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A Guide to ADHD Treatment From a Psychiatrist
For adults and children living with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), treatment can drastically improve the quality of life. Read on to learn how psychiatrists address this condition. There are several ways individuals can manage ADHD and alleviate the symptoms, the most popular of which include the use of medications and psychiatry. Oftentimes, a psychiatrist will recommend that a patient both take ADHD medication and undergo behavioral therapy for the best results.
Treatment for ADHD from a psychiatrist
Though medication alone does not cure ADHD, it can help manage and reduce common symptoms of the condition including inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. However, drugs for ADHD do come with side effects and risks such as feelings of jitteriness, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, and mood swings. Some common types of ADHD medications include the following:
- Short-acting stimulants
- Long-acting stimulants
Before any person agrees to take such medications, it is important to understand the facts to make the best decision for themselves or their child.
Important points about medications for ADHD
A lot of people think of ADHD therapy as taking medication. However, ADHD medicine does not work for everyone and, even if it does, it will not eradicate all of your issues or your symptoms entirely. Despite that medication for ADHD may enhance focus and concentration, it often has little effect on the symptoms of disorganization, poor time management, forgetfulness, and procrastination, which are the same issues that create the biggest difficulties for many adults dealing with ADHD.
Patients do not necessarily have to take ADHD medication for the rest of their lives. However, it is not healthy to alternate between different drugs regularly. Patients should inform the doctor when thinking about discontinuing medication, and so they can work together to reduce the dosage gradually.
Medications are not the only option for treatment. Treatment includes whatever patients do to alleviate their symptoms. And while patients may want to seek professional help along the way, ultimately, they have full control over treatment. Combining medication for ADHD with other therapies increases its efficacy. Medication will be far more effective if patients also get help for emotional and behavioral disorders and learn new coping strategies.
Behavioral therapy for ADHD
Even if a medication proves effective, a person might still struggle with emotional and relationship issues, forgetfulness, disorganization, and social awkwardness due to this condition. For this reason, many mental health professionals recommend pairing medication with behavioral therapy.
These are three of the most common types of therapies:
Talk therapy, otherwise known as psychotherapy, entails precisely what its name implies: talking. During a psychotherapy session for ADHD, the behavioral management professional may explore issues that stem from enduring patterns of failure, job turnover, academic difficulties, relationship issues, and an overall sense of underachievement. The goal of talk therapy is to help individuals identify and move on from feelings of low self-esteem, emotional baggage, and feelings of shame and embarrassment.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is two-fold. On the one hand, it aims to help individuals recognize negative behaviors and beliefs that tend to cause problems in their lives. By helping patients realize that negative thought patterns and destructive behaviors are a result of unmet expectations and years of struggle, psychiatrists can possibly change patients' outlook and provide a more realistic point of view.
On the other hand, CBT focuses on the practical aspects of living with ADHD. These include finding solutions for organizational issues, poor time management, and low work performance.
ADHD has the potential to destroy relationships, which is why psychiatrists often recommend that patients and their families undergo marriage or family therapy. Both these types of therapy address the problems sometimes created in relationships and family units. For instance, it is not uncommon for those who live with the condition to constantly forget to pay their bills, slack on responsibilities at home, forget commitments or act on impulsive thoughts. Family therapy forces individuals and their loved ones to focus on these issues and explore ways in which the family as a whole can constructively deal with them.
The bottom line
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating ADHD. While some individuals see a tremendous improvement, many others see little or no difference. For some people, the adverse effects considerably exceed the advantages, which may be a problem.
Managing ADHD can be a difficult and frustrating endeavor. For this reason, it is important that a person works with a qualified mental health professional who can devise an individualized treatment plan that incorporates appropriate medication and behavioral therapy.
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