Is ADHD Impacting Your Or Your Child’s Ability To Learn And Achieve Success?
Do you know or suspect that your child is struggling to function well in school and other areas of his or her life because of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? Perhaps your child is in elementary school and you and/or teachers have noticed disruptions in class, difficulty focusing, poor handwriting, low frustration tolerance, falling behind peers and even aggressive behavior. Or maybe you’re concerned about your teenager who may be chronically disorganized, unfocused, distracted, struggling to turn in assignments and keep up with peers and stay on task. Are you worried about your child’s future and his or her diminished sense of confidence and self-esteem? Have you felt frustrated and/or overwhelmed by problematic behavior, wanting to understand what’s really going on for your child? Do you wish you knew how to make things easier for your child and less stressful for your family?
Perhaps you know or are questioning if you are struggling with ADHD as an adult. At work and at home, you might be experiencing problems with organization, time management, excessive procrastination and erratic sleep patterns. Maybe you’ve recently gone back to school or taken on a new position at work and find yourself experiencing difficulties with memory and recall. It may be that you’ve begun to recognize that you’re lacking in certain critical skills, making it feel as though you’re always scrambling to catch up with your responsibilities. Do you want to understand how and why ADHD is impacting you and get the support needed to live a more successful life?
Understanding Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
If you or your child is struggling with ADHD, you are not alone. Approximately 11 percent of children ages 4-17 (6.4 million) were diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Similar studies show that males are more likely than females to be diagnosed with ADHD, with statistics showing 12.9 percent of men being diagnosed sometime in their lifetime, opposed to 4.9 percent of women. While this study is important, it doesn’t necessarily mean that women are less likely to have ADHD. Rather, symptoms in women can present differently, and ADHD often goes unrecognized.
There are varying views on what causes ADHD, although in recent years, it has become clear that the disorder is more complicated and complex than once thought. While initially believed to be an attention disorder, we now know that ADHD impacts the executive functioning center of the brain and affects planning, sequencing, organization, time management, prioritization of tasks, impulse control, focus and goal-directed behavior. While people with ADHD are often highly intelligent, it is sometimes difficult for them to organize what they know.
Children with ADHD often struggle with not just academics, but also with social skills and development. While it may appear that a child with ADHD is lazy or has behavioral problems, the truth is that ADHD is a neurological disorder that impacts executive functioning, making certain types of activities more difficult for these kids.
There is good news. Consistent research, outreach and education around ADHD are improving the experience for children, adults, parents and teachers. And, there are resources and treatments that can help effectively manage symptoms and improve executive functioning skills.
ADHD Treatment Can Provide You With Support, Guidance, Skills And Relief
If you or your child is struggling with ADHD, we can help. The Center for Collaborative Counseling and Psychiatry team, including our ADHD specialist and in-house psychiatrist who can prescribe and monitor medication, can create a treatment plan that best addresses and supports your needs.
Medication is often the standard in ADHD treatment, and 70-90 percent of people diagnosed take and respond well to medication. That said, medication helps manage symptoms, but it does not cure ADHD—just like eyeglasses do not cure eyesight, but make it easier for people with impaired vision to see. Because ADHD is a complex disorder, the best course of treatment is usually medication in conjunction with behaviorally oriented therapy. In addition, therapy will focus on the development and mastery of adaptive skills designed to help a person struggling with ADHD be successful in a variety of settings.
When working with ADHD, your child or teen’s therapist will focus on the behavioral issues and anxiety that often become problematic for children with this disorder. Your child can learn skills to reduce conflicts with parents and teachers as well as identify and build on strengths and talents, which can help to improve confidence and reduce anxiety. His or her therapist will use age appropriate and behaviorally-oriented strategies to keep your child engaged, help him or her understand ADHD and learn how to advocate for him or herself. Your child will also receive specialized treatment designed to target his or her specific executive functioning deficits, and your family will be provided with skills and strategies that can be used both at home and at school. We believe in collaborating with parents and/or teachers to best support and provide consistency for children with ADHD.
If you’re an adult struggling with ADHD, your therapist can help you learn new skills to cope with symptoms, manage stress, alter problematic or impulsive behaviors and work through anger, self-criticism or anxiety. In sessions, you can also set yourself up for greater success by learning skills to better manage time and organize. Your therapist can help you work through longstanding patterns of underachievement, poor relationships and the other emotional and self-esteem issues that can arise after years of struggling with ADHD. You can learn how to advocate for yourself, which can be especially useful if you have returned to school. As you reframe negative thoughts and learn effective techniques for managing each day, you can develop a more realistic and hopeful view of yourself, your life and your future.
For both children and adults with ADHD, we will recommend regular exercise, which can boost neurotransmitters and lead to better sleep patterns. We can also discuss yoga, meditation, relaxation techniques and attention to diet, which can be helpful in managing symptoms.
With a comprehensive treatment plan and the guidance and support of a skilled team of mental health professionals, life can be easier for you or your child. While ADHD treatment does take work, you can feel more focused, productive and fulfilled in all aspects of your life.
You still may have questions or concerns about ADHD treatment…
Is there a way for me to tell if my child has ADHD?
It can be difficult for parents to determine if their child has ADHD. That said, you know your child best. If you suspect that something isn’t right, it’s wise to be proactive and schedule a comprehensive assessment that takes into account symptoms, history and how different environments impact your child. If your child does have ADHD, it’s best to find out and begin treatment as soon as possible. Many studies show that early intervention leads to the best long-term results.
I’m worried that if my child is diagnosed with ADHD, he or she will carry a stigma for life.
If you suspect that your child has ADHD, the first step is to get an evaluation or assessment to find out if a real problem exists. The second step is to learn about the impacts of ADHD, available options for treatment and the best course of action. Getting an evaluation does not commit your child to any specific intervention or label, but can provide you with valuable information. If you learn that your child does have ADHD, the diagnostic information can be useful for better understanding and supporting your child, and you may choose to involve his or her school. That said, we adhere to strict standards of confidentiality, and it is completely up to you who you share information about your child with.
I’ve heard that ADHD is usually treated with medication, which I don’t want. Can you still help?
Many studies and bodies of research show that behavioral strategies can be an effective form of treatment for the learning and academic issues associated with ADHD. Whether you choose medication or not, your therapist will tailor create a treatment strategy that focuses on issues specific to you, which could include skill building, social development and strategies to reduce the frustration often associated with ADHD. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating any disorder, and we will work collaboratively with you to figure out what treatments best support your needs, values and goals.
You Or Your Child Can Live With More Ease
You or your child can function with more ease, manage symptoms and live a more empowered, productive and balanced life. We invite you to call 847-214-3651 to schedule an initial appointment and/or for a brief phone consultation. We’re happy to discuss your specific needs and to answer any questions you have about ADHD treatment, executive functioning disorders and our practice.