What is ADHD?
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder. Persistent patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, or a combination of these characterize it. ADHD significantly impacts an individual’s daily functioning and well-being.
What causes ADHD?
ADHD emerges in childhood and can persist into adulthood. It can affect academic, social, and occupational performance, but its exact cause is not fully understood.
Some scientists believe ADHD is related to genetic factors. Many other conditions can look like it. Therefore, it is important to see a psychologist for the correct diagnosis.
- Talking excessively
- Having trouble taking turns
- Facing difficulties in getting along with others
- Having a hard time resisting temptation
- Forgetting or losing things frequently
- Frequently daydreaming
- Squirming or fidgeting
- Making careless mistakes or taking unnecessary risks
How is ADHD diagnosed?
A mental health professional, such as a psychologist, can diagnose ADHD through a clinical evaluation. They gather information about the individual’s behavior, developmental history, and any symptoms indicative of ADHD. Unlike most other mental health professionals, psychologists also perform objective tests to measure the brain’s ability to attend to and process information in order to help discern the presence of ADHD. A thorough assessment is often needed to differentiate ADHD from other common conditions- depression, anxiety, brain injuries, substance use, exposure to toxins, learning disabilities, and other developmental conditions.
What are treatments for ADHD?
Psychologists may use various psychotherapies to treat ADHD in individuals. Your provider may also work with your family doctor for prescriptions in addition to therapy.
Some therapies our providers use are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, and Group Therapy.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focuses on helping individuals use compensatory mental and behavioral strategies to help build focus, mental stamina, and slow down their impulsive responses. This therapy has been well-studied and is typically used by professionals.
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy teaches parents strategies to manage their child’s behavior and improve communication. These programs can be effective in helping parents create a structured and supportive environment for their child with ADHD and other behavioral concerns.
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy combines elements of mindfulness meditation with cognitive-behavioral techniques. It helps individuals with ADHD become more aware of their thoughts and feelings and learn to manage them, promoting greater self-regulation and emotional control.
Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
Interpersonal therapy can be useful for individuals with ADHD who struggle with social relationships, self-esteem, and self-image. It can help improve communication and relationship skills.
Interpersonal Process Group Therapy (IPGT)
A small group of individuals meet with a psychologist in a supportive and confidential environment. Here they share their experiences, receive feedback, and provide mutual support. A main focus of discussions is around patterns of behavior that get in their way of successful relationships with friends/peers, family, colleagues, teachers/bosses, etc. Through in the moment processing, members learn new healthy ways of relating while meeting their needs.
It is important to seek help as soon as possible. Some individuals with ADHD may notice their symptoms worsen without treatment.
Resources for ADHD
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– Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993), American Author
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Why seek help from a psychologist rather than some other type of therapist?
- Psychologists are among the most rigorously trained mental health professionals. Psychologists complete doctorate level coursework, several years of clinical rotations/practicums, a year long predoctoral internship, & a year long postdoctoral fellowship.
- In addition to having the highest level of training, psychologists are licensed to complete psychological assessments (often with comparative normative data to help you understand and target a specific concern) to fully understand a concern. Psychologists often see this initial assessment as the key to designing an informed, individualized, and focused treatment plan.
- Psychologists also receive extensive training in research in order to ensure only treatments that have been studied by researchers and shown to work, are used.
- Psychologists often have medical / healthcare backgrounds and work closely with physicians and other medical providers when biological interventions are incorporated into treatment (e.g., medications).