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Working with ADHD

ADHD is a pretty hot topic with parents, teachers, schools, and the mental health field. Like many popularized conditions, ADHD is both underdiagnosed and overdiagnosed. Like many mental “disorders,” ADHD can be tricky to fully diagnose. The criteria are listed under the previous post.

If you suspect your child may have a form of ADHD (forms of ADHD), it is important to have someone well-versed in ADHD see them. There are numerous testing methods, and even more ideas about treatment. Treatment options may include medication, therapy, and psychoeducation.


Medication for ADHD is still debated, but is generally effective. The most well-known are Ritalin, Adderall, and Strattera.  These are not all of the options available, but are some of the most popular. They are stimulants that in someone with ADHD basically slow the brain down, reduces energy.  Someone without ADHD would probably find these medicines “hype them up.” You will need a doctor (physician or psychiatrist) to prescribe these medications.


In addition to or instead of medications, some people find various forms of therapy helpful. The purpose of this therapy would be to a) add an extra level of monitoring to any medication regimen, as a therapist could take note of and record behavior patterns and changes and b) probably the most important, teach techniques for coping with ADHD. ADHD does NOT  make a person less capable or less intelligent, but sometimes people who have ADHD may need other ways to help them focus or accomplish tasks. Techniques may include writing down all tasks, establishing a highly consistent routine, setting aside time to use excess energy, pacing to think, and other exercises.  These techniques can be combined with medication or used instead of medication, depending on the needs of the individual.


Psychoeducation simply means learning about the condition. This I highly recommend. You can get information for your doctor, therapist, and the great amount of literature on this condition. The more information you have, the better you can make your treatment decisions. A word of caution, however: the information available about ADHD is vast and conflicting. Some information may be inaccurate or unhelpful. Look at all information with a discerning eye. And remember- just because one person had a particular experience doesn’t mean you necessarily will. Everyone is an individual case. As with any concern, consult a licensed professional.

That probably covers ADHD for today. Have a good weekend.




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