Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is among the more commonly misunderstood, yet discussed mental disorders. In other words – you hear the words “ADHD”, “ADD” and “hyperactive” thrown around a lot – but most people are really confused and slightly fuzzy when it comes to discussing the details of how the disorder actually works, and some aren’t even sure whether it exists, or if it’s all just a big conspiracy.
Let’s get this cleared up right away: there’s nothing confusing or fuzzy about ADHD. And yes, it most definitely exists.
It’s pretty clear: being diagnosed with ADHD has nothing to do with being rebellious, overly curious, and high on sugar or slightly distracted. ADHD is highlighted by constant fidgeting, an inability to pay attention, lack of control over personal habits and spastic physical behavior.
Adult ADHD Treatment
This might sound a lot like your cousin Jimmy, but the difference here is that someone with ADHD will continue displaying these symptoms for most of the day, every day, even when they don’t want to. They’ll genuinely struggle to pay attention even when something interests them, and their mind wanders so quickly it ticks them off too. If Jimmy does indeed sound like this, then you may need to get him some help. Otherwise, he’s probably just being a kid, excited to be in the world.
About 4% of the adult population suffers from symptoms of ADHD in varying degrees of severity.
Looking at the statistics will show a sharp increase in the disease in modern times – but as with other mental disorders, birth defects or genetic conditions, this doesn’t necessarily mean more people are dealing with ADHD than before. It just means we’re getting a good deal better at diagnosing people with these disorders – and in turn, helping them when they really need it.
ADHD sufferers can see themselves struggling with their symptoms for just a period of time or their entire lives – it’s different from person to person. And with time, people naturally learn to cope with their difficulties – or, in the other spectrum, they may develop into other, more difficult-to-manage disorders. One thing’s for sure, though: ADHD isn’t just the butt of a million jokes. It’s a serious disorder that affects millions of children.
It’s also not a spell of doom. These same millions of children managed to live normal lives in the past without receiving major therapy – although they did, and often continue to struggle with certain tasks in later life.
Today, we can help kids and adults alike seek the help they need to get better now, cope with their disorder, and find a way to control their ADHD – even without medication – and return to their lives with the confidence and ability to absolutely anything they set out to accomplish.
What ADHD Really Looks Like
The trouble with ADHD – especially in children – is that usual image of a healthy, happy child is that of the bouncing ball of glee, enthusiastic and curious beyond all. But there’s a fine line between being a perfectly normal young boy, and dealing with a disorder that, however subtly, completely changes the way your brain works.
Understanding that line and watching it grow denser and clearer with time is a matter of knowing what the real symptoms of ADHD are, and what they look like:
- Chronic distraction and a major inability to concentrate
- An extremely low attention span
- Worrying amounts of irresponsibility and forgetfulness
- Significant short-term memory issues
- Constant and seemingly uncontrollable physical fidgeting issues
Like so many other disorders, ADHD can be seen as a mental cage within which a person is trapped by a need to move, do, distract and be a firebrand of change. It’s not so much annoying as it is totally debilitating.
At a certain point, even children begin to realize that there’s something “wrong” – and gone unchecked, ADHD can lead to coping mechanisms like addiction, or, depending on the existing risk factors, develop into other disorders such as compulsions and resulting obsessions (OCD) or a swerve between depression and joy (bipolar). And with our experience here at Vantage Point Behavioral Health & Healing, we know that among adults with developed ADHD and other disorders, there’s always hope. Always a way to get better.
ADD and ADHD are often used interchangeably, and there are many similarities – but they’re separate diagnosis, with similar treatment plans and symptoms. In simple terms, ADHD is categorized by a combination of attention deficit issues and hyperactivity. ADD is strictly attention deficit.
The reason why ADD is being less commonly diagnosed is because it is difficult to realistically differentiate between both in most cases – to the point where some people consider ADD to be an outdated definition of what essentially falls under the spectrum of ADHD.
This is where it’s important to understand the flexibility and fluidity of mental disorders, and unique cases – symptoms are clear cut, but the diagnosis isn’t always perfect. That’s why maintaining a flexible treatment plan is important.
How ADHD and ADD Can Be Treated
It’s important to understand what the limitations of modern-day psychiatry entail – specifically, we cannot change who you are. But when you really think about it, no one should change who you are. There’s nothing inherently wrong with having ADHD or ADD – so long as you get the chance to outfit yourself with the tools you need to unlock all of life’s potential in spite of your diagnosis.
That’s what we do: we give you the means to spite your disorder, and live every aspect of your life to its fullest – through therapy, medication, and treatment options such as:
- Talk Therapy
- Group Therapy
- Yoga & Meditation
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Intensive Outpatient Treatment
These are all treatment options with vastly different methodologies – some will work for you, and others won’t. Our job isn’t to prescribe a magic pill, or blindly go through each treatment option until something sticks – our job is to work with you, discarding cookie-cutter treatment plans and 12-step programs and instead focusing on a unique, flexible plan, anchored in our own proprietary structure, our decades-worth of knowledge and your very own experience with ADHD and ADD.
You’ll hear it repeated from us time and again that every case is unique, and different, but we always strive for the same ultimate outcome – your satisfaction with life itself, no matter whether that’ll be achieved through talk therapy, outpatient treatment methods that allow you to work and seek therapy, or mindfulness techniques and meditation.
No one needs to live a lesser life because of a mental diagnosis. It just means you’re going to have a couple extra major speed bumps on your way through life – but you get to see all the same sights, take in all the same sensations, and get to enjoy yourself time and time again.
The important thing, of course, is to work for it. ADHD is a disorder that, like many others, can be curbed with medication but requires training and therapy to overcome. It’s a challenge, sure – but what’s life without the spice and flavor of a little hardship?
With the right treatment options, a strong support system, and the patience and understanding to accept that everyone progresses and improves at their own pace, you too can come back from an ADHD diagnosis at any age, like hundreds of thousands of people before you.