By Dr. Richie Koenig
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that is typically diagnosed in childhood but can also be diagnosed in adults. Mainstream and social media misconceptions of ADHD symptoms are unfortunately very common. These misunderstandings can trivialize the severity of the condition and reinforce general misinformation around the diagnosis. It is also a common clinical presentation that affects approximately 4.4% of the United States’ population.
People with ADHD may have difficulty paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors, and/or are overly active or restless. ADHD symptoms can also have significant impacts on daily life that can lead to serious impairments in numerous domains of daily functioning. ADHD symptoms can negatively impact academic and professional performance, interpersonal relationships, and one’s overall well-being and quality of life. Common symptoms of ADHD may also include difficulty paying attention, being easily distracted, trouble following instructions, challenges with organization, impulsivity, restlessness, trouble with task completion, and struggles with regulating emotionality.
Symptoms of ADHD can also vary from person to person and may change over time. Typically, the prognosis for people with ADHD is positive and hopeful. With proper treatment and support, most people with ADHD can lead healthy, productive, and meaningful lives. Treatment typically includes individual psychotherapy (CBT and DBT) in conjunction with closely monitored medication management. Medications that are indicated to help manage symptoms may include stimulant (Adderall, Vyvanse, Concerta, Ritalin, Daytrana) or non-stimulant medications (Strattera).
Importantly, individual psychotherapy can provide helpful behavioral and psychological tools to help manage ADHD symptoms and address underlying issues that may be causing or contributing to the condition. Individualized treatment also offers opportunities to learn and integrate effective coping strategies to better manage ADHD symptoms and ultimately work towards leading a more productive and meaningful life.