and those with the predominantly inattentive subtype of ADHD. Common, incorrect beliefs about ADHD being a condition seen in boys and young children only often delays diagnosis and furthers needless suffering.
Like most psychiatric and neurological conditions, ADHD is often highly stigmatized and misunderstood by the public. Common beliefs about patients with ADHD being lazy, spoiled, or stupid continue to persist despite the medical consensus that ADHD is a real, biological condition. Patients seeking treatment are often harshly judged, not just by their friends and family, but by others in the medical profession as well, which only serves to further complicate the process of finding proper treatment.
While there may not be a cure for ADHD, the condition can be successfully treated, and patients who receive the proper care often report a significant remission in symptoms and a greatly improved quality of life.
Treatments typically involve a combination of both medicine and face-to-face sessions with a qualified counselor. While the idea of taking medication may be intimidating to some patients, particularly those who have never tried ADHD medications before, medical treatments for ADHD have been shown to be very safe and effective, with minimal side effects and an overall improvement in symptoms. Common medications used to treat ADHD include stimulants, such as Ritalin and Adderall, as well as newer, non-stimulant alternatives, such as Strattera and Intuiv.
Additionally, many patients opt to treat their ADHD without medication. While there is still much debate as to what the best course of treatment is for ADHD, talk therapy has shown to be an effective form of treatment for most patients, whether combined with medication or taken on its own. Ultimately, however, the right course of treatment differs from person to person, and can only be properly determined with close counsel from your doctor.
If you have ADHD, or believe you may be suffering from ADHD and are interested in seeking treatment, we can help. At Overcomers Counseling, we recognize the enormous bravery required by patients seeking treatment, and strive to provide a safe, judgment-free environment where those struggling with this condition can find help, and a supportive, empathetic community.
Seeking treatment can be an overwhelming and frightening step for anyone to take. At Overcomers Counseling of Colorado Springs, we seek to make that step as easy and as painless as possible for you. If you're ready to get help, please don't hesitate to reach out. Our counselors are looking forward to speaking with you, and helping you take the first step on this journey.